“Celebrities who retreat from the public eye will always be legends, no matter what else they may be,” Margaret Talbot wrote in her review of a new biography of Greta Garbo.
On the other hand, for those who retreat from the public eye but then decide to make a comeback, it always ends in tears. When that celebrity happens to be a former prime minister forced to resign in disgrace after winning the accolade of ‘the most corrupt person of the year’, his return is bound to draw more than just tears.
Joseph Muscat has often threatened a comeback in the past. Now he is determined. Muscat is abandoning his two years of ‘quiet’ and is back in action. His comeback is not motivated by a desire to contribute to the good of the nation or to help bring national reconciliation. It is not driven by some noble quest for strengthening social justice or improving the lot of the most vulnerable in our society.
There is nothing benevolent or well-meaning in his return from the wilderness. No. His comeback is fueled by spite and vengeance. It does not elicit calm and serenity. It triggers fear, anxiety and panic. It is the desperately sad and the sadly desperate final spasm of a cornered crook. Nothing good can come out of his unsolicited and unwelcome return.
Labour’s propaganda machine bears the weight of responsibility on its shoulders for enabling Muscat to invade the subconscious of the masses. Labour’s relentless glorification and mythologising of its own Sun King, for years on end, provided Muscat with his strongest and most destructive weapon of all – the blind and thoughtless adulation of Labour’s masses.
Such a lethal weapon in the hands of a Machiavellian narcissist can only wreak havoc not only on his successor’s control of the Party but on the entire country. And Muscat will have no qualms deploying it. No matter the devastation it might cause, Muscat will use it.
He has a long pattern of behaviour that highlights features of the dark triad. His grandiosity, entitlement and an unquenchable thirst for admiration expose his narcissistic traits. As the admiration of the Labour masses slowly shifted towards his successor, Muscat’s resentment and bitterness kicked in.
He could not stomach his own Party’s celebrations of Abela’s two years in office. In his attempts to redirect the focus of the Party onto him, Muscat abuses the loyalty of his supporters, pulling at their heartstrings to incite their anger and indignation in order to achieve his despicable objective – protecting himself from the long arm of the law. The glorious achievement of Roberta Metsola exposed his own abject failure at the EU level triggering his spiteful envy and his default response to lash out.
He lies and blames others for the humiliation he brought upon himself, making phoney and nebulous accusations. Mired in his Machiavellianism, Muscat still lusts for power, money and victory. And he will stop at nothing to get what he wants, betraying many and exploiting even more.
He is impulsive, aggressive and remorseless. Many who felt the brunt of his vicious streak still bear the scars. Godfrey Farrugia was unceremoniously dumped as health minister when he stood in Muscat’s way of setting up the Vitals scam, swiftly replaced by Muscat’s accomplice Konrad Mizzi.
Anglu Farrugia was publicly humiliated by Muscat when he was forced out as deputy leader. When Farrugia retaliated with his own threats to expose Muscat’s deals with big business, a secret pact swiftly ensconced Farrugia in the Speaker’s seat, securing his silence. Peppi Azzopardi was threatened by Muscat that he would be beaten below the belt where it hurt.
Muscat’s lack of remorse and guilt was manifested in his hostility towards the family of the murdered journalist and his cruel resistance to allow an inquiry. His petty contempt was evident when he turned down an invitation to a President’s farewell dinner stating, “I would prefer to eat a hamburger”.
Muscat defied logic and decency when he stubbornly ignored the many voices of reason to fire Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri. By keeping them on, he protected his own egotistical interests ignoring the serious harm it would cause the nation. Denouncing them would wreck his own carefully constructed lavish retirement plans.
He showed his impulsive recklessness when, as Alfred Sant’s advisor, Labour supporters were brought onto the streets to celebrate the false victory of partnership even as pro-EU citizens savoured the real result of the EU referendum. He famously quoted Mussolini, “Better one day as a lion than a hundred days as a sheep”.
On 10 March 2014, Daphne Caruana Galizia said about Muscat: “People don’t change, and when they do it is only briefly and because it suits them temporarily – they will revert to type sooner or later”. Once again, Daphne was right.
The man who broke all the rules and defied all the norms of decency never hesitated to cry havoc. He will not hesitate now as he finds himself with his back to the wall. He will squirm and struggle to the very end to save himself. He will not think twice about harming his successor, his Party or his country. It was always all about him, the single child who must get what he wants, now. Even as his final grimy political end is in sight he will not go quietly.
He will bring as many down with him as he possibly can. As he incites his thoughtless loyalists to mount a show of strength to shield him from the consequences of his nefarious wrongdoing, Muscat couldn’t care less about the devastation it might wreak on the country. The only thing that matters to him is Joseph Muscat.