Joseph Muscat yesterday claimed he had achieved the largest Labour Party majority in the history of his party specifically mentioning having beaten Sir Paul Boffa’s previous record. That was before he needed to revise down his party’s estimate of the extent of the voting majority his party obtained. But even before that happened Joseph Muscat’s claim to historical supremacy was a myth.

It didn’t sit well with me when he first sat it and I went to look for my trusted Michael J. Schiavone book ‘L-Elezzjonijiet f’Malta’ which is a treasure trove of trivia for hopeless nerds like me who in their youth memorised electoral records in the way the Rain Man memorises baseball trump cards.

When Sir Paul Boffa’s Labour Party won the 1947 election it obtained 63,145 votes to the Partit Nazzjonalista’ 19,041. The voting difference therefore in percentage terms at that election was 59.9% for Labour and 18% for the PN. That’s a 41.9% voting difference which Joseph Muscat could never secure. Historically there may have been some nerves at the time about the possibility of Malta becoming a one-party democracy but that election had just followed the mass exile of the PN’s leadership during World War II.

By 1950’s election the PN had recovered and become the largest party with 29.8% of the vote, eventually forming a government with Sir Paul Boffa’s Malta Workers Party and pushing Dom Mintoff’s Malta Labour Party (split from Boffa’s Labour Party) into Opposition.

So: ‘Joseph Muscat won the largest ever majority in the Labour Party’s history’? Myth busted.