Joseph Muscat was delivering a party speech this evening. I watched a man of power lie through his teeth like a child with his face smeared in chocolate. It’s not the first time. But it’s sad and mad and bad every time.
Entirely bereft of token blacks on the benches that surround him now that the fact two soldiers his rapidly promoted crony friend recruited killed a black man in cold blood has already faded in people’s memory, he addressed the spin of the day.
On the same lines of his government’s official statement this morning he commented on the court case Repubblika filed against the government’s persistence in anti-democratic interference in judicial independence.
He spoke as if Repubblika did not exist, not mentioning once that this was a case brought forward by a voluntary organisation registered and recognised as such by his own government under his own laws. Still he’s clearly very much bothered by Repubblika’s existence because it’s taking up his campaign agenda a few hours before an important ballot.
And then he proceeded to repeat this morning’s lie that Judge Mark Chetcuti refused Repubblika’s request to refer the question on whether Malta’s method of choosing judges is in breach of EU Treaty law to the European Court of Justice. His crowd was happy with the news their great leader gave them.
But of course he’s lying, even to his people. The Court took no such decision and next week the case continues and the judge will hear arguments that will be relevant to a decision he has yet to take.
On any given Sunday Joseph Muscat finds it easy to lie. He finds it even easier in the heady days three days before an election.
But Joseph Muscat should be reminded he’s fighting a different battle now. Repubblika is no political party and elections for Repubblika are not big bang moments where all life ends and a blank slate rises the next day.
Whatever result Joseph Muscat secures this Saturday – and it is likely to give him cause to uncork more champagne at Girgenti – we’ll still be here next week. And then he still has to face the questions we are challenging him with in Court and in other institutions.
He told his audience today that the author of the Council of Europe report is a bad boy politician from the Netherlands. That’s how he dismisses the credibility of the most shockingly harsh criticism Malta has ever faced from an international authority. He’s using rhetoric to describe Pieter Omtzigt not too far from the way he spoke about Maria Efimova, Ana Gomes, David Casa, Daphne Caruana Galizia and anyone who’s ever had anything else to say about him other than that he’s the dog’s bollocks.
That’s this week.
In a few weeks time he’ll have to tell his applauding audience how it is that Pieter Omtzigt’s report found the support of other MPs in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Maybe even a majority of them. Maybe even members of the parties in the political family he belongs to.
He won’t flinch. He’ll continue to lie through his teeth. It will be sad, mad and bad.
And still, we’ll be here.