I wouldn’t normally recommend you watch a score heads of government pose for a photograph. But this one is worth your time.
Watch patiently and to the end and watch every single head of government in Europe finding ways of pretending Joseph Muscat did not exist. Thanks to him, you realise, this means that today at least the rest of Europe had to find ways of imagining Malta was not European.
Joseph Muscat has managed to make Victor Orban look good. He makes the extreme look moderate, the rogue look loyal, the unorthodox look dogmatic.
Joseph Muscat’s pretence of heading a government is no longer accepted in the rest of the world. Now he’s seen for what he is, the head of a criminal cabal. They’ve come to the point of being rude to him. Answering questions to the press several heads of government said they’re just looking forward to his definitive exit. The Finns said they need to monitor the situation in Malta. That’s after the Germans and the Dutch said the same thing in the preceding hours.
The president of the European Parliament said something has to be done about Malta now.
Mark Rutter, Dutch prime minister, was wittier. ‘Yes, I shook Muscat’s hand’ he said. ‘But then I shook the hands of Bouterse.’ That was an inside joke. Desi Bouterse used to govern Suriname with an iron first until he was sent to 20 years in prison for various crimes.
Less than 6 months ago Joseph Muscat seriously expected to be appointed to become the president of the Council of the EU’s heads of government. They must have laughed so much.