Do you remember the mantra ‘Malta tagħna lkoll’? It was the positive slogan to represent Labour’s pre-2013 key campaign message that the country was being run by a clique, an establishment, an elite of blue-eyed and blue-voting cronies, that you needed to be a ‘baron’ or a ‘friend of a friend’ to get ahead in life.

In the 2013 campaign, Labour promised to free the country from this elite and to make it easy for people that weren’t connected to or existed within the selective and restricted PN circle to get to do some business.

But look at this aside that Keith Schembri threw in whilst testifying in court today.

“I got more government tenders under the PN than under Labour”.

Under Labour he shouldn’t have had any, so he’s not actually saying much by that. In theory, Keith Schembri shouldn’t have won any government tenders under Labour because he was running that government and any contract would have been a conflict of interest.

If he meant the 1996-1998 government, he was a rookie then, had only just left the bank, and Alfred Sant’s government had been so short-lived they had barely the time to buy anything from the private sector at all.

So the point here is not his comparison with how many more government tenders he secured under Labour than under the PN, it’s whether it is true that somehow Laburisti were excluded from public procurement under the PN’s administration. Keith Schembri, a co-founder of Labour newspaper Kull Ħadd, who has worked in the Labour Party since his teens, is proof positive that they weren’t.

Not the only one.

Consider this other example. The PN, rightly, is critical of the choice of Edward Scicluna as governor of the Central Bank. The PN’s reasons have little to do with Edward Scicluna’s academic qualifications. The man was Finance Minister in the 7 years that crashed Malta’s reputation as a safe financial jurisdiction after decades of building it up slowly and carefully. He should be kept as far away from the Central Bank as any other jester.

The Labour Party reacted to the PN’s criticism with a statement saying that “Edward Scicluna is so competent that past PN governments appointed him to several senior positions”. Labour points out Edward Scicluna had been appointed by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to the euro change-over committee.

Quite apart from the fact that that was before Edward Scicluna slept on the job as Finance Minister while Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi commissioned the Electrogas power station and gave away three public hospitals, apparently without him noticing. The point I’m making here is that the Labour Party’s statement requires their amnesia about how they used to wax melodramatic in 2013 about the need for meritocracy.

It was, as much else they’ve said in all this time, bullshit.

Not everything was fair, perfect and beyond criticism, or entirely free of nepotism or corruption before 2013. But it was a far less tribal, far less exclusive, far less elitist community then. Your political affiliation largely did not matter when competing for public sector contracts and as for hiring people in public positions, the government mostly went for merit, not loyalty.

It is now a distant memory that people like Keith Schembri and Edward Scicluna occasionally revive when they let something like this slip because of the pressure they’re under.