One reading of that Joseph Muscat interview is that the man is now reduced to a Freddie Kruger character, quipping crackling irony as he burns in his final defeat, desperately wanting to have the last word, to sound menacing and dangerous, when he’s just ridiculous.

Of all reasons anyone could give to enter public life, “I will come back to politics if they continue to annoy me”, is the most transparent and the most absurd imaginable. Joseph Muscat’s entire career has been an ‘arani ma’ journey, a bird flicked at the bullies who pushed him around in secondary school for being red – hair and politics, for being weird and nerdy, and for all reasons goofy kids end up being bullied in school and grow with a chip on their shoulder larger than their oversized egos.

Iss, ar’e’ ħej. We’ll have to be nice to Joseph Muscat from hereon because otherwise he’ll haunt us.

All this assumes that Joseph Muscat is half interested in what we think, or even that he thinks that he can scare the people who camped outside his office until he resigned, by acting the bully in an interview.

He knows he can’t scare any of us. It’s not on his detractors that he needs to inflict fear.

Joseph Muscat gave his first uncontrolled interview, since 2018, still sore from when John Sweeney last sodomised him, because Robert Abela is not picking up the phone. Joseph Muscat is hearing murmurs that the leadership of the Labour Party is no longer altogether ruling out his dismissal from the party. He is not worried about the symbolic gesture of having his name rubbed off the marble plaques. He couldn’t give a flying.

He’s worried that he might at last be separated from his massive popular support. He’s worried that if, at the end of all things, the police or some local or international law enforcement agency knocks on his door handcuffs in hand, he won’t have a crowd of mad loyalists preventing them from taking him away.

Robert Abela and Joseph Muscat are right now making an undemocratic calculation. Robert Abela wants to work out what the political price would be should he do what he knows he must and ditch his predecessor. Joseph Muscat is helping him work it out.

‘If you throw me out,’ – if you annoy me, if you like – ‘I have enough support to take away from you to bring you down’.

That was a letter to Robert Abela. We have a prime minister trapped in a hostage situation, held at gun point by a desperate fugitive whose options are rapidly running out.

Make no mistake. The road is still long and Joseph Muscat will continue to do everything he can to make it longer. It will take longer than an election, or even the trial of this or that murderer. It will take more than an inquiry report, more than a few hundred vigils and protests, more than one interview and a dozen damning journalistic investigations.

But every day, every minute, every desperate appearance by Joseph Muscat starting with the one soon after Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed, through his train-crash with Christiane Amanpour, then with John Sweeney, through his stage-managed resignation as party leader and his furtive escape as Parliamentarian, right up to this show on Times of Malta, the road for Joseph Muscat is down into the hell he built for himself.

Re-writing history, re-imagining his disastrous economic legacy, shifting the blame for burning up Malta’s standing on the world stage, speaking of “the Daphne issue” like the killing of a journalist he was found exceptionally responsible for was some ex machina circumstance, bad weather, a statistical blip, changes absolutely nothing.

The country gave him two five-year mandates to deliver the transformation he promised. He speaks of himself as some economic guru and yet his performance in that regard has been abysmal. He delivered absolutely no new economic activity: selling passports is a big part of our reputational crash and his idea of internationalising educational services created the American University with less students than the local math teacher teaching privat tal-o level fil-garaxx.

Instead of nurturing and growing the economic sectors he inherited he inflicted fatal wounds on financial services and gaming poisoning the country’s watering hole.

He speaks about the “pace of construction” like a train we need to get used to. His “pace” turned the country into an unsightly, desertified construction site.

He created the myth of full employment by bloating the public sector, forcing generations as yet unborn to pay government salaries and pensions for thousands of people taken out of the productive economy and placed in pointless sinecures in exchange for their undying support.

He diverted the massive EU funding he did his utmost to prevent his predecessors from acquiring into the pockets of his funders. In place of investment in economic innovation and improvements to the infrastructure that could have a benefit to the sustainability of our country, we now have bigger roads in which to sit in traffic jams.

And worst of all he has convinced us all, not to mention the rest of the world, that we’re as bad as he is. That we’re all low-cunning crooks, wise guys, without a shred of honesty and loyalty to truth about us. He convinced us all that we’re money-minded, short-termist, and greedy enough to rob our own children of their future to count the money we make now.

Indeed, Joseph Muscat’s return to politics would be a scary prospect. But that’s like saying you’re scared of arsenic poisoning from the pie your mum just made you. It’s a silly fear.

Even Joseph Muscat knows that. It’s not us he means to scare. Joseph Muscat is scared Robert Abela is not scared enough. It’s him he’s trying to spook. It’s Robert Abela that he is threatening.

But we’re not merely spectators of this spectacle. These little gods are acting out their hostage situation on our turf. It’s our country they are sinking.

The second greatest impediment to the recovery of this country right now is the Labour Party’s inability to bring its past under control, to detach itself from the criminals that brought it to power, to confront truth and reconcile with it.

The greatest impediment to the recovery of this country right now is that the majority of the Maltese electorate doesn’t see that and thinks that Joseph Muscat is speaking to us, his detractors, rather than to Robert Abela, his hapless, clueless successor.