Watching Robert Abela look for ways of looking good basking in the light of Roberta Metsola’s election would be funny if it weren’t so fucking typical of this country that such a strategy would work. There are sheep out there who think that this election happened because Robert Abela permitted it.
Is it a good morning to sound bitter and angry when everyone is uncorking champagne? Roberta Metsola probably wouldn’t think so. But that’s why we never learn.
My blog can spoil nobody’s party. I will remind you then that for being a woman, for being PN, for sitting on MEP delegations to Malta chasing down Joseph Muscat’s government since the Panama Papers, for attending vigils for Daphne Caruana Galizia, she was accused, casually, repeatedly, consistently, with the one moniker that is the worst possible descriptor of a conscientious public servant: “traitor”.
Treason is the act of betraying your country, of serving the interests of others at the expense your country’s, of seeking to hurt your people in exchange for some reward paid by outsiders.
This is an island, a former colony, a place where the word ‘treason’ has an immediate and obvious meaning. This is a country that changed the meaning of Jacobin to its specific domestic application of back-stabber, quisling, enemy collaborator, fifth columnist.
The guy who said Roberta Metsola should be burnt at the stake for treason may have been a bit of an outlier in that he felt no shame in saying what many thought publicly and seemed surprised when the police came to his door. The people who feted him for saying it are less outlying, as it were. Cheering idiots and egging them on without regard to consequence is first an act of collective bullying before it is the expression of political conviction.
What was not outlying, what was entirely mainstream, what was until today the political method of a majority ruling party is the representation of Roberta Metsola as an actor against the interest of Malta. One TV systematically cast her in the role of the evil enemy. I recently quoted an article by luminary Saviour Formosa, just appointed to the so-called committee of experts on media freedom, who specifically referred to Roberta Metsola and David Casa’s membership in EP delegations to Malta saying that simple fact made the missions suspect.
Because, of course, a Maltese MEP should show no interest in their country when a journalist is killed. They should show no concern about the context in which that murder happened and should instead be fighting anybody else’s efforts denouncing them as unwelcome foreign interference.
Labour MEPs spoke of themselves as “working for Malta” as they stood alone in defence of Joseph Muscat against their European political family, and the entire Parliamentary chamber with the exceptions of the loony fascists that still sit where Nigel Farage used to fart.
The people working for Malta were Roberta Metsola and David Casa. They let the world know this country is not all Joseph Muscat.
The talents Miriam Dalli is alleged to have, the obscure Wagnerian intellectual ambiguity of Alfred Sant, the cheerful hollowness of Cyrus Engerer, the relative anonymity of Josianne Cutajar, and the comical imbecility of Alex Agius Saliba, did not give any of our Labour MEPs the wherewithal to distance themselves from Joseph Muscat. They all stood behind him, melted, absorbed, invisible, confusing loyalty to country with loyalty to a mafioso who had stolen their party and through it their country. Our country.
Those who know Malta only through the conduct of their MEPs could have judged us all as little, small-minded, name-changing Alex Agius Salibas, no more than self-satisfied intellectual amoebae with loose brain cells intent on illicit profits without regard to consequence. They would have judged us all as passport-selling, money-laundering, mafia-loving, journalist-killing crooks.
Fortunately, in all that time there was an alternative impression of Malta that has come to greater light today. Roberta Metsola made us look good. She proves by her very being that we’re not all servants of Joseph Muscat’s low cunning. We’re not all waiting for crumbs from the profits of organised crime to fall into our laps.
They say that you get your politicians you deserve and we have kicked ourselves plenty for getting Joseph Muscat and his former lawyer Robert Abela. It feels odd to think that the people who insist on voting for Muscat and Abela also get Roberta Metsola. Thinking that they deserve Roberta Metsola is a bitter idea.
But here we are. The woman so often called a traitor is, by being reasonably normal, rational, unstained by the mud of corruption, as far from the corrupt pestilence cultivated by Joseph Muscat as anyone could possibly be, is doing this country the great favour of, rather exceptionally for those in politics who represent us overseas, making us look good.
No wonder Robert Abela is looking to bask in her glory. No wonder he told journalists yesterday he “believed Roberta Metsola would work in the national interest”. She is the national interest. Unlike him.