Joseph Muscat promised thousands screaming in indignation. He threatened to flood the streets of Valletta with a mass of furious anger flowing like hot lava. How dare anyone prosecute an official he had handpicked for breaking the law and tarmacking a valley?

Joseph Muscat’s promise fizzled into nothing. In place of a massive protest, a handful of stragglers showed up making less noise than a schoolyard of constipated children.

How the mighty have fallen. Invictus, was it? He rose to recite Ezekiel 25:17, his big gun pointed at our heads, but instead of the threatening voice and imposing presence of Jules Winnfield he sounded like Frank Spencer apologising for letting a fart slip. “And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.” Cue collective raspberry.

The prosecutors must be quaking in their shoes.

The funny thing is that Joseph Muscat, probably because of his incurable paranoia, has more confidence in the case for the prosecution against his cousin’s husband than any of us. We’ve seen too many prosecutorial fuck-ups not to fully expect yet another one to let Frederick Azzopardi walk out on some technicality. A technical technicality such as ‘oops, the dog ate the evidence’, or ‘the summons was accidentally stuck in the letter box long enough for the statute of limitations to expire’.

Today’s poor showing in front of the courts has no bearing on the outcome of the case against Frederick Azzopardi.

But it does show a few other things worth recording:

  1. The Labour Party and Joseph Muscat are in full undeclared war, the one with the other. The Labour Party pulled the carpet from under Joseph Muscat’s feet last night when they made sure their supporters understood they weren’t supporting the protest at all. There’s more to this war in the background. Joseph Muscat didn’t just go to the San Gejtanu march on Sunday. He made the tour of different festas which he never used to do before. He’s campaigning. Some suggest he’s campaigning to have his wife, Michelle ‘Imelda Marcos’ Muscat run on his behalf in the next European Parliament election. And some suggest the Labour Party is not keen.
  2. Joseph Muscat does not have the sort of popular support he imagines he has. Certainly many people like him better than they like me, to cite an obvious example. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that people will throw themselves in the street to hysterically cheer someone, even a duke in Joseph Muscat’s fallen Camelot, who has manifestly broken the law.
  3. Joseph Muscat can still pull strings: propagandists, prosecutors, police officers, even men and women wearing judicial robes. Some do it out of loyalty. Some did it out of fear. Perhaps he should count less on the people who used to do his bidding out of fear.
  4. The shit will really hit the fan when it will be Joseph Muscat’s turn to answer a summons to court. On that day Frank Spencer will sound positively butch.