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The risk of electing Muscat

Is anyone familiar with the BBC TV’s satirical political series The Thick of It? For fans of the Yes, Prime Minister series, it is an absolute must. This latest popular series has managed to coin a word to describe a badly mismanaged situation and this same word was named Britain’s word of the year. ‘Omnishambles’ has become a synonym for blunders, “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations” as defined by the publishers of the Oxford dictionaries.

The word sprang to mind as I watched the events unfold within the Labour Party which led to the resignation of a deputy leader on the eve of a general election.

The story smacks of back stabbing, egos and an ethos of ‘anything you can do, I can do better’. Anġlu Farrugia was elected to deputy leader of the Labour Party by party delegates. A favourite with the grassroots, he never made any attempt to hide his gruff style in politics. Up until now, he has been Joseph Muscat’s right hand man. Up until Xarabank!

This was certainly not the first time that a seasoned politician like Farrugia had participated in a televised political debate but the debacle of his no-show and eventual performance and resignation divulged a vulnerable Labour Party leader who in his desperation would go and did go down a very dishonourable path.

Joseph Muscat was quoted as saying that he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to seize government. I imagine that there may have been other instances when Muscat could have called for Farrugia’s resignation should he have felt that this was justified but this particular timeline exposed Muscat for the opportunistic man he is.

Not content with Farrugia’s performance on Xarabank and fearing a swing in polls in favour of the Nationalist Party following Simon Busuttil’s election, he orchestrated this resignation to secure an MEP equivalent as deputy leader. Some may have praised his move as crafty and considered this as good strategy in the run up to the election. I, for one, know for a fact that his party delegates are far from amused with this behaviour and consider his actions as nothing short of him playing Judas with Farrugia.

But that’s Muscat for you. The end justifies the means. Muscat has spent the last five years playing multiple choice with Maltese society so we shouldn’t really be surprised when he ditches Farrugia with such ease. Multiple-choice Muscat has consistently smiled and offered miscellaneous options and electoral promises to segments of our society – once you tick the box, he smiles, and says that it will be done!

Sitting comfortably in the Opposition benches he smiled and watched while Government struggled to survive a particularly difficult legislature. With time running out, he is now panicking as he realises that in politics last minute gimmicks simply won’t work. Not this time!

From the relative comfort of our little island we have witnessed the crash of grandiose countries and are savvy enough to realise that this could have been us. More than ever our decision at the polls come March will lie squarely with choosing a leader who has proven he is able not to cave in to pressures while maintaining his firm grip on the country’s economy. And because of this the country has prospered.

Muscat’s omnishambles within the Labour Party are a reflection of the agitation and hysterics that Labour are experiencing on the eve of a general election. Gone is the time when Muscat could get away with saying or doing nothing. People expect to see qualities of leadership and backstabbing his deputy in this way simply has not lent Muscat any favours.

As Prime Minister-in-waiting, one would have expected Muscat to act more honourably displaying a level of loyalty and maturity which would act him in good stead should he be elected to office. But once again he disappoints.

On a party level I say no great harm done. On a national level I cringe to think of how his work ethic will eventually impact on our daily lives should we choose him as Prime Minister.

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Caroline Galea is a Nationalist Party candidate.

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