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We're in a bad place

Given my venerable age, I am often up at fourish, and I succumb to the temptation to check out the portals.

On Daphne Caruana Galizia's blog, what seems to be the reason for Premier Muscat calling an early election leapt out at me.

The signs that he was going to go to the polls have been around since the beginning of the year. Not least of these signs was his solemn statement that the elections will not be held before March 2018: all politicians' solemn statements should, traditionally, be taken as a solid indicator of precisely the opposite.

The people involved locally in the massive #MaltaFiles data leak, according to the theblacksea.eu story, are Malta Today, known to have cordial links with 'people in the government'. It may be my febrile imagination, but this can't but lead me to conclude that Premier Muscat may well have been given a small "heads-up Joseph".

By the end of June, the political protection that comes with the EU Presidency disappears: Malta reverts to being the smallest, and least consequential, member-state. This might well be why, previously inexplicably, Premier Muscat decided to call an election before the end of the Presidency.

He was virtually guaranteed six months of basking in the reflected glory of Angela Merkel and other big beasts of the Union, why did he cut it short?

Maybe now we know.  Maybe the Egrantgate was simply the straw that broke him.

Make no mistake about it: #MaltaFiles is potentially a massive blow to the country and I envy no-one who is to be lumbered with defending our interests post-4th June.  

If the financial services industry, already very badly hurt by association with allegations about the likes of Mizzi, Schembri, Tonna, Pilatus, Hillman and Egrant, is crippled, we will all suffer.

Obviously, the first to be hit will be the many thousands of workers and service providers who work directly for the industry.

People have been warning that this will be the case even before #MaltaFiles hit, and the signs were there for all who wanted to see them (Commerzbank, anyone?)

Put bluntly, the developers can build as many blocks of flats as they like, if no-one is going to buy them, they will become a mill-stone and drag them down, and with them an enormous chunk of the economy

The wave will engulf others, not least of which will be the tranche of Premier Muscat's most breathless admirers, the people who build, sell and rent property, often with their efforts facilitated by 'generous' application-handling at the Planning Authority.  

 

Put bluntly, the developers can build as many blocks of flats as they like, if no-one is going to buy them, they will become a mill-stone and drag them down, and with them an enormous chunk of the economy.  

I like Greece, but I don't want to find myself living there.

I hope - pray even - that #MaltaFiles will go away, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for that, even if caretaker-minister "Peanuts" Scicluna has valiantly jetted off to Germany to break a lance for us.  He's tainted, terminally, by what at best can be called his tacit support for his colleague Mizzi's Panamanian/New Zealandish antics, along with Scicluna's boss's Chief of Staff's even wider range of similar proclivities.

He's tainted, terminally, by what at best can be called his tacit support for his colleague Mizzi's Panamanian/New Zealandish antics, along with Scicluna's boss's chief of staff's even wider range of similar proclivities.

And if Scicluna, about whom not a single word has been said implying personal corruption, is tainted, what can we say about others who are pleading, almost with tears in their eyes, to be trusted with running the country after the June elections?  The way they're distributing the country's largesse, with jobs at the public teat handed out like sweeties and wild promises made to all and sundry, makes it clear that they desperately want to be back at the helm.

Premier Muscat - tainted beyond redemption by association if by nothing else - is simply not fit for the job of defending the country's interests at this crucial juncture.  He will be laughed out of every court in Europe, from the court of public opinion to the real courts if he ever has to appear in one.

The spinners and apologists will now start spewing out the usual "we should stand together and defend the country" line with which they've unsuccessfully tried to deflect attention from the stench of corruption wafting out of Castille. In normal circumstances, they might have a point, but these are not normal circumstances, not by a long, long chalk. 

I would normally have little sympathy for the tax authorities around Europe and in the US, if they keep making the laws complicated, it's virtually incumbent on people to find ways around them. This does not, lest I be misunderstood, translate into sympathy for people who launder money, bribe or otherwise indulge in the sort of activities we've been witnessing over the last months here.

We have long been in the cross-hairs of Germany, France and others (our only "friends", the Brits, are Brexiting) and the country's position has been made immeasurably worse by the perceived behaviour of our top people. When the evidence piles up mountainously to demonstrate that the gamekeepers have become - or long been - poachers of the worst and most cynical kind, however, the game is lost.

#MaltaFiles is not the product of a traitorous PN or a "hate blogger", the involvement, unknown until theblacksea.eu published it in the last hours, of Malta Today is proof positive of this.  

We're in a bad place and - forgive me for repeating the bleeding obvious - Premier Muscat and his close associates are entirely unfit for the purpose of getting us out of it.

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