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Local neighbourhood WAGs

In Britain, they’re called WAGs, wives and girlfriends of professional athletes. The term has caught on so well there is now even a TV series of the same title. We never had WAGs in Malta but we are getting close, with a political equivalent.

The Prime Minister’s wife, Michelle Muscat, came out of the woodworks in the wake of the Egrant inquiry conclusions, with an assault on the school attended by their two daughters. She accuses the private school of doing nothing to protect their daughters from the taunts of other children after the Egrant accusations emerged.

During the 2017 election campaign, her daughters had to face a lot of taunts from the classmates. There were parties they were not invited to, Ms Muscat said. We know that, after the election, her children joined their parents for the triumphal walk from the Palace to Castille, in Valletta. In fact, both the Prime Minister and Ms Muscat seem to make it a point to include their twins in activities that are of a purely political nature or government-related. Still, Ms Muscat thinks her daughters need to be protected.

Ms Muscat was reading from the same script used by the Prime Minister when he announced the inquiry conclusions. The perceived assaults on his “family” through the allegations made, by implication on his daughters too, worked upon those who love reading the gossip columns on the more famous WAGs. Others were not impressed.

The Prime Minister and his wife knew what they were taking their children into when they stepped into the political spotlight.

It was their free decision and if they wanted to spare their children the tauntings, they should have ensured their daughters kept a low profile. They did not and now they only blame the school and not themselves too.

Depressively, the Opposition leader’s wife joined in too. In an interview with a Labour-leaning newspaper, Nickie Vella de Fremeaux complained on school bullying and the problems it causes. She said her son was not being invited to parties for political reasons. When she and her husband stepped into the political limelight, they too dragged their children along with them. Their children posed for photos and enjoyed the spotlight, exposing themselves to having to taste the sour side too.

Bullying is, of course, wrong and can never be justified. But facing the realities of life is part of one’s education and formation. In politics that can be more difficult.

The real tragedy to all this is that the Opposition leader’s wife sounds very much like Mrs Muscat. It seems like she took the cue from her, like she looked up to her and considers Ms Muscat as some trendsetter. She is surprised that parents who “light candles and place flowers in Valletta”, referring to the Daphne Caruana Galizia makeshift monument, do not invite her son to parties.

Those same people she is disappointed in are very probably equally dissatisfied by her husband’s performance and his failure to reignite and unite the party. This is the harsh reality of politics. That is not bullying.

Many Nationalist supporters evidently do not think like Dr Vella de Fremeaux. They do not like these antics and certainly do not look forward to a Nationalist Party moulded out of Labour, as it is tragically looking.

This is a Times of Malta print editorial

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