Whose side is Robert Abela on, anyway?

On the contrary: for the past 18 years, the PN has been consistently asking for our vote… simply because ‘it exists’ (and, of course, because ‘it isn’t Labour’

I’ve seen some weird stuff in my day, you know. Like, for instance, when Napoleon Bonaparte decided to invade Russia in 1812.

It just so happens I was in the room at that very moment: and I noticed that his eyes were straying too far, and too greedily, into the North-Eastern section of the European map.

And I even said to him: “Boney? If you’re thinking what I’m thinking you’re thinking… it’s kind of a bad idea, you know. Russian winters are slightly on the cold side; and let’s face it… your armies may be very disciplined, and battle-hardened, and all the rest of it… but… they weren’t exactly ‘dipped in anti-freeze at birth’, were they? (Even for the simple reason that anti-freeze hadn’t been invented yet; and in any case, it doesn’t work very well on people anyway). So how about we forget Russia for the time being; and concentrate instead on slightly warmer, more temperate places to invade; like, say, Egypt…. or Malta…”

But, well, we all know how old Boney was. Every bit as hard-headed, as his nickname implies…

And in any case: that’s also history for you, I suppose. For had Napoleon Bonaparte heeded my advice, and abandoned his Russian ambitions… he wouldn’t have lost at Waterloo in 1815, would he? And Abba wouldn’t have won the Eurovision Song Contest In 1974…

So who knows? Maybe it all worked out for the best, in the end…

But Robert Abela? And the sort of ‘weird stuff’ he gets up to, as a political leader? Honestly, it makes even Napoleon’s invasion of Russia look like a minor, harmless, little historical ‘blooper’…

Tell you what: let’s take a quick look back over Robert Abela’s first two years as Prime Minister. I won’t waste too much time on that notorious ‘Waves Are Only In The Sea’ remark… uttered literally minutes before Malta was engulfed by the first major COVID tsunami, in June 2020…

For while it still stands out as the single, most thunderingly crass case of ‘Famous Last Words’ in European political history… there is, at the end of the day, a limit to how often we can be reminded about it.

But how about that selfie he had posted, on Facebook, at roughly the same time… the one with a grinning Robert Abela at the helm of a mega-luxury super-yacht, sailing off to ‘buy ice-creams in Sicily’… at a time when people were literally DYING (DYING, I tell you!) in Mater Dei’s Intensive Care Unit…?

Seriously, though. In another century, something like that would have triggered the French Frigging Revolution…

Because even if we remove COVID-19 from the equation altogether – though it’s kind of difficult, isn’t it? Let’s face it: the Prime Minister was basically ‘abandoning the country’, at the height of a major national health emergency…

But even closing an eye at all that… what the heck was he even thinking? Was there no one at all, in his entire party, to tap him gently on the shoulder, and tell him that… It JUST… DOESN’T… LOOK… GOOD??

Leaving aside minor little details, like…. he’s supposed to be the ‘leader of the Socialist Party’, you know; NOT ‘The Wolf of Bloody Wall Street’. And that the mega-super-luxury cruiser he was so gleefully showing off in, was probably worth more than half his own party’s electorate (and everything they could ever dream of one day possessing…)

Now: I’m not saying that Socialist leaders aren’t entitled to also be… erm… ‘filthy rich’, or anything like that. As long as they buy their super mega-yachts with their own money, and pay everything they owe in taxes, and all the rest… I’m perfectly fine with it, myself.

But… let’s just say that ‘flaunting your own personal wealth’ (and with such a cheeky grin, too!), at a time when your own voters are complaining about the rising cost of living… or worried about whether they can meet their children’s school expenses next year…

Sorry, that’s a bit like Mother Theresa of Calcutta, gatecrashing one of Silvio Berlusconi’s ‘Bunga-Bunga’ parties. It sort of defeats the purpose of the entire image you are supposed to be projecting…

But the much more glaring problem was that… the photo itself was almost a carbon-copy of the one published in the press just a few months before. Remember? The one of Yorgen Fenech, no less, doing more or less exactly the same thing: fleeing the country, on board a multi-million-euro yacht!

So once again, I ask: is it Robert Abela’s idea of ‘good political strategy’, to invite people out there to make subliminal connections between himself, and… a man accused of orchestrating a mafia hit-job, for crying out loud…?

I don’t know. Maybe I should have learnt my lesson from the Napoleonic wars, and become a political strategy adviser myself…

But of course, I still haven’t got to all Abela’s more recent antics. And that’s partly because – truth be told – I don’t even know where to begin!

So I guess I’ll take one example at random. That classic ‘Last Tango In Strasbourg’ moment, when Abela was seen running excitedly towards Roberta Metsola on a red carpet, for a gushing embrace that could have easily been lifted straight from ‘Gone With The Wind’…

OK, I know I wrote about it just last week… but that article only looked at the Roberta Metsola side of the equation. If, on the other hand, you turn your gaze from Roberta, to Robert… what, exactly, do you see? And how, pray tell, would the same sight have appeared, to the eyes of that sizeable chunk of Labour Party supporters who – sorry, Roberta, but you know I’m telling the truth here – simply HATE HER GUTS??!! (I mean… they have, after all, only been calling her a ‘traitor’ – and much, much worse – for around the past eight years, you know…)

My own guess, for what it’s worth, is that… a lot of other things were ‘Gone With the Wind’ that day: including all the television sets owned by roughly half the supporters of the Labour Party… which all went smashing through the window, in unison, at approximately 8pm on Tuesday, January 18, 2022…

The real problem, however, is that this astonishing display of ‘courtship’ – I mean, ‘national reconciliation’ – took place literally the day before that police raid on Joseph Muscat’s home… in a country where – in spite of everything – huge chunks of the electorate still think that ‘police raids’ are somehow orchestrated (if not executed) by none other than the Prime Minister himself.

And I know what you’re thinking: ‘Ah, but those people are wrong!’ (And it’s true: they are.)

Nonetheless, even I find it hard to believe that Robert Abela would have had no foreknowledge of that raid whatsoever. And viewed from that angle: that ‘Last Tango in Strasbourg’ takes on a whole new level of political significance.

For Robert Abela did not merely promise ‘continuity’ from the Joseph Muscat; he campaigned on that very premise to become the leader of the Labour Party. In fact, if he is at all Prime Minister today… it is precisely because he gave his supporters the impression that he would NOT be ‘dancing to the tune’ (as he seemed to be doing, on that catwalk) of NGOs like Repubblika, Occupy Justice, et al.

Either way, the question remains. Did Robert Abela even pause to think how his own supporters would interpret his actions... his body-language… his remarkable U-turns, and his extraordinary feats of political acrobatics? Be honest: it doesn’t really look like it, does it?

But there is more. I’m beginning to suspect that someone in that party must really have (belatedly) taken the Prime Minister to one side, and given him a bit of an earful. For now he seems to be overcompensating for his earlier mistake… by equally disconcerting that other section of his own support-base.

You know: the ones who DO believe in the ‘rule of law’; the ones who are not ‘traditional Labour voters’… but who voted Labour in 2013 and 2017, because they actually identified with Muscat’s ‘progressive, moderate’ rhetoric, etc.

In other words: Robert Abela’s reaction was to shoot down the PN’s ‘package of 12 legislative bills’, before they even had a chance to be discussed in parliament.

And this, I need hardly add, can only create much bigger problems for Abela. For one thing: because it simply deflates any reason the more moderate voters may still have, to vote Labour in the forthcoming election; and for another… because it succeeds in achieving what even I thought was utterly impossible, until just a couple of weeks ago.

It gives the Nationalist party an opportunity to get its act together… and actually put up a fight.

Think about it for a second: what is the one thing people have been criticizing about the Nationalist Party, ever since 2004? The fact that – after EU accession – it never bothered forging any kind of new political identity of its own.

On the contrary: for the past 18 years, the PN has been consistently asking for our vote… simply because ‘it exists’ (and, of course, because ‘it isn’t Labour’.)

But by rejecting what is, effectively, the equivalent of a ‘policy-vision for the future’… Robert Abela has actually spared the PN the hassle of even coming up with an electoral manifesto. It’s all ready, right there, in those 12 proposals: ‘Vote for us, and we’ll give you THIS’.

And instead of doing what I would have advised him to do, were I in the room myself (i.e.: ‘try and sneakily turn it round, so it looks like YOUR proposal, not theirs’…) Robert Abela simply… threw it away.

By my count then, Robert Abela has somehow managed to piss off both sides of his own party’s ‘super-majority’ – the ones who have always voted Labour; and the ones who defected from the PN over the last two election – in the space of just one (1) week.

At which point, you really do have to ask: whose side is he even on?