Konrad Mizzi: He’s not a politician’s politician, let’s put it that way

The Skinny | No 20. Konrad Mizzi

He’s arguably the most fascinating embodiment of Joseph Muscat’s political project, and its ensuing legacy
He’s arguably the most fascinating embodiment of Joseph Muscat’s political project, and its ensuing legacy

What are we skinning? The (recent) life and times of former energy minister, then former tourism minister, then former OSCE delegation head, and former MTA consultant-on-€80,000-a-year, Konrad ‘I’ve-done-nothing-wrong’ Mizzi.

Why are we skinning him? Because he’s arguably the most fascinating embodiment of Joseph Muscat’s political project, and its ensuing legacy.

How so? He’s not a politician’s politician, let’s put it that way.

You mean how Donald Trump claimed not be part of the ‘establishment’? Kind of, but skim off Donald Trump’s machismo and replace them with an efficient roboticism. And don’t forget that he famously coined the “shaaaaame-on-you ministah-fenaaaach” cat-call back in 2013.

How is that fascinating? Being business savvy and opening offshore accounts is hardly exemplary behaviour in public office… But that’s precisely it. As he himself has said at the peak of the many scandals that have rocked him, and the ensuing calls for resignation that have followed in their wake, he still has “plenty of supporters” on social media and otherwise who will militate for his cause no matter what.

But that’s just because Labour Party supporters will rally behind anyone responsible for ensuring continued economic success. That’s not entirely true. Keith Schembri’s claim that he was all but wholly responsible for ‘ten victories’ for the party didn’t exactly go down all that well among sections of the party faithful.

Schembri is also alleged to be implicated in far murkier stuff than Mizzi, to be fair. But then, what is the magic ingredient that has kept Mizzi afloat for so long? I think it’s a mix of his powerful appointments, his talent and efficiency as a technocrat and his ‘nerdy’ demeanour. He’s not your typical hang-jowled, streetwise pitbull for whom corruption appears to come second nature.

But he appears to be on the way out. A move that came right after a lucrative appointment was given to him, then rescinded by the current Prime Minister.

Which says as lot. It does. It means speaks volumes about the intertwined narratives of Konrad Mizzi and Joseph Muscat.

Do say: “The trajectory of Konrad Mizzi’s career can be seen as a cautionary tale against the over-reliance on successful businessmen in politics. No matter how effective they are in their posts, the perception of cleanliness is paramount in public office.”

Don’t say: “Mizzi did nothing wrong. I would do the same if I were in his shoes. Now please leave me to fill out this byzantine tax return while I dip into my savings to pay off the car I bought five years ago.”

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