Tell me you didn’t just picture Muscat dancing to Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’

The Skinny | No 101 – Joseph Muscat Feels The People’s Love

He deserves love as much as the Maltese population deserves honesty and transparency
He deserves love as much as the Maltese population deserves honesty and transparency

What are we skinning? Disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat claiming he “still feels the people’s love” in a Times of Malta interview.

Why are we skinning it? Because it is a statement as enraging as it is poignant, considering Muscat’s place in Malta’s history and the mess it’s left behind.

Why is it poignant? Clutching at straws by appealing to the ‘prosit ministru’ crowd comes with no small measure of pathos, wouldn’t you say?

I would, but only if that were the whole truth. How do you mean?

Well, I’m also certain that it’s not just the core party faithful who miss Muscat as prime minister. Who else would you put in that category, then?

The members of the business class who will miss his magic touch, no doubt. I’m pretty sure they remain untouched by the changing of the guard commandeered by Robert Abela, though.

Yes, but the Muscat ‘feel good factor’ in this regard can’t go unignored. True, and his exit meant that his political tenure was untouched by the ravages of the pandemic, which makes a nostalgic take on the Muscat years all the more feasible for some people.

So it’s down to credulous party faithful and grubby businessmen. If anything, this illustrates the deadliest side-effect of Muscat’s political project.

How do you mean? By adopting a lowest-common-denominator approach to politics, Muscat and his allies cheapened the idea of ideological support, reducing it to a matter of blind faith as a reward for favours and other trinkets. And the crowning of sleazy figureheads like Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi into the upper echelons of power played into a negative idea of what businesses are, which continues to hurt the reputation of local businesses even to this day.

But do you think Muscat deserves love? He deserves love as much as the Maltese population deserves honesty and transparency.

So what do you think the best course of action would be for him, right now? To stop gaslighting the population with his narcissistic appeals of and for ‘love’, and to allow us to heal from the many wounds he’s inflicted.

Do say: “While it’s probably true that a sizeable chunk of the electorate still looks on Muscat with respect - begrudging, adoring or otherwise - the fact remains that such a disgraced political figure can only still appeal to the basest, reptilian instincts within us - instincts we should deconstruct and ultimately shun if we’re to truly progress as a nation.”

Don’t say: “Tell me you didn’t just picture Joseph Muscat dancing to Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ in front of the mirror just now. Go ahead. I may even believe you.”