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Joseph: seventh day reflection.

Posted by fcb on June 14, 2008

Big Fish Eat Little Fish. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1556. Pen and brush and gray and black ink, 21.6 x 30.7 cm
Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna


Now we have a leader, Joseph Muscat. He is young and reflects our dream to make a fresh start. In the week he has been in office – a long time, we all know, in politics – he has done and said many things. Some of these things may have caused a sensation but will, with the passing of weeks and months and years, fade into the background.

Some of them, however, will not. When there will be nobody left to hug and kiss, the truly important statements made and actions taken in the past week, will have to be revisited, defined, fleshed out and built upon. Moreover, a week being a long time but certainly not long enough, other things will need to be said and done: reflection and circumstances will make sure this happens.

We chose Joseph because we are convinced that he has the intelligence and the moral disposition required to avoid mouthing the laughable mantra so beloved of third rate politikanti: I was, I am and I will always be etc etc. The world changes and we change with it. Recognising this is not a mark of weakness but an indication of intellectual honesty. What is finally important is not to use this as a justification for moral opportunism.

Not easy but, again, we chose Joseph because we are convinced that he can and will succeed to walk along the vibrating tightrope stretched between principle and expediency. One reason why we think he can make it is that he has no difficulty in admitting that he is not above the conflict between principle and expediency. It is this honesty that will attract to him an increasing number of thinking men and women who have had enough of the holier-than-thou poseurs of our village-nation politics.

Having said this, let us not forget that there are many out there who stand to lose from this approach. The big fish who are accustomed to devouring small fish will not like it. They perceive in this radical sincerity  – sincerity as a powerful political instrument – a growing force that may one day threaten their quest for monopoly over influence, status, power and wealth. They will throw at him everything they can get their hands on. Obviously they will do so with a smile. We shall overcome. 


11 Responses to “Joseph: seventh day reflection.”

  1. Albert Farrugia said

    “They will throw at him everything they can get their hands on”.
    How true. The exclusive group which runs our country will not let go of power easily. Let this be firmly entrenched in our minds. The more they see that their hold on power is getting any weaker, the more will they use dirty and malicious weapons. It is, in a way, sad that a political party which had won the confidence of the electorate way back in 1981 with the battle-cry of “Valuri”, which strove, and succeeded, to depict itself as the party of upright citizens and politicans is now rapidly descending into the depths of deception, intrigue and blackmail.
    Those who watched Xarabank with a critical eye on Friday would most certainly agree with me that this was one of the most malicious and despicable editions of the programme. The fact that participation has now become virtually mandatory makes it even more viscious and despicable. I am morally convinced that last Friday’s edition was planned and prepared with a lot of input from the Pieta strategists. This includes Daphne CG, whose writings are now fast becoming a symptom of obsession. I am sure that most of those who are reading this take a look regularly at what is being written by her and by others on her website.
    But back to Friday’s Xarabank. How did Peppi illustrate Joseph’s contribution to the European Parliament? By showing him complaining strongly that there was no Maltese translator present! Now please notice that DCG had more than once written articles in which she had tried to ridicule Joseph Muscat for his insistence, on this occasion, to speak in Maltese. One must keep in mind that for a sector of the Maltese people..those whom we sometimes refer to jokingly as “tal-pepe” …such an episode…of someone insisting on speaking Maltese…goes down really, really badly. And it was featured in Xarabank! With Peppi asking Joseph (funny this, Peppi asking Joseph!!) if he might have, after all, “overreacted” that day. Isn’t the unfairness of that question obvious? But the aim was to undermine Joseph in the eyes of that sector of the population.
    I am also morally convinced that most of the members of the audience who put questions were “actors”. I suggest using the Streaming facility at to take a closer look at the performance of some of them…especially the girl talking about “catholic” values and another about waiting lists at Mater Dei. I was not conviced at all that these were genuine questions asked by interesed people. I believe that those were actors.
    What about the use of the picture of the injured dog? Peppi even dared use the word “hypocrisy” referring to Joseph at this moment, when he asked him about his position on hunting. Though admittedly he was almost afraid to use it. He just uttered it, as though he forced the word through his lips as quickly as possible, but not insisting on it.
    Througout the programme, Peppi was evidently feeling very uncomfortable, and his body and facial language betrayed a strong sense of contempt for the MLP leader.
    And what was that little episode, when the Labour Deputy-Leader contest results were announced, and one of them was Toni Abela, that a picture of the PN Tony Abela was shown for a few seconds? WHat was Peppi playing at? He explained that they got the picture from the internet. Such an empty, insincere explanation! Did he want to provoke the audience present to react very strongly against that picture? To show how hamalli the Laburisti are?
    In any case, this is what confronts the new Labour Leader. Its not going to be easy. I shudder to think what dirt is going to be thrown at him, especially as soon as the Pieta strategists get the first secret survey indicating that Joseph is cutting into the youth vote. Expect a bloody retaliation!

  2. Infonote said

    Great blog, enjoy reading your posts.

    MLP moved 2 steps forward with Muscat. But why did you move a step backwards electing 2 deputy leaders who where in various roles in the 80’s?

    The 80’s is MLP’s Achilles point in my opinion. I believe they should have elected 2 new deputy leaders and appoint the people from the 80’s as valued consultants.

  3. caretaker said


    We received an excellent comment from Albert Farrugia but we would like to clear a detail with him before publishing it. Albert, please read your e-mail or get in touch with me at as soon as possible, please.

    The Caretaker

  4. Nathalie Galea Dimech said

    Congratulations for a memorable editorial. I have been following your tazebao since the very beginning soon after Labour’s electoral defeat and I can assure you that it is fast becoming the reference point of all thinking women and men that recognise themselves as the progressives and moderates that Joseph Muscat is endeavouring to address and inspire.

    Nathalie Galea Dimech

  5. Mariella and Michael said

    This editorial ranks amongst the best that have appeared on this ‘tazebao’, yet another proof that in terms of quality, depth and values it is the best Maltese blog! Below id a list of our favourite editorials:

    Wanted: someone who can reach out to those who care about the value of truth.
    27 May

    Rodent truth: How will the old man divert attention from the big trouble once young Labour gets going? 23 May

    Lessons for the young. 17 May

    A bow in the cloud: unity, diversity and the Movement. 25 April

    Games contestants play. 18 April

    A regatta or an open confrontation of ideas? 14 April

    Benvenuto Benigni! Abbasso la politica dei cannoli! 12 April

    A short history of war wrecks in Maltese. 6 April

    Identity and social democratic values. 5 April

    What’s behind your face, Mr. Would-be-leader? 2 April

    A lively and healthy debate within and around the Party. 1 April

    Don’t you dare stop now that Labour has chosen its leader. Reinvent yourselves. Be there for us and we will be there for you.

    Mariella and Michael

  6. NEVILLE GAFA' said

    Very interesting editorial indeed. During the week that Joseph Muscat has been leading the Labour Party, he simply practiced what he preached before being elected.
    Prosit Joseph keep it up.
    Neville Gafa’.

  7. danny attard said

    I am in total agreement with Albert Farrugia’s reading of the situation. I repeat the question: does an important section of our media form part of PN strategy? There are strong indications that it does.

    Forming an internal part of strategy is very different from taking sides. Being biased is acceptable within democratic norms as long as the bias is apparent.

    But, forming part of strategy is tantamount to manipulation of public opinion and is seriously undemocratic. Such a situation is tantamount to situations prevailing in ‘Junta’ territories, It manipulates the real life-blood of democracy i.e. facts e.g. the JPO saga.

    All this notwithstanding, I feel that Joseph’s attitude of keeping the smile going in the face of barefaced manipulation is the best route. With the population hankering for a fresh alternative, Joseph should never succumb but keep a level head, open ears and open arms. What he has achieved by way of unity in the first 7 days is truely commendable.


  8. Toni Caruana said

    The Nationalist strategy againts Joseph is going to be different from the one used against A.Sant. Stratigists connected with PN, but especially their trojan horses at PBS, are at the moment collecting data. They are already trying to imply that Joseph is not chummy chummy. On his squeeze by the “new rich Peppi”, we had to listen to a multitude of questons with people with no name but with obviously prepared questions. We had conservatives implying that Joseph is radical, we had gays implying he is conservative, we had Joseph’s environmental credentials attacked by Mr Neutral, but the mother of all questions was the “cannabis joint” one! Next time I’ll expect Peppi to question the present PN political leaders, whether they used condoms when they were young! MLP needs strategists who work or worked in business, only then can we start devising a strategy which is professonal, practical and based on what the needs and wants really are.

    Toni Caruana

  9. Leli said

    Peppi thinks he can get away with murder. Just read his contributions on Illum to see his true colours. I would have said nothing if his program was on a private TV station. But PBS belongs to everybody. I suggest that we complain to the Broadcasting Authority, not as Labour supporters but as consumers. There should be somebody who watches over not just what subjects are discussed but also what subjects are left out. Peppi is too biased. His body language exposes him to what he really is. One has only to watch disset or reporter to see the difference.

  10. Peppi is on the Ethics Committee for One broadcasting.

  11. harloc said

    Hey there….

    What happened to your blog. Nothing new happened here for the past week. It seems that as I have predicted, the aim of this sight was only to influence any one who has at heart the Malta Labour Party to decide according to their needs.

    It is clear now from the cowardky act made by you in stopping this blog that the interest of the Caretaker and the rest was not to listen to what the man in the streest has to say, but to just use and influence the people to reah your aims.

    In my opinion there are only 2 groups of people that come to mind….either PN strategists or the party machine. The latter is the least impartial element in our party and the group that is making most harm to what we have so dear….the interest of our party.

    I hope that from this contribution I get some form of reply and maybe see that the contributors start again contributing.

    In case someone wants a new place to blog just reply to this blog and I will see that we get a new one in the interest of the MLP.

    Come on and let is know who you are.


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