The Malta Independent 9 December 2019, Monday

In a country where the crooked is straight, what is trust?

Victor Calleja Sunday, 21 July 2019, 09:55 Last update: about 6 months ago

In the bad old days before the Joseph Muscat golden era, evil, crookery and destitution ruled. Malta was under the horrid grip of the PN. This was the PN of old, not the new way of Adrian Delia who, like today’s Labour Party, has no interest in values.

The PN of old, led by such horrors as Eddie Fenech Adami and the risible Lawrence Gonzi, kept us backward and poor. They only cared about things like good governance. It was also a time when political responsibility practically ruled supreme.

The PN era was, especially according to Labour spokesman and mouthpiece TVM, a near quarter-century in which we had no economic stability and we were all barefoot and hungry.

Back then it was not easy to win elections, unlike what the marvellous, magical man Joseph Muscat has shown us. Or rather, what the people have delivered by believing all the untruths, by believing that we live a life of quality when all we do is breathe in dust, corruption and chaos.

Joseph Muscat is a man who makes us – or most of us – believe that black is white, bad is good and corruption in high places is the norm; that good governance is a waste of time; that meritocracy is just a buzzword; that foreign condemnation is but a result of local traitors trashing us into reputational distress.

What is amazing is how the word ‘trust’ has changed in what it means and conveys. To me, and to a few delusional others, trust was always something you gained by being honest and truthful, by believing in values and by adhering steadfastly to what you believe is good; not in what is good for you but what is intrinsically good for the public well-being.

In Malta, even after all the horrendous stories circulating and being proven, Joseph Muscat’s trust benchmark keeps going up. He is denied the top EU post he desperately strove to get, is faced with ultimatums to change the course of Malta and yet public trust in him grows.

Granted that Adrian Delia, as Leader of the Opposition and as a personality, is a washout. The main contender for Joseph Muscat’s position is not just weak but also has a cupboard, nay a wardrobe, nay a whole trailer-full of skeletons.

You would imagine that, even if Adrian Delia does not win any support, people would flock away from Joseph Muscat. I would have imagined any sane man or woman would trust a chimpanzee or even a lizard rather than Muscat.

However, this is Malta: a Malta which now believes that the sun shines only if Muscat asks it to. By collective amnesia we tend to forget the scandals that are still happening; so many have happened under Joseph Muscat’s watch that now none surprise us. There is not even a modicum of effort now to cover up the scandalous deals dished out on a quasi-daily basis.

Does a Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards need to point out how wrong jobs-for-the-boys are when it comes to extra appointments for Government backbenchers? Who cares if they are all shady?

In all honesty, as a country we have always been loose in our upholding or understanding of morals. To an extent, corruption, clientelism, shady deals and dealings and turning a blind eye have characterised us before Malta even came to be.

Perhaps – because of our history of servility to our colonisers – we always accepted some wrongdoing. When we scrounged the system we justified it, even if we thought we were champion Catholics.

With shady deals in public land now the norm, Joseph Muscat’s crooked ways still reap him abundant praise and trust. So who cares if we are now living more and more in a state of complete and idiotic bliss? Nobody in this land seems concerned about anything as long as the money flows on.

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