I mentioned on Facebook recently that there’s a rumour that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s wife had left him for an army man.
This would be a point of public interest in any country under normal circumstances even if he weren’t currently implicated in the biggest criminal cover up the country has ever seen. If Melania Trump left the big orange turd you better be sure people would know about it – and they’d have a right to.
Why do we have a right to know?
Well because the Joseph and Michelle power couple narrative has been a consistent strand of the Labour party’s campaign; and the Muscat’s have wielded their relationship and family (including their poor children) like weapons or chess pieces in a big PR game. It was always a relationship on full display in the public domain, wheeled out at every opportunity to the chanting masses. Showcased on their expensive trips, in the palaces and castles, wandering New York, and so on.
You do not thrust your family into the spotlight for political gain and then expect the public not to wonder where they are during your political loss.
And Joseph Muscat is losing. The pressure being mounted on him right now is immense and comes from far more numerous and important factions of society and international bodies than the thousand braying donkeys who greeted the Labour criminals at Mile End.
But more than that, if Michelle has done a runner, it raises significant questions.
I can’t say I was surprised that so many people commenting on my Facebook post decided I was being a “gossip” by reflecting on the possibility that a dictator’s wife had left him, or that some suggested it was irrelevant. Sanctimony and piety are some of the more socially acceptable vestiges of Catholicism. It’s the response of a people who have inherited a cookie cut-out template of morality and apply it indiscriminately to everything, without discerning first what the context is.
If the Maltese were quicker off the mark at spotting issues of national importance or interest perhaps Malta would have risen to the occasion a lot quicker and prevented a journalist being assassinated.
But when political commentators, radio hosts and political cartoonists are accusing you of being a “nasty person” or a gossip monger , that’s yet another indictment of Maltese critical thinking. No wonder Malta’s in the state it’s in.
I’m not gossiping when we’re dealing with criminals who might, say, abscond with public money. This isn’t idle chatter about my next door neighbour. And I’m not invading the private lives of private citizens. Daphne wrote about the standards of public life often, but I think she hits the nail on the head here.
Anyway let me list some of the questions here that should, to every right thinking individual, come to play:
1) did she actually leave him? If not, where is she? The woman who used to crave the eye of a camera like a junkie has disappeared from all public life entirely.
2) if she did leave him, when and why? Have they been separated for some time now? What motivated her to leave him?
3) Was it just the public pressure or does she know more? What does she know?
4) does Michelle Muscat think her husband was involved in Daphne’s assassination?
5) What will she do about her Egrant now? or was she another front for Joseph?
6) If rumours are true that she’s now living with an army man – is it also true that said army man was promoted three times in Muscat’s meritocracy?
It may all be nothing but a rumour, however I felt I should make a point that standards in public life become all the more stark when those public figures are also criminals.