Into the abyss

This article is part 2 – you can read part 1 here.

In order to create this smokescreen that Malta is a normal country, as described by one of Caruana Galizia’ sons, there have been many distractions: IVF, the wave of investments by crypto-currency companies, the arrival of the ninth aircraft to Malta for the national airline company and once again the surplus. These create a sense for those who are trapped within Labour’s orbit of influence that our Republic is a beacon of civil liberties passing through an economic golden age.

Moreover, to strengthen their argument that Malta is indeed normal, one of the Labour MPs has also challenged the justice critics head on by stating justice is being served because the assassins were caught. Meanwhile, the person who commissioned her murder is out scot-free.

While this narrative of normality and prosperity is being emphasised upon by the party, they have also blended their arguments with claims implying that there is a conspiracy to harm the country to get to Labour. This is a tactic which is a textbook example of what the populist authoritarians do in other countries such as in Poland and Hungary, whereby the party appeals to nationalist sentiment and employs methods of delegitimization.

This was mildly used by Hon. Bartolo who stated that this was the result of people who ‘hate the Labour Party much more than they hate Malta’, resulting in these ‘haters’ destroying Malta’s reputation to undermine Labour.

However, Karl Stagno Navarra, who is widely followed by Labour supporters, went a step further. Using a much stronger tone, he added onto the conspiracy by directly mentioning the Nationalist Party, claiming that it has mislead journalists to ‘attack’ the country by giving out false information. This enforces the idea among Labour viewers that the media is manipulated against them and cannot be trusted.

Unlike the other two major scandals in 2016 and 2017, this one seems to be a little bit different for the simple reason that six Labour officials have spoken with concern about situation to Lovin’ Malta. Another dissident – an acclaimed socialist – has written about the party, expressing his shame on Facebook about what is happening. However, there are doubts whether they will step aside as Mizzi is described to have an ‘ego’ and Schembri being too ‘brilliant’.

Despite all this, Muscat supporters are determined to fight tooth and nail. As we continue to hear more prodigious acts of corruption, the more stubborn they will get.

The political battle ground, apart from the confusion in the defunct opposition, will all boil down to what Muscat has in mind and how those who are questioning the situation of their Labour party will react.

This is a scandal that has plunged us into the abyss.

Thomas Cassar Ruggier

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