The latest refrain from Joseph Muscat’s party, well, one of the latest, anyway, is that they will continue to be positive and leave the character assassination and mud-slinging for others.

Of course, as soon as the warm breath that wafted out of the talking head that spewed this out dissipated in the cold air of reality, they were at it, chucking the stuff about as if it were going out of fashion.

Never do what Labour do, do what they say, keeping an eye out for their hitmen, metaphorically speaking, while you’re at it. Even the least blessed with intelligence among us knows why Muscat wants what he calls mud-slinging to stop: there’s too much going around that is sticking to his party and, consequently, to his prospects of skipping up the steps to Castille, for all that he can put his hand on his heart and say he’s done nothing of which to be ashamed.

Take the news, as opposed to mud-slinging, that’s going around about the financial shenanigans surrounding that old black gold: the vast majority of people who are having charges preferred against them can hardly be called died-in-the-wool Nationalists.

To be fair, which is never a position taken by Labour’s mouthpieces, we are still at the allegation stage but the fact remains that the news axis is mainly the Labour Party and its supporters. This means that the holier-than-thou smugness with which Muscat and his faithful attack-dogs have snarled at Austin Gatt and Tonio Fenech is now worth about as much as Konrad Mizzi’s promises about building €600 million worth of shiny power station on the back of some kindly capitalist in 24 months or less. That’s to say, basically, less than not very much at all.

So while it’s perfectly OK for Labour and its lapdogs to make any number of weird and wacky assertions about anyone they like, just because they think that they can bully and intimidate their way into power, if anyone looks askance at one of theirs, it’s a vile personal attack.

Then let’s take a leaf out of their imaginary book, shall we, and be positive.

After all, it’s hardly necessary to highlight the dirt sticking to so many facets of Labour; there’s enough of that in the daily news, even if many media players do their level best to put a nice face on it.

Let’s take a look at their manifesto, road map, scrapbook of ideas, wish list or whatever it’s currently being called. You know the one I mean, the one that came out about 10 days after the Nationalists’ but which, in some particularly strange, 1984, way, was characterised as the crib from which said Nationalists copied theirs.

Anyone who has read the two documents knows that, in truth, Labour have adopted something in the region of 70 per cent plus of the Nationalists’ stuff, sometimes blatantly in the form of saying they were going to do things that are already in the process of being done.

They gave fair warning that they would be doing this, you might recall, when Muscat said that they would be adopting the Nationalists’ Budget.

You’d think that what with the furore in Germany about that politician who plagiarised someone else’s work, Muscat would be careful about making someone else’s work his own, though, in this instance, we’re not talking about academic copying, so I suppose it’s not a major crime.

There, see, I’m being positive, I’m looking at what they say they will be doing, not peeking under the rock and wondering whether there are any slimy little creatures that will try to run the country like their own private fiefdom lurking beneath. Muscat is continuing to be positive, you’ll be glad to hear. Wherever he goes, he sniffs out nifty ideas and latches onto them like an eager little terrier.

...Let’s take a leaf out of Labour’s imaginary book and be positive- I.M. Beck

If it’s establishing a crack unit to protect cute specimens of wildlife, you’ll find him adopting it in a flash. If there’s some sector of society that hasn’t been snuggled up to, there he’ll be, all ears, begging to be told what its components want, even if Labour’s programme is no longer supposed to be a work in progress, a week before the elections.

Like Alfred Sant, I’m morally convinced, this time that Muscat will be promising dancing fountains and pies in the firmament right up to the last minute of polling day, whispering positive thoughts into the ear of the very last voter.

I’d rather like to end on a really positive note, though. When you’re next in Gozo, take a stroll into the older part of Victoria, towards the left side of the Basilica of St George, and visit the Heart of Gozo, Il-Ħaġar.

It’s an excellent, state-of-the-art museum that was put together by a mix of voluntary work and local fund-raising plus a good chunk of EU funding and will well repay a visit.

imbocca@gmail.com

www.timesofmalta.com/articles/author/20

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