During World War II, the Allies had a secret weapon that they used effectively during the bombing operations against Germany. It was code-named ‘Window’ and was intended to confuse enemy radar by creating false blips. 

This secret weapon was nothing more than clouds of metal foil strips, dropped by an aircraft to create radar responses that would give the impression they were enemy aircraft. 

In this way the ‘Window’, which can also be called chaff, deviated attention from the real danger posed by the much larger masses of real metal approaching – the bombers and their destructive cargo intended to wreak havoc on the people below.

Just last week, I received my own version of this chaff, also intended to confuse on the basis of falsehood. Being now in full election campaign mode, Joseph Muscat’s Labour Party has mobilised its own ‘Window’ and dropped clouds of strips of paper in the form of the €50 cheques on what they believe to be a gullible Maltese public. 

The intention is simple. They want to deviate our attention away from the waves of corruption allegations attacking our consciousness every day, with a small number of people raking in hundreds of thousands, and even millions from their nefarious activities, while creating untold damage to the economy and reputation of our country.

The politics of deviation and sleight of hand has long been Muscat’s Labour’s hallmark. Whenever a major scandal is, or is about to be, uncovered, he always manages to come up with something to try to make us look in some other direction. 

His skills as an illusionist have long been proven, and it is an outright insult to all of us that he behaves like a party magician, treating us all like wide-eyed children waiting for his next trick. 

For, other than tricks, they are not, and as the Maltese saying goes, carrying the jug to and fro, time after time, means that eventually it will be broken.

This latest example of his trickery has another level of disdain for the Maltese and Gozitan people. 

Once again Joseph Muscat has proven himself to be nothing more than a salesman selling himself as a statesman, while selling off our country in pieces

Fifty euros in a year does not even buy me a weekly cappuccino! The impact that this pittance of a handout has on the finances of a household is less than negligible, and is as worthless as the metal foil that used to be thrown haphazardly out of planes.

I also find that the timing of this ruse to coincide with the build-up to the European Parliament election campaign has a significant throwback element. It reminded me of those notorious pre-election budgets of the 1970s and early 1980s, which used to announce such useless measures as cheaper cans of tuna with the full-blown propaganda making it sound like it was the best thing since sliced bread. 

Muscat has the bare-faced cheek to believe that Maltese citizens, EU citizens to boot, will be bought in this case not by the proverbial 30 pieces of silver, but by 30 cups of coffee in a year! 

If, notwithstanding all the propaganda and triumphalism that he is vaunting, he believes that €50 in a year will make a difference to a family, we are in dire straits indeed. 

If he believes that they will make us ignore the daily freshly recurring allegations of corruption amounting to millions, then he has another thing coming. If he knows something about the real state of the economy, which has created pockets of new poverty, and hopes that a one-off €50 note will placebo away people’s concerns, then he is more of a charlatan than I had ever believed.

Once again he has proven himself to be nothing more than a salesman selling himself as a statesman, while selling off our country in pieces in true corporate raider fashion. 

Words sometimes fail me, albeit uncharacteristically, when faced with his straight face while announcing things that are either outright fabrications and figments, or utterly inconsequential to the real issues facing us citizens. 

This flurry of €50 cheques was his latest sorry attempt at currying favour. I only hope that we do not allow ourselves to be hoodwinked by this cheap trick. I surely will not, and am convinced that many other people who I know, will not either. Pull the other one, Joseph. It’s the one with bells on it. 


This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece


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