The Malta Independent 1 October 2023, Sunday
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Pigging-it at the trough

Sunday, 21 May 2023, 10:16 Last update: about 5 months ago

Louis Gatt

Newspapers, local TV, radio and... of course social media have all been full of it.

It... being the determination of just about everybody, from "persons of trust" via "soldiers of steel" through to disciples of "Soopair Wan"... to have their collective snouts buried deep in the government's trough-of-plenty.

In the past I have written about my complete disinterest in local parish-pump politics. In fact I have voted for both of the main parties. However, the current scramble to bag a place at the trough seems to transcend mere politics. And this unedifying gorge-fest appears to even override party politics as it sees a number of former high profile members of the Opposition, the likes of Messrs Engerer and Bondi, among others willing and eager to swap sides in the apparent mad rush to get in on the act and cash in... big time.

Corruption has always played a role in Maltese public life, but these days we are experiencing establishment corruption on an industrial scale, from the top down. Reading about some of the abominations carried out under the stewardship of the current Prime Minister's predecessor beggar belief. And I do truly wonder how the hell he got away with it for so long. But in these days of social media there are always going to be those - either official or unofficial - willing excusers, to fill the comments sections of some of the more salacious media stories of state endorsed sleaze, with spurious justification and excuses. The likes of Mister Privitera and friends, who oil the wheels of state sponsored corruption... or do they? I am sure the Opposition must rub their hands with glee every time the rather sad Mr P puts stylus to screen.

My jaw has frequently dropped open at the sums of money (yours and mine, by the way) that has been rumoured to have been passed onto these fringe forces. Supplementary salaries of several thousand Euros a month for fairly light or negligible duties. Or worse, phantom jobs that carry pay packets far in excess of what most of us could ever hope to earn. The modus operandi appears to be this: party loyalist or MP screws up big time in his post... media finds out and exposes guilty party... party loyalist or MP resigns or is shown the door... one month - or less - elapses... party loyalist or MP is assigned sinecure with a whopping great salary (usually well in excess of what he or she was getting before screwing up).

Maybe the powers-that-be thought that they were also letting the rest of us gorge a little at the government's "friends" trough when they recently handed out that spate of "tax refund" cheques, but of course, it was actually nothing of the kind. What they were doing was giving us back money that was already legally ours. As a good friend of mine put it: "Personally I'd prefer it if they didn't take it off us in the first place."

* * *

I see that our latest disastrous venture into the risible Eurovision Song Contest was, inevitably way down to our usual expectations. We actually placed last... again, out of all the entrants. Well done! Prosit! Yet another ringing endorsement of our staggering song-writing and performing skills. As the bishop reportedly said to the nymphomaniac - don't you think that now enough really is enough. Please... quit while you are behind. No, I didn't think you would... pity.

PS: I've just heard, for the first time, our entry. Words fail me... It really is total rubbish.

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