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MALTATODAY 26 December 2021 LOOKING BACK edition

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 26 DECEMBER 2021 COMMENT What are we skinning? The anti-corruption reckoning that has sent shockwaves across the Labour Party just in time for the festive season. Why are we skinning it? Because nobody ever really resigns in Malta, so three of them stacked together lands as a lesser-spotted dollop of Good Governance, when you least expect it. It sounds like a Christmas miracle! Indeed. If you told me Santa Claus actually existed – and that the whole 'it was your parents all along' thing was an elaborate conspiracy that would make the most vigorous anti-vaxxer blush - I may even entertain the possibility of believing you. So is this what you would have asked Santa for, had he not delivered it to you anyway? You mean that freshly former Education Minister Justyne Caruana were to resign from her posts over allegations that she siphoned off a sizeable amount of public funds to her footballer boyfriend for curriculum consultation that was in fact done by someone else? Or that backbencher Ian Castaldi Paris not seek re-election after being slapped with a stratospheric tax bill? Or that GP-MP Silvio Grixti were to resign from parliament after signing off on one too many allegedly fraudulent sick notes? Well, yeah. I mean three is the magic number, right? Who knows what will happen next? Scrooge was also visited by three ghosts during Christmas time… Though I'd struggle to figure out which of the ghosts is represented by this lot. Or if they were visited by any at all. I mean, *technically* Caruana is the only one giving out money while the other two made moves to hoard it. Yeah, the only problem being that the money wasn't technically hers to give. Not even Scrooge would have approved. Yes, call him what you will, but Scrooge simply operated by working with the utmost legal limits of his world. He gained his wealth by working his staff to the bone, and lived frugally. But his tax record would have been spotless, I'd wager… and he wouldn't be dipping into anyone else's coffers for cash. The Ghosts of Past, Present and Future would have been unimpressed by this lot indeed. I'd hasten to say that they'd actually be pre- emptively terrified and not bother. Yes, all the more so when it takes more than a ghostly haunting to scare the corruption out of Maltese politicians these days. A bleak outline for the annual Christmas panto, but a realistic one, yes. I mean, they even 'personally hurt' the feelings of our dear prime minister. Never mind the damage to our reputation and the further erosion of trust in government and our political class… when Bobby's feelings get hurt, that's when you can finally start expecting some results around here. Do say: "That persecutions and resignations happen at all within the realm of our political class is a sign that our institutions seem to be working after all, with a degree of efficiency and transparency we don't see all that much of around here. Now read that again and tell me the hopeful: depressing ratio doesn't skew emphatically towards the former." Don't say: "Keep your vouchers, Christmas markets and letterbox-clogging season's greetings cards – the Maltese nation wants three resignations each festive season from here on out." Year of the Vaccine RAPHAEL VASSALLO PAGES 10-11 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down JOSANNE CASSAR A mistake made more than once is called a decision PAGE 5 MICHAEL FALZON Bread and circuses PAGE 7 No 119 – Christmas Collapse at Mile End SAVIOUR BALZAN Some Christmas this has been... PAGE 5 EDITORIAL The price of Joseph Muscat's legacy PAGE 2 If people now object to face- masks, it is only because the 'protection' these things supposedly afford – whatever that may actually translate into, in practice – is simply no longer worth all the nuisance and bother of actually having to wear one

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