Being an avid reader of this newspaper, considering the hours I spend going through every page to be a must and also time well-spent, I cannot avoid being subjected to the regular outbursts on paper that Martin Scicluna uses to vent whatever it is he needs to vent.

Just like my old biros, which used to burst whenever I let them get too warm, Scicluna tends to get hot and spill ink all over the pages of this newspaper, seemingly oblivious to the fact that what he writes others may read. Whenever his pieces are published, they no longer remain to be the solitary musings and ruminations of a stagnant mind but they become public fare, for the consumption of all.

I was privy to an education of the highest level, from which I was imbued with the qualities of honesty, diligence and respect for others. These are the qualities that, lumped together, allow for one to be considered a gentleman. It is, therefore, not usually my style or custom to indulge in direct criticism of an individual in what could be construed as a personal attack.

However, in having long adopted such a style himself, Scicluna has forfeited any right to being protected by the common laws of decency that he has flouted repeatedly. He had access to the same education I did, albeit much earlier than myself, but, unfortunately, it either did not rub off on him or its effect was lost with the passage of so many years.

His latest diatribe (‘Unworthy of election’, April 10) once again involved Roberta Metsola, a young lady who, as a duly-elected member of the European Parliament, is one of the representatives of the Maltese and Gozitans. She is not a representative of the government that Scicluna now adulates, for his own reasons.

She has no obligation to defend wrongdoing, come from whatever quarter it may come. She is, however, obliged to defend the interests of normal people, even and especially against threats coming from within. And, in my view, she does, and does it well. 

Scicluna disagrees, as is his right. What is not his right is the abuse of the few inches afforded to him by this newspaper to indulge in a personal crusade against this lady. He holds nothing back, stooping to the lowest possible levels, and one can almost feel the spittle splashing on to the words ashe writes them, so angry is the tone.

He has twice reacted to Metsola’s thought-out and well-articulated pieces and his tone has been so bitterly personal that one must perforce query why he has it in for this female representative of ours. Does it come from him solely or is it perhaps that he has become his master’s voice? And who, may I ask, would his master be now?

One can only wonder why he has opted to take such an attitude and approach. One can easily comprehend that a man of his years could feel envy for someone so young and competent. It would be very easy to tap into these feelings of inadequacy and manipulate a sad elderly man, like the devil manipulated Goethe’s Faust. 

His time is the past, therefore, I can only imagine the ego trip he went on when Joseph Muscat appointed him to a position vis-à-vis Hogwarts University, otherwise known as the American University of Malta. This appointment has meant that he can relive some form of perceived relevance while reminding all who will listen that he was in charge of a nuclear battery somewhere in Germany.

I can think of no rational or logical explanation why this man has stooped to being the mouthpiece for clichés and ‘big lie’ strategies

While his attacks on Metsola are despicable in their own right, it was something else that really irked me and prompted me to this uncharacteristic reaction of mine. In his piece of invective published recently, Scicluna had the gall to refer to the time he spent as “Eddie Fenech Adami’s adviser on defence matters”. 

In an underhanded and morally reprehensible attempt to equate the Office of that Prime Minister with what we are lumped with today he tried to project what people know today, “You know, they’re all corrupt in Castille”, on to those days. I can understand what drives him to hang on to those memories, when he could still respect himself, having held a position that befitted his knowledge and experience, a key characteristic of meritocratic appointments that were then the order of the day. 

He wants to relive a past that has grown more glorious in his mind with the passage of time and the losses it brings with it. Any respect, self or otherwise, that he may have gained then has, however, long been squandered.  

I can think of no rational or logical explanation why this man has stooped to being the mouthpiece for clichés and ‘big lie’ strategies, defending the indefensible Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri.

He keeps harping about the lack of evidence and ignores that most damning fact in the regard of these two men – they both opened secret Panama accounts days after they grasped power. One could go blue in the face, and red with embarrassment, shouting that there is no proof and that it is all circumstantial. The accounts, their secrecy, their owners and the date of their opening are all proven facts.

The rest of the details are just a lot of cherries on the cake they baked for themselves, reinforcing that which we already knew, that those accounts were set up for nefarious reasons. And, yet, Scicluna plays Nelson, or rather the ostrich, in order to avoid seeing what is so blatantly obvious to all, little realising that, in persisting on doing so, he has effectively turned himself into the pitiful caricature of a man that he now is.

I still remember sniggering when I heard that he had founded the one-man show, the Today Public Policy Institute, now also long defunct. The choice of the name says it all. Deep down, he knows full well that he belongs to ‘yesterday’ , therefore, any link, however flimsy and shady, to ‘today’ is more than welcome.

I will here be so forward as to offer a piece of unsolicited advice to Scicluna. Forget your yesterday and your today and simply call it a day. 

Do not be like that toothless lion who has no pride left and has no choice but to stare at the fleeting gazelles that pass him by, making feeble attempts at roaring while the flies have a field day over his body. 

Beat an exit with the little dignity you have left, maybe we too could start remembering your yesterday more than your today. It is in your best interest. 

This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece


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