Some people really have the nerve

Aleks Farrugia, director of Lifelong Learning and a freemason with Simon Cusens club, has penned an article in the Times of Malta, complaining that the Maltese have become more “capitalist than Wall Street”. I don’t know what that means, but it’s only because Aleks isn’t capable of comprehending complex concepts despite his intellectual pretensions. So much so, he is not aware of how ridiculous and hypocritical he sounds to be complaining about greed given his personal history. In reality, many Maltese, Aleks included would probably starve to death if they had to live in capitalism.

Some readers commenting on the article about Simon Cusens and his freemason club accused me that I was hitting on small and irrelevant groups. I disagree. Freemason clubs are spaces and networks for rent-seeking and Aleks’ story is a very good example of this. And even if it’s rent-seeking light, it still uncovers niche government and business networks hidden from the public.

Aleks joined the freemasonry as soon as Labour entered office in 2013. That was the time Aleks left his job as Torċa editor for a job he didn’t like at Malta Enterprise, but it paid better. He bought a sports car (among all things), and let’s say, to be discreet, changed his lifestyle. This is the story not just of Aleks, but of many other Labour Party affiliates and members who received government posts from 2013 onwards.

The rush of new members in the freemasonry in 2013 was impressive. Joseph Muscat actively supported this phenomenon because he had brought his own Party members into these clubs and by default extended his reach and power. Of course, I was also offered to join the freemasons by different people at that time, and these solicitations were made to many government directors. Logically, I declined these invitations as I had a very different and idealistic perspective from people like Aleks.

Today, after Aleks has secured his place and loot thanks to his connections with the Labour Party, he has the nerve to preach about greed. Instead, what Aleks should be doing, as a member (equivalent to a director) of the National Book Council, is writing about the matters which are supposedly related to his public roles. By law, the National Book Council is supposed to speak in the interest of authors and book publishers at a state and government level, yet, the National Book Council didn’t even release a statement when a book author was recently threatened. Neither did the National Book Council react when the Prime Minister himself insulted the whole book industry at the Labour Party’s general conference.

So, yes, it’s a story about the light rent-seeking of a government stooge but it also explains how our institutions are compromised by Labour Party affiliates whose only interest is self-serving. The National Book Council would have still been an independent entity which actually fulfills its role by law if the right people were members of the National Book Council instead of people like Aleks. The Labour Party needs many people like Aleks in government entities in order to push its agenda in public institutions and there are many like him.




  1. Sorry if this sounds pedantic, Mark, but, in your posts, you have repeatedly confused the words ‘discreet’ and ‘discrete’. When two or more things are ‘discrete’, it means that they are separate and distinct from one another. If an individual is ‘discreet’ in speech or actions, on the other hand, it means that the person is being cautious about what to say or do. With words being your tools of trade, I figured you would appreciate someone pointing this out.

    Keep up the good work.

      • I very much appreciate your kindness but I am perfectly happy to pay for your books. Supporting independent and important (and financially struggling) publishers is the least people of good will can do. So far, I have bought Ġaħan fl-Aqwa Żmien and A Rent Seeker’s Paradise. I have not bought L-Antoloġija tal-Lettartura Mqarba yet simply because my pile of still-to-read books is already high, so I want to give it a dent before buying more.

        I am glad you appreciated me pointing out the discrete/discreet mistake. I am a man of letters (of sorts) and I do notice some inaccuracies in the way you sometimes word your blog posts. Obviously, some slipups are simply due to haste because, in a running commentary, there is limited time to review, edit and re-write; however, some other issues seem to be chronic, and I get the urge to point them out.

        At the same time, though, I am always reluctant to give unsolicited grammar or vocabulary lessons because, as many people like to say: “who cares as long as you get the message across?”. And they may be right, up to a point. In the grand scheme of things, especially when national scandals are being investigated, a discussion about how to word a sentence or phrase may sound very petty. However, better writing makes you sound more professional (and makes you a better writer), so I may still give you unsolicited advice every now and then.

        Stay well and thanks again.

      • My grammar and spelling are sometimes a mess because my writing volume is huge and I am not a very good man of letters, so please you are very welcome to point out my mistakes. And thank you for your support.

  2. Fair point or should I say points? Of course some freemasons would sure be in it to see what they can get out of it personally. But you side stepped my main argument that after all the best way to get cosy within government and profit is joining the “Moviment” Partit Laburista. I do not see how being a freemason can help you there or indeed would be of any value. More likely its finding a horse (political candidate) and making sure your horse wins as big as possible.

    On another note; why do these pretend intellectuals especially on the PL side have to be balding on the front and compensating with flowing hair on the nape of their neck.

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