Could this whole affair have revealed Yorgen Fenech’s warm mushy heart by accident?

The Skinny | No 76 – Rosianne Resigns

What are we skinning? The resignation of Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms Rosianne Cutajar following allegations that she would have been allocated a sizeable amount of cash while brokering an Mdina property deal for business magnate-turned-murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.

Why are we skinning it? Because resignations are only a recent phenomenon in Maltese political culture, and the involvement of Yorgen Fenech in the whole debacle adds a layer of edgy sleaziness to the whole affair.

But what makes this any more special than all the other political resignations we’ve experienced over the years? To be fair, it IS depressingly distinguished by its similarity to any and all political links to Yorgen Fenech.

In that everyone Fenech has come into contact with turns into a political liability? Yes, though in this case - and in the interest of complete fairness - the whole mess comes with an added gender-related quirk.

How so? The fact that Rosianne Cutajar is a young woman invites all sort of rumours which, even if they were true, come with a certain whiff of misogyny that can’t be denied.

Oh come on, you can’t let identity politics get in the way of a good gossip-chuckle, surely? We should all acknowledge our blind spots.

And let’s face it... Rosianne Cutajar’s entire political modus operandi appears to be largely based on what she aims to do in the near future. That’s true. She’s a convenient liberal poster-girl, but we’ve yet to see her take all that much concrete action.

Her commitment to an anti-racism mechanism is commendable, but as to the rest... Yes, complex hot topics like the legalisation of both cannabis and prostitution require equally complex (and nuanced) solutions. Sloganeering by itself clearly won’t do.

Could it be a vestige of Joseph Muscat’s ‘staccato’ approach to appeasing the various bits of the ideological jigsaw puzzle that makes up Maltese society? Yes, it could be that the new administration is looking to do with cannabis and prostitution legalisation what Joseph Muscat did with the (admittedly admirable and long-overdue) progress on the civil rights front.

The problem with pre-installed moral crusaders is that they come with a certain in-built expectation of purity. Yes, and allegedly acting as a go-between in a shady property transfer for a business magnate who was already implicated in the 17 Black scandal at the time - never mind that he would also infamously be tied to the Daphne Caruana Galiza murder some time later - does not quite meet the requirements of that admittedly high standard.

In fact, the matter is all up to the Standards Commissioner now, isn’t it? Arguably the busiest man in Malta.

Perhaps spreading out the liberal agenda across several MPs - Junior or otherwise - would have been a better way to go? It would certainly have limited the blast radius when the inevitable bombshell revelations started to rise to the fore.

Do say: “Innocent before proven guilty is all well and good, but we can no longer hide from the uncomfortable reality that is emerging more clearly with each passing day: the airtight ties between politics and business on the island can be disastrous, never mind that disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat harped on about the inevitability of their enduring partnership.”

Don’t say: “Owning a house in Mdina is a romantic dream for most of us. Could this whole affair have revealed Yorgen Fenech’s warm mushy heart by accident?”