Oranges instead of lemons? Shame! Whatever happened to 40K lumi?

The Skinny | No. 92 – Oranges Are Not The Only Electoral Ploy

Political vitamin C
Political vitamin C

What are we skinning? Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar’s decision to distribute a bag of oranges to residents at an Qormi care home - her electoral constituency.

Why are we skinning it? Well, an MP distributing oranges is always gonna have farcical appeal. But it’s also notable because the usual suspects have chimed in with equal-but-opposite reaction: meeting farce with farcical earnestness.

What are you talking about? Well, Arnold Cassola used it as a springboard to resume his ever-fruitful (geddit?) correspondence with the Standards Commissioner, while Repubblika called for a criminal investigation into the matter.

Oh, gods. Yes, the gods are laughing, and they’re spoiled for choice.

But did Cutajar do anything wrong? She did not do anything wrong per se, but it’s a bit like saying Robert Musumeci will not be ‘doing anything wrong’ by extending his property into ODZ.

Meaning? It’s all technically within the bounds of the law, but it flags potential social and ethical nastiness along the way.

But isn’t that precisely why you should call the Standards Commissioner in? Yes, but the Standards Commissioner investigating a gift of oranges will never be not-funny.

What did Cutajar have to say against the backlash? She defended the move on the grounds that the gift was merely meant to be seen as a sweet gesture towards the elderly community of her hometown. A sentiment that was reflected in an official statement by the eldery home in question too, to be fair.

Is that all she said? Well, not quite. She also added that those criticising her are spreading “jealousy and gloom” while she spreads “love”.

We could all be misinterpreting her. Yes, maybe the oranges are a complex coded message, like flowers sent in Victorian times.

We will never know. If you know, you know.

Let’s face it, Cutajar is no stranger to entangled subterfuge. Her resignation-inducing links to Yorgen Fenech may indeed hint to as much.

Allegedly. Allegedly.

Do say: “While it seems cruel to demonise someone - anyone - for distributing gifts to the elderly, neither can we deny the unfortunate optics implied in the act of MPs giving out goodies to constituents. Not least when it comes from someone undergoing their own spot of patchy history like Rosianne Cutajar.”

Don’t say: “Rosianne Cutajar has made a tactical error of the gravest kind - one that brings abject shame on the Labour Party. What was she thinking in sending over oranges instead of lemons? Whatever happened to 40K lumi?!”