The tractor boys were on the march yesterday. No, make that on a roll, crawling along the main Palma road from the Can Segue bar into Alcúdia for a spot of protesting - this time against the proposed siting of the train route. Ho hum, another day, another voice raised in opposition to something. Unlike public displays of unease at societal malaises, such as violence, those for or normally against developments get a tad wearisome. But then, there would have been a time when such gatherings would have been cracked down on, so maybe one shouldn't complain. The question is, though, will this damn train extension ever get built. And where?
The tractor protesters are not against the train as such; just that they want it sited to the south and not along the so-called northern corridor, which is the government's favoured option. However, there is an unmistakable tendency to want to put a halt to much that is new. It stands alongside that other tendency - Mallorca for the Mallorcans, and we can do without tourists, thanks very much. It was put to me the other day that, among some elements of the teens, twentysomethings and indeed oldersomethings, there is a discernible mass of opinion that there can be some sort of back to the future with everyone speaking Catalan and nary a tourist to be seen. It is hardly a unique phenomenon, be it in Mallorca or many other places. It may be purely idealistic and not pragmatic, but idealism rarely wins the argument. The cynical view is that this generation, comfortable as a consequence of the moolah that its parents and grandparents have derived from tourism, can call for some advancement of local nationalism and a return to the fields without having any sense of the practicalities or wisdom of doing so. Does this generation know how to sow potatoes? No, but it can find out, it replies, and then it discovers that the weather turns nasty and prevents crops from being sown, which is what happened during the soggy winter. Subsistence can become a struggle.
There is and always will be tensions between the needs of commerce, for which read tourism, and the desire for local expression and a prioritisation of localism over internationalism. One could, I suppose, perceive the Catalan debate and the global economic crisis as being a part of the philosophy that underpins such a desire. It is not wrong, but its consequences might, probably would, be far from what the idealistic tendency would wish for itself.
Yesterday's title - Rolling Stones (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_O_wRuxu14). Today's title - which football team is known by this name?
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