Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quackers In Can Picafort

It is the fate of certain places that they get lumped in with larger ones nearby or are thought to be a part of these neighbours. So it is with Can Picafort. It's part of Alcúdia, isn't it? No, it isn't. It isn't even a direct neighbour. Playa de Muro intervenes. But that's part of Alcúdia, isn't it? Wrong again.

Can Picafort suffers a fate twice over when it comes to what it is a part of. "It's part of Santa Margalida!?" ask some, incredulously, who do nonetheless know that it isn't part of Alcúdia. "Well, I never knew that. I always thought it was its own place."

It's a simple mistake to make, though. Can Picafort. Santa Margalida. Where's the name link? There isn't one. The resort is several kilometres away from the town that owns it: a once wealthy town, birthplace of Franco's banker, Joan March, he of the Banca March. Its one-time affluence was what led a poor boy of the town to up sticks and find some then more or less worthless coastal land on which to build a home. Mr. Picafort. How he would be laughing nowadays.

The reversal in fortunes of town and resort is not dramatic, however. Can Picafort is, with the greatest respect, the poor man of the tourism-centre trinity of the bay of Alcúdia (you can pretty much discard Artà as a fourth member). Santa Margalida, if not a poor man's town by any means, is not wealthy in the way that Alcúdia is.

Arguably, Santa Margalida should be better off than it is, if only because of the sheer volume of hotels in Can Picafort. For reasons that are not entirely clear, the benefits of the resort's tourism have never quite rubbed off on the municipality. It could all simply be down to two quite different cultures that have never found a way to work with each other.

The meeting of these cultures was a feature of the town's mayoral candidate debate. At present, the Partido Popular (PP) holds the whip-hand in the town. It governs in alliance with something called the CPU. Not a computer's central processing unit, but the Can Picafort Unit.

One of the candidates, representing an amalgamation of the PSOE socialists and independents under an umbrella party called Suma pel Canvi, lambasted the CPU. It was responsible for "nonsenses" and "sins of management", said Miguel Cifre. (How many Miguel Cifres are there, do you suppose, in Mallorca? But that's a side issue.)

The PP and CPU are not responsible for all the sins of Can Picafort. One, the quite appalling state of the marina, has required a judge to arbitrate, giving the company which is meant to look after and develop the marina its marching orders. But the marina is symptomatic, despite an upgrading of the resort's promenade, of what is widely felt to be neglect.

The bad blood between opposition and town hall government has never been far from the surface over the past four years. At times, it has come pouring out of the wounds inflicted on the PP, such as when the what is now the Convergència published a news-sheet with a front cover showing mocked-up 500 euro notes with an image of mayor Martí Torres. The squandering of public money was the accusation, which you might think was a bit rich coming from what was then the pre-corruption-charges Unió Mallorquina (UM).

The sheer pettiness of Santa Margalida's politics was no better summed up than by what appeared to be a retaliatory gesture. The CPU's Can Picafort delegate vetoed the handing out of trophies donated by the UM for a football tournament a day after the news-sheet appeared.

Back at the election debate, though, there was one issue which didn't get a proper airing. It should have, because in the bizarre world of local politics, there is little more bizarre than the row that has been going on over Can Picafort and its August duck-throwing fiesta.

Can Picafort may be mistaken for being a part of somewhere else or for being a town in its own right, but its greatest claim to fame is that it's the place where the burning issue is whether live or rubber ducks should be lobbed into the sea. If you think local politics and issues are mad elsewhere, they are positively sensible compared with those of Can Picafort. Absolutely quackers.

Any comments to please.

No comments: