Monday, November 16, 2015

Podemos Versus The Hoteliers

80% of Mallorcans can't be wrong. Or can they be? It was one of those website poll things. Do you agree that Mallorca's hoteliers act against the best interests of the Balearics (or words to that effect)? In fact, it was 84% who agreed when I happened to look at the results a few days ago. The question was posed after Dave Spart (the Podemos leader) accused the lovely Inma Benito of the hoteliers' federation and indeed the entire hotelier class of disloyalty towards the Balearics and called upon the whole of the tourism industry (that which isn't hotelier-based presumably) to "disavow" the hoteliers.

Such strength of support may strike you as surprising. Here, after all, is a sector of the economy without which Mallorca would be an underdeveloped society with its people eking out meagre earnings from the sale of artisan craft pots and cabbages at solidarity markets in the island's pueblos, which most of the inhabitants would have long abandoned in order to seek greater riches in other lands. Talk about ingratitude.

There again, one can perhaps understand the support for the Podemos stance. When "Forbes" releases figures which show that leading hoteliers are down to their last billion or so, despite having moaned for several years about lack of profitability, sympathy is likely to be in short supply. Just as it would be at the news that Riu had hoovered up a couple of islands in the Maldives, only for a state of emergency to be declared. No sense of schadenfreude there, then.

Dave and comrade Podemistas were agitated by two things. One was that Inma had gone to London and openly attacked the government of which Podemos isn't officially a part for its temerity in introducing a tourist tax. The worst that Inma came out with, as far as I'm aware, was that she called the tax "anti-business". But never mind, the Podemistas were gunning for her anyway. The other point had to do with the hoteliers raking in small fortunes, enough to keep them in super yachts and Rolexes, while subjecting a downtrodden workforce to 100 hours or so a week hard labour on temporary contracts in return for a couple of euros in their wage packets (I do exaggerate).

It was this, the working terms and conditions, which, one fancies, is why most of the 84% agreed with Dave. And then, just to reinforce the impression that the hoteliers can't abide the Podemistas (if reinforcement were needed), Inma said that she couldn't meet them for what would doubtless be a mutual slanging-match until the day after the general election. At this point, The Boot Girl (Laura Camargo) entered the fray and accused the hoteliers of hiding and of further disloyalty, adding that if she were the head of the hoteliers' federation, she would "never in her life" go to London and criticise the government's tourist tax. Of course, the chances of Laura actually ever being "in her life" the head of the federation are slightly less than zero. Indeed, why Laura would even contemplate being in charge of the hoteliers, when she appears to prefer that they didn't exist, was a curious remark to say the least.

Meanwhile, and following the signing-up of the former chief of the defence staff to the Podemista election ranks, it emerged that contacts had been ongoing between Dave, Pablo Iglesias and Judge Dredd over the possibility that he, Judge José Castro, would also throw his hat into the Podemos election ring. Dave was positively gushing in his praise for the man who has pursued Matas, Urdangarin and others with such vigour and rigour. "A symbolic reference for anti-corruption and democratic regeneration," said Dave. Apparently, Pablo had been on the blower to the judge to once more sound him out about becoming a Podemista. And the judge responded that he was flattered to have been considered but he still had a day job - persecuting the corrupt - for another two years as he had been allowed to delay his retirement.

All good publicity for Podemos no doubt, but potentially a tad awkward for the judge. Defence counsels might even now be considering political neutrality, as Iglesias reckons that the judge would have joined up had he retired when he should have, i.e. in time for the general election. Anyway, 80% of Mallorcans, when asked by an online poll, believed that Judge Dredd was right to decline the polite offer. Were the 80% wrong or right? Let's have an online poll.

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