The week before last a delegation set sail for the Eternal City. Its mission was to seek out new saints (one in particular) and to seemingly go where no eco-nationalist, anti-capitalist politician would normally boldly go. Mick of the Council and XeLo of Parliament were members of this delegation, their three-day mission to have an audience with the Pope and press the claims of Ramon Llull for sainthood.
The claims-pressing, one fancies, was handled more by Sebastia Taltavull, who is sort of the Bishop of Mallorca, as in he appears to be in temporary charge of the bishopric since the naughty bishop was given the heave-ho. But for appearances' sake, the presence of senior political figures was required, even if they are not of the variety normally associated with matters of strict Catholicism.
The mission over and the delegation was waved off back to Mallorca minus one member. XeLo had gone AWOL. Rather than returning to the Podemos Republic of Mallorca, XeLo stayed on in Rome, bustling through the streets of the Eternal City, credit card at the ready to splash out on Armani or the latest JLo collection. XeLo was on holiday, and she wouldn't be returning for the National Day celebrations, which, rather like church matters, do not loom high on the list of priorities of good Podemos citizens. Moreover, she skipped Tuesday's parliamentary session. The president (speaker) of the house was nowhere to be seen. She was still in Rome.
Questions were duly asked. Not directly to XeLo in parliament because she wasn't there. But no sooner had she landed in Palma, and had to fight her way through the millions of Germans who had invaded the island and saturated it once more, than the questions were being put. Why were you on holiday? Who paid for it?
In fact, XeLo had saved the citizens some money, as she had paid for the return flight. The citizens were doubtless immensely grateful, those who could be bothered to pay any attention to the row. As for having a holiday, well, she hadn't had the time in summer, it seemed. Which is all somewhat strange. Parliament, like schools, breaks up in mid-June and doesn't gather again until mid-September. Yes, there is the odd extraordinary session (extraordinary that the 59 deputies are doing anything), but the official XeLo agenda during summer suggested that there were more than 60 days when she could put her feet up.
Then there was the question about the Ethical Code, the part of it which deals with turning official trips into private holidays. Because XeLo isn't a member of the government, this doesn't actually apply to her, but the spirit of the code appeared to have been broken. To XeLo's defence came virtually no one, except for Laura, the Boot Girl. Camargo insisted that the workers' statutes provide for 30 days holidays. XeLo had otherwise only had the odd day off here or there since being elevated to her lofty status.
Was it all a fuss about nothing? Quite probably so. After all, and as a PSOE sort observed, it didn't make any difference to the parliamentary session. There are substitute speakers, unless they are also off on holiday in Rome.