They were all dressed up a bit like Santa, or rather Papa Noel to be accurate in a Spanish way. Not that Castellano was top of the agenda. The philologist was being sworn in. It was thus Pare Nadal in a Catalan style, albeit Pare is generally verboten in traditional terms. The philologist's comrade in Palma, Mayor Noggin, had explained a few days previously that it has always been Els Reis Mags d'Orient at Ca'n Noguera. The Kings have it, which is curious if you happen to be a Republican-leaning pan-Catalanist.
Bel, the philologist now in charge of tourism, was resplendent in red facial furniture for the swearing-in act, which itself was all something of an act. The brothers and sisters of PSOE appeared to have ended up with nothing more than an orange and a lump of coal in their Pare Nadal sacks, while Bel had claimed the PlayStation. They had a right hump.
But there were to later be some smiles and even some laughter, as the PSOE collective remembered that there were lenses being pointed at them. "Molts d'anys. Happy days." Not that they were. Still, for appearance's sake, they had mostly lined up in red in order to complement the Bel goggles. Sweet and friendly Francina, who had not wished Bel to darken her door let alone occupy the seat next to her that was formerly reserved for Biel, sported a vibrant red top affair. Pilar Costa, the government spokesperson, had as good as matched Bel with the red rims. Catalina Cladera (finance), otherwise in mourning black, seemed to have had an accident with a government HQ painter; some red starburst thing had been splashed all down the right of her dress.
Of those who had eschewed red, Martí March (education) spent much of the time staring skyward. Was he looking for Pare Nadal? More likely he was thinking oh no, a Catalan hardliner in the vice-presidency, and one who's a teacher as well: the last thing an education minister needs. Patricia Gómez (health) appeared to have been unfamiliar with the woman taking the vice-presidential vows, such was an expression of fierce disbelief mingled with contempt.
Consensually and with dialogue they will now all march forward. Together but disunited. Francina has come to realise that being president of a progressive pact of consensus and dialogue actually means that others insist on having their way. Podemos had done it with the tourist tax, and Més had now done likewise by depositing Bel in a post for which her only qualification is being a member of Més.
Her predecessor, Biel, told the world last week that he doesn't believe in a technocracy. What he meant was that it doesn't matter if a minister hasn't the first idea, in a technical sense, of a portfolio. There are and will be others who beg to differ; such as PSOE.
It had of course all been sown up on the Saturday before the swearing-in. It was a non-contest. PSOE had sent in a triumvirate to bat on their behalf that comprised Pilar with her red frames, meek and mild Iago from employment, and Mercedes from the Council of Mallorca's land department. They never stood a chance in the Bel or not-Bel negotiations, especially because Lluís Apesteguia (Més, Council of Mallorca councillor) was looming over them like a Magalluf nightclub bouncer or that security chap you always see in photos when Jaume Matas is being hauled in to face another court trial.
Ultimately though, they were all kind of united in a United red. But was it red for danger?