Apparently some wag put Belgium up for auction on eBay. Bidding reached 7 million quid before it was withdrawn. I’m not sure if this was because it was overvalued or because it failed to meet the lot price. Either way, a cracking wheeze, and one that reminds me of the story (which I have never known was actually true or not) that some years ago a group of German businessmen offered to buy Mallorca.
Now, you could be forgiven for thinking that this has actually happened, given the ubiquity of Germanic realty operators, but as far as I am aware the island remains part of Spain S.L. But a gripe of Mallorcan politicians over the past few years has been the lack of dosh that Madrid is willing to cough up in order to keep the island in a suitable condition for Germans to come and sun themselves (oh, and Brits and Irish and Swedes etc, even Belgians).
Nevertheless, short of the island actually being bought outright, I feel something of a trick is being missed here. Sponsorship. If it’s good enough for sports grounds, it must be good enough for a whole island. At a stroke, any funding deficiency could be made up through the simple process of rebranding and indeed renaming the place. Air Berlin Mallorca for example, though it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as, say, the Emirates or Reebok Stadium.
And why stop with just the island? Given that the main tour operators are now all under German ownership, there could be Thomson Pollensa, First Choice Alcudia, TUI Can Picafort, Neckermann Cala Ratjada. They could form a football league and play each other - My Travel Cala San Vicente 3, Airtours Cala Bona 0.
Maybe these sponsors could drag in other sectors of German industrial might, Siemens for instance, who could probably put right the mess that is the Palma metro which is to be closed indefinitely owing to the small oversight of the likely ingress of water into something built below ground level when it rains a bit and there, seemingly, not being appropriate measures to prevent it.
Sadly, I fear it won’t happen, if only for parochial reasons. But what would there be to stop Spanish firms? Iberostar Playa de Muro, a distinct possibility, or instead of TUI, Viva Can Picafort. Brilliant. They could even have their own song, taken from ... ah, that’s today’s quiz question. People would flood in.
All these things need is just a bit of imagination ... .
Yesterday - “Hobart Paving” by the wonderful Saint Etienne. Today - well, it’s easy isn’t it? Viva ...?
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