Monday, March 25, 2013

With Enemies Like These: The PP

The results of an opinion poll conducted on behalf of "Ultima Hora" should make the ruling administration at Palma town hall feel queasy. The Partido Popular-dominated council would lose its overall majority. Mid-term blues, ongoing economic crisis and all that, but when the opposition has proved to be as ineffective as it has been, there is more to the fall in popularity than just the inevitable consequences of austerity. The PP in Palma, as with the PP generally, is losing its way because people don't like it, and they don't like it because too many of its leading lights have been doing their level best to make enemies and to come across as aloof and wholly unsympathetic to the plights of citizens and businesses.

Remarkably, given her fall from grace at the last elections and her role in the debacle that has been the redevelopment of Playa de Palma, PSOE's Aina Calvo may find herself holding the mayoral wand again in two years time. How on earth could this happen? Only because the PP has been making such a hash of things and alienating anyone it can, with one notable exception.

Palma being Palma and so therefore more cosmopolitan than much of Mallorca might prove to be as good as it gets for the PP next time round. Out in the sticks there is generally greater support for old-style PP politics; a more inclusive style that is now the domain of other parties. This isn't only the case in the centre of anti-PP stroppiness, Manacor; it exists elsewhere, such as in another of the larger towns, Inca. In two years time, Mallorca will probably revert to where it was in 2007: to a coalition of PSOE and some others. And PSOE wouldn't be able to believe its luck, given that it has been as hopeless as it has been for the past two years (and before).

The Balearic Government's cuts in the public sector have done it only so much harm. It had to adopt certain drastic measures; most people would accept that it needed to. But it is now making enemies among its natural constituents in business. For all that Matas may have been less than above board or that Cañellas was forced to resign, previous PP presidents have been firm friends of business. True, they were not faced with current circumstances, but would they have put the business noses out of joint in the way that Bauzá has? A coalition of companies affected by the government's so-called green taxes is distinctly miffed with Bauzá.

Or is it Bauzá? Because this is another issue. The president passes the buck to his vice-president for finance and business, José Aguilo, he who manages to make even Bauzá appear a sympathetic character and who comes out with the rot that he does (higher taxes are good for the economy etc.). Perhaps Bauzá has seen the writing on the wall, if not in two years time then at some point between now and when the High Court considers the conflict of interest posed by his business affairs. He's a dead man walking and has abrogated leadership.

Things might be better for Bauzá were he surrounded by cabinet colleagues who commanded a great deal of respect, but he isn't. Unfortunate he was to lose two health ministers, but this was no reason to appoint the office junior. Carlos stumbles from one embarrassment to the next and could find himself tuned off by the Radio Gaga in Calvià. Rafael Bosch, the hapless education minister and government spokesperson, is put up to defend the indefensible ("error or omission", my arse). Only Biel Company, the chap in charge of the environment-agriculture-transport mega-ministry, can hold his head up high, and this may owe something to the fact that he isn't really a politician, as he was brought into the government as an independent from business.

The government's only enduring mates are those in the hotel sector, but its kowtowing to the hoteliers was what first alerted much of the rest of business to discriminatory treatment. The green taxes have simply confirmed what the rest of business suspected.

Bauzá, or rather Aguiló, may argue that their hands are tied because of Madrid's demands. But they fail to explain themselves convincingly or with any sense of a common touch, and Bauzá has previously more or less admitted as much. As it heads towards the halfway point in its administration, the government faces a growth in the ranks of opponents across the battle line. Defeat beckons.

Any comments to please.

No comments: