Friday, October 23, 2015

The Toy Soldiers Of Manacor

Marta Marrero, better known as Martika, was responsible for a rather good pop song a generation ago. The lyric went: "It wasn't my intention to mislead you. It never should have been this way. It's true, I did extend the invitation. I never knew how long you'd stay". For reasons of inexplicable association, her "Toy Soldiers" came to mind when learning about matters in Manacor. It just popped into my head, as these things do. Maybe it was something to do with the lyric later in the song lurking in the subconscious: "all fall down like toy soldiers".

They're falling down in Manacor: the town hall administration that is. Have they misled anyone? Not necessarily once in office, but perhaps the misleading came when they said they could form a pact and work together. Marching into the new age of politics came the combined might (or not) of Més, PSOE and Volem (inspired by the spirit of Podemos, meaning that they are Podemos with a different name). The toy soldiers of Manacor won the battle and reversed years of right-leaning domination, but they have discovered that the war is not over. There is to be a vote of censure (no confidence, in effect), and the mayor and his friends will be removed. The right - the PP, El Pi and the AIPC independents of Porto Cristo - are having their revenge. The invitation isn't to be extended. It might have been expected that they would have stayed for longer than four months or so. It shouldn't be this way, but it is.

And it's a shame in a way. I had Manacor's administration marked down as one to watch because it appeared to be ever so slightly bats. This was the one that made such an enormous ballyhoo over the virgin coves of the municipality that rather than deterring beachgoers heading to Cala Varques and spoiling it, ever more came, and did so in their droves. It should have been obvious, but wasn't.

Still, you can't blame them for trying to keep beaches nice and clean or at least herding the municipality's tourists onto beaches where the cleaning equipment can gain better access: it's Calas de Mallorca for you, friendly tourist, and not the rustic charm of Cala Varques.

The beach thing is not what is making the toy soldiers fall down: nor really is a programme of righteousness and self-righteousness from the manual of consensual togetherness of Més, PSOE and Podemos. It's because they have failed to get to grips with the urban plan for the municipality and present the initial draft. Does this sound like a reason for no confidence? Maybe not, but the opposition clearly believe that it is, and the toy soldiers, ruling in minority, are finding themselves outgunned: the opposition have already divvied up the posts without even having passed the motion.

If it seems as though being slow with the urban plan is not grounds for giving them the sack, this may be because the urban plan sounds like an incredibly dull subject. It is. Just as it is also important and complicated. And herein may be a reason for the toy soldiers being knocked over. Do they understand the plan? You couldn't really blame them for not, as very few do understand them.

But it's all well and good the toy soldiers marching towards a political new age, throwing social largesse around and attempting to keep tourists away from virgin beaches; they have to do so with a pretty firm appreciation of the tedious, complex stuff of public administration. Sure, there are those who can and do advise, but how many of the newcomers to public office have a real grounding in such matters? Some will, even if they have not held office before. One thinks of Miquel March in Pollensa, mayor of another minority administration of the left. As the former main man (person) of the environmentalists GOB, you can be assured that he knows all these plans off by heart.

Even if they do understand them, is Manacor in fact the manifestation of what was feared? The instability of pacts formed from leftist groupings and their potential for fracture and rupture that leads to their inevitable downfall? It doesn't have to follow that this should or will be so. There are minority administrations of the right as well as the left, and Pollensa was a right-leaning minority before a left one got in. Somehow it managed to survive a whole term, and March's administration may well do so too. But lest it be forgotten, the regional government operates in minority. Podemos support PSOE and Més, but the support can be withdrawn and has been on two occasions now. 

The toy soldiers are falling down, but there's a sour taste. Is this just vengefulness by the opposition? And what might they actually do with or want from the urban plan?

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