Thursday, December 31, 2015

In Another World: 2016

The Big Trial of the Princess opens in Palma in January. The world's media, having been given accreditation, are, mysteriously, nowhere to be seen. But is it so much of a mystery? Of course not. No one told them there weren't any flights, especially the bloke from BBC Scotland.

In March, King Felipe is forced to call another general election. Two days later, Artur Mas, the president of Catalonia, unilaterally declares independence for the region. As there is no Spanish government to oppose him, Mas makes an offer to the Scottish Parliament to form a breakaway European Union of bolshie, independence-minded regions. The offer is attractive, as it will involve a 50% increase in winter flights, if only to the Costa Brava.

Barcelona Football Club, concerned that it will lose its place in La Liga, makes a proposal to the Balearic government whereby the Camp Nou will be airlifted piece by piece and deposited on land in Palma that is vaguely, possibly, once upon a time a wetland area. The club backs its proposal by pointing out that, unlike the existing main football team in Mallorca, Barcelona is capable of attracting millions of Chinese football-telly-addict tourists who would be instrumental in turning Mallorca into a destination with riches beyond its wildest dreams. Armed with an environmental impact assessment report from an internee at the town hall, the regional government politely declines the Barcelona offer.

It's the first of May, the start of the official tourism season: T-Day. But this year is a different T-Day. Tax-day. The tourist tax is introduced, but all the island's hotels go on strike, refusing to collect the tax, closing their doors and booting out any tourists who had been stupid enough not to have realised that tourism doesn't officially start until 1 May. There is chaos as tourists roam the streets, threatening to invade and occupy the tourism ministry. The army has to be called in. Tourism minister Barceló goes on television to appeal for calm. The hotels re-open, but not before total losses for this short-lived protest are put at 50 million euros, the exact amount the government had anticipated taking in as annual revenue from the tax.

July, and catastrophe strikes. The National Statistics Institute in Madrid blows up, an initial explosion of its main computer having resulted from the sheer volume of inconsequential data it is expected to process and churn out to an expectant media and having caused a chain reaction which sees tourist spending statistical data scattered over a one hundred square kilometre area. Statisticians suggest that there was a 0.01% greater chance of this happening compared with the same month the previous year.

31 August. The transformation into Meliá New Town is complete. The final ever drunken British youth tourist is afforded a local police guard of honour as he staggers along Punta Ballena at six in the morning, his shorts suitably lowered and a tattooed backside warmed by the balmy dawn air. With great ceremony, and accompanied by the Calvia band of bagpipers and whistlers, mayor Rodríguez officially announces that Magalluf has been reclaimed and that the occupation by drunken tourism is at an end. The final tourist, Baz is his name, flings an arm around the mayor and tells him he's his best mate, before, within his drunkenness, beginning to wonder if that curry had been such a good idea on top of the twenty pints of lager and dozen Jägerbombs. The mayor, faced with a hefty laundry bill and several hours under a shower, realised how right the changing face and backside of Magalluf had been.

1 September. Palma's Palacio de Congresos is finally open, there having been another eight months delay. Mayor Hila smiles broadly and announces that the opening has been achieved through consensus and dialogue. Everyone cheers. At 4.54am the following day, a meteorite strikes the building and it is reduced to rubble. The mayor immediately calls for a review of the tendering process for the contract to manage the Palacio, questioning its legality on account of a failure to provide for acts of God.

October. Pablo Iglesias of Podemos scoops 134,560,000 on a Euromillions rollover. He swiftly abandons politics, buys a grand finca in Mallorca and announces that he, and not Richard Branson, will be developing the best five-star eco-resort in Europe, before speeding off in his Porsche and almost ploughing into the hundreds queuing for the local soup kitchen while bemoaning having to give up 20% of his winnings in tax.

With Iglesias out of the way, the King calls the fourth general election of the year. The nation is confident that this time a government will be formed. Its confidence is misplaced. In despair, the King phones Artur Mas and invites him to become prime minister of Spain. Mas agrees, Catalonia reverses its UDI and everyone lived happily ever after. If only.

Index for December 2015

Autogiro flying machine of Llucmajor - 13 December 2015
Brand Mallorca - 29 December 2015
Circus in Mallorca - 6 December 2015
Citizen participation - 23 December 2015
Ciudadanos and general election - 2 December 2015, 15 December 2015
Conservation and tourism - 3 December 2015
Constitution reform - 8 December 2015
Environment and sustainability - 4 December 2015
Imaginary 2016 - 31 December 2015
Immaculate Conception - 10 December 2015
Mariano Rajoy and the punch - 20 December 2015
Nueva Planta 1715 anniversary - 1 December 2015
Oddities of 2015 - 28 December 2015
Pablo Iglesias in Palma - 14 December 2015
Palma terraces referendum - 9 December 2015
Partido Popular and general election - 18 December 2015
Pedro Sánchez and government - 27 December 2015
Podemos and general election - 16 December 2015
Podemos on tourism - 5 December 2015
PSOE and general election - 17 December 2015
Sibil-la - 24 December 2015
Spain's general election - 11 December 2015, 22 December 2015
State investment retrieved for the Balearics - 7 December 2015
Tourism re-development - 19 December 2015
Tourism year in Mallorca - 26 December 2015
Tourist tax - 12 December 2015
Town hall financing - 30 December 2015
Winston Churchill in Mallorca - 21 December 2015

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