Sunday, January 03, 2016

The Normality Of A City's Name

Is the administration in Palma totally bats? Collectively, they have been intimating that they are, as with the ludicrous terraces' referendum, so when they come along with something sensible and worthy, i.e. the greening of parts of the city, they immediately undo this by dragging up the city's name thing once more.

For those of you with reasonable memories, you will recall that we went through all this palaver with Matty Isern's mob. It decided to officially make the capital Palma de Mallorca, a reason for this being that it helps to distinguish the name from other places that can be easily confused with it: La Palma, Las Palmas, Parma. The adding of "de Mallorca" may not have done the trick with Google and other search engines, but the thinking was perfectly reasonable. Moreover, Palma de Mallorca is used by airlines and others in order to make the distinction.

The problem is, however, not a practical one: that would be far too simple. Palma, minus "de Mallorca", will see a reversion to name-place normality. Or so says the councillor for ecology, agriculture and animal welfare, who appears to be the one behind this reclaiming of normality. What, pray, does it have to do with her anyway? There's nothing about toponymy among her various responsibilities.

The normality, such as it is possible for this to exist in Palma political land, lies with the arguments of the "no to the de Mallorca" camp last time round. Adding "de Mallorca" was too foreign. Yes, seriously, this was an argument. Palma de Mallorca is how Palma is known abroad, it was said. Personally, I have never heard a foreigner ever refer to anything other than just Palma.

There was also the fact that Isern's lot had objected to the previous government of the left shortening the name without, apparently, having gone through the correct procedures - whatever they are. So, the city's name is firmly an issue of left and right. For the left, there is no "de Mallorca". For the right, there is. So there you have it. Normality.

Whether with or without its "of Mallorca" suffix, the city has an image problem. There we were, thinking that Palma (de Mallorca) is in fashion, and Duran Duran, the PP spokesperson at the town hall, goes and insists that it is not fashionable for the streets of the city to be piled high with discarded washing-machines and dirty old mattresses. For the president of the services agency, the very same councillor for ecology, etc., such a state of affairs is doubtless one of normality.

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