Friday, September 30, 2016

Confidence Lost

Confidence. A virtue that one has and a virtue that others bestow upon one. Or remove. There has been much confidence removed and lost over the past days. Sam Allardyce, confidence lost in a man over-confident of his position. Pedro Sánchez, PSOE's general secretary, fighting for his political future, as confidence in him drains away along with many of the national executive who have resigned. The Balearic government, the confidence in which is a constant state of flux largely dependent on external influences, such as the manoeuvres by and against Sánchez. Lluís Segura, the chief attorney representing the Balearic government; Caterina Amengual, the same government's director for biodiversity and natural spaces.

Confidence in Big Sam had to be seen to be lost. In times such as these, of transparency and accountability (we are led to believe), it was necessary for him to be sacrificed by a pious English FA, the champions of institutional fair play and nothing else. Sánchez may learn his fate this weekend. He has appealed to the "militancy" in taking on the "barons", who would prefer that he didn't break bread with Podemos but instead fail to say either yes or no - to abstain and allow Mariano Rajoy's continuance. Confidence is arguably ebbing from both camps: a party, PSOE, in disarray, its one-time confidence, hewn from a total of more than twenty years of democratic government, a fading memory.

The Balearic government has a crisis of confidence. Its leading figures make confident statements yet are prone to vacillation. The public is not confident in knowing who genuinely governs or what is being governed. A victim of an unconfident, enfeebled PSOE that cast around for lifelines, it is being strangled by these very ropes.

Segura and Amengual are minor characters in this drama. They are ones of whom the public would have known little and in whom the public would have had little interest. Thrown into the limelight these past days, they are now known and they are now no more. Both represent sides of the opaque coin of transparency and accountability. The virtuous state of this T and A should supposedly rise above all else in this era of so-called government of change. But it does not.

Lluís Segura, a legal man rather than politician, fell foul of politics. He made the wrong political decision. To drop a case for money laundering against the arch enemy of governmental T and A, the endlessly corrupt Jaume Matas, was a sin. Confidence lost, stripped away, sacked. Podemos want to call him to account, to appear before their baying ranks in parliament and explain this sin. His protectors in PSOE, for whom it was expedient that confidence in him should be seen to have been lost, say that if one civil servant is forced to appear before parliament, then where will it end.

Maybe so or maybe Segura might say something that PSOE find uncomfortable. His Attorney's Office is in direct line of charge by the ministry for the presidency and therefore the relevant minister, Pilar Costa (also government spokesperson), and the president herself. They insist they knew nothing of Segura's decision. If they did not, then he had acted with over-confidence. He was, like Big Sam, either naive or just stupid. Let Matas off the hook in the current atmosphere, and the wolf pack would gather. It did, and he has been eaten.

It is, though, reasonable to require an explanation. There may well have been very good reasons for the decision. These, however, are abandoned in the skirmishing that undermines this government. Podemos and Més insist, PSOE must accede. Confidence lost. Or confidence, hopefully, semi-retained.

Then there is Amengual. Her political master was the environment minister, Vicenç Vidal, a man from Més. She was sacked because there was the need for a new direction, for someone more technical and communicative. She had done well, said Vidal, but the message was loss of confidence. She can't have been doing well, if confidence had been lost. The message was thus mixed. Why had she really been sacked?

Despite the claims of T and A - transparency and accountability - there is mystery that obscures the function and purpose of senior officials like Segura and Amengual. How they come to be appointed in the first place. Who is doing the appointing. What they are doing. Some of these officials come and go. The tourism ministry lost a director of the tourism agency - "personal reasons" that were supposedly a better job - who was replaced by a friend but also one-time sparring partner of Biel Barceló. There was and is the director of the health service, famously the husband of the health minister. Podemos have never forgotten that.

Greater transparency, as Podemos have urged, is needed for appointments, but it is also needed in explaining why confidence is lost and why someone else is then appointed.

Index for September 2016

Anarchists and tourism - 19 September 2016
Architectural harmony - 9 September 2016
Balearic community - 22 September 2016
Balearic government condition - 23 September 2016, 25 September 2016
Balearic government logo - 14 September 2016
Cabrera organisation and management - 13 September 2016
Cala Millor - 26 September 2016
Confidence in government - 30 September 2016
Cultural tourism - 17 September 2016
Formentor Conversations - 15 September 2016
Francina Armengol and attic - 6 September 2016
Holiday rentals legislation - 3 September 2016
Inca tourism - 2 September 2016
Ironman, Alcudia - 24 September 2016
Jaume Matas and Son Espases Hospital - 16 September 2016
La Beata and pot-smashing - 4 September 2016
Mallorca Day - 11 September 2016
Mallorca's Roman occupation - 18 September 2016
Podemos and tourism - 1 September 2016
Posidonia and recreational yachts - 7 September 2016
PSOE and national government - 27 September 2016
Rajoy investiture debates - 5 September 2016
Real Mallorca / tourist saturation - 12 September 2016
Sustainable tourism - 28 September 2016
Tourist places limits - 10 September 2016, 20 September 2016, 21 September 2016
Tourist prizes - 28 September 2016
Virtual tourism - 8 September 2016

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