Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Spice Girls Take Over Podemos

The sisterhood is rising up within Podemos. I'd like to be able to truly align them with The Spice Girls, but once one gets beyond Scary Spice (Palma's Aurora Jhardi), the comparisons do rather dry up. Not that there isn't Girl Power, just that, in all honesty, who could be Baby? Posh? Most definitely not. Likewise, the leader wouldn't qualify as Ginger. Laura Camargo, the Boot Girl (or Boot Spice, if you prefer), is someone David Lynch could have imagined for Twin Peaks: a Nadine Hurley with specs rather than a patch, possessed of superhuman strength and some disturbing secrets hidden beneath the patio.

Laura, it would seem, is about to strike a blow against the brotherhood. And there is no brother more eminent in the Balearics Podemos than Alberto Jarabo. The current general secretary, Alberto is about to feel the full force of the unleashed sisterhood combined with the support of brothers as well. Basically, he's on his way out, and Laura will ascend to the Podemos throne (metaphorically speaking, because there are no thrones in Podemos-land).

This in part is all the fault of His Royal (sic) Podemos-ness, Pablo Iglesias. He apparently took all good Balearic Podemosites by surprise when he said on telly that there would be primaries for the Balearic leadership next month. This had been planned for later in the year under the terms of whatever citizens' council had determined it thus (and there are any number of such councils inhabiting the Podemos sphere).

It was then thought that this wasn't such a surprise after all, as an early vote would leave the way open for Alberto to be re-elected. Laura wouldn't have time to gather her troops and would in any event prefer to show unified solidarity with Alberto. In other words, it had been a manipulation by Pablo to ensure Alberto could continue rather than allowing Laura to take over. And why would he want this? Well, that's because Laura represents the loony anti-capitalist faction, which received something of a trouncing when Podemos Central were having their run-off to decide the leadership, which Iglesias won convincingly.

Initially, it looked as if Alberto and Pablo would get their wish. Then Laura (or someone on behalf of Laura) dropped hints that she would have a crack at becoming gen-sec. Alberto intimated that, in the cause of unity and solidarity (etc.), he might step aside, before making it clear that he wouldn't be. Meanwhile, the Spice Girls had rallied round Laura.

Their number has dwindled markedly in parliament ever since Xelo and Montse were exiled to the Valley of the Fallen behind the PP and forced to become part of the shapeless Mixed Group. Not, it has to be said, that Xelo and Montse would qualify Spice-wise; they're more on the Susan Boyle popular spectrum. But they are out in force elsewhere, such as in Palma with Scary Spice and the endearingly bonkers Eva Frade. Scary said that it would be very positive to have a feminist activist as gen-sec. Eva declared that Laura has thus far provided a "master class on how to conduct new politics", while Sandra Espeja (who conserves the environment on behalf of the Council of Mallorca) believed that Laura's elevation would "feminise" the party. (She, Sandra, might just pass as Sporty, by the way.)

Feminists among the brotherhood then also pitched in on Laura's side. The latest is that there is a "manifesto" under the hashtag of "unity has the name of woman" which has been signed by some one hundred Podemos sorts, numbered among them being Balti, who hadn't previously seemed to wish to take sides. Now faced with all this demand for unity in the name of Laura, Alberto really hasn't gone anywhere to go. Other than out. If he doesn't go, it's impossible to see how he could command the Podemos ranks in parliament, given that all Podemos deputies are backing Laura.

It isn't simply a desire for a woman to be in charge that is behind all this. Laura, it is generally accepted, is more adept than Alberto. Moreover, Alberto, it has been said, hasn't fully got it with the consultative style of Podemos, while there is a perception that he is too easily persuaded to fall in line with PSOE and Més. Laura is less likely to be, which could make life uncomfortable for the matronly Francina Armengol.

Anyway, while all this was going on, the news emerged of a gaff in Son Serra de Marina that Alberto had sublet. More than just sublet, he had apparently been offering it via websites specialising in holiday rentals. He was doing what!? Adding to tourist saturation? A statement subsequently explained that this was all above board, the owner had given permission and Alberto had declared it.

Was news of this subletting just a coincidence? Who can say, other than "I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want ...".

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