Sunday, June 04, 2017

Montse On A Sofa

Bear with me a moment, I have a story from university days. It concerns a friend who spent a good part of an entire academic year living in an office. This was the college junior common room's office (JCR, for those of you unfamiliar with such things, being the student organisation). The office was nicknamed the Witch office, after the college student magazine that ultimately folded under the weight of potential libel and obscenity charges.

When one says that this friend lived in the office, he only slept there. Facilities, such as showers, kitchen, what have you, were readily available in friends' halls of residence corridors; mine, normally. There was rarely any issue with his using the office. Security, such as it was, fell to the college porters, who would not make a habit of entering the office. Until Old Frank did. He was a dear chap with a Blackburn accent, of whom the student body was very fond, unlike another of the porters - Young Frank (though young was relative). Old Frank once stumbled into the office and very swiftly stumbled out again. He was later to be found wandering along corridors, muttering to anyone who came in earshot: " 'Ave you 'eard abaht shaggin' in t'Witch office?" By which time, we most certainly had.

The reason for the friend utilising the office was pretty simple. Money. Despite being on a full grant (there were such things then), there were greater priorities to living than paying for books or, more importantly, rent.

This anecdote serves as an introduction to what has been occurring in the Balearic parliament. The Old Franks of parliament security were alerted recently to noises on the third floor of the building. This was in the early hours of the morning. They considered calling the police but decided to investigate for themselves. The room on the third floor is the one available as a rest area for parliamentary deputies. It has, among other things, showers, a telly and sofas. The Old Franks entered and who should they find but Montse Seijas. One should point out that noises were not of the Witch office nature. Montse was there on her own, bedded down on a sofa. But naturally enough the Old Franks sought out Balti the next day. " 'Ave you 'eard abaht Montse in t' office?"

The president of parliament, the equivalent of a college bursar, thus informed the Old Franks that after eleven at night there can be no one in the parliament's offices. And there most certainly cannot be anyone sleeping in them. Called to explain herself, Montse said that she often worked late and had availed herself of parliament accommodation on four or five occasions.

Now, the thing with Montse is that is she's from Minorca (actually, she's from Galicia, but that's another matter). She was a Podemos deputy for Minorca before Podemos threw her out of the party. The Minorca connection entitles her to a 90 euros a night allowance. Given this, some people put two and two together. Or thought they did. Montse has flatly denied trousering the 90 euros and sleeping in parliament for free. She couldn't, she said, keep on imposing herself on friends, she doesn't have a car and she had been unable to find a hotel. "It's very difficult to find one in the centre of Palma," she complained.

And let's be honest, she has a point. A report last week suggesting that one can hand over up to 500 euros a night for a Palma hotel room makes the 90 euros allowance seem distinctly miserly. What could one get for 90 euros anyway? It occurs to me that she might have booked something through Airbnb, but as a good Podemos deputy, or rather ex-Podemos, that would never do (unless you're Alberto Jarabo).

Balti's command was followed to the letter. The Old Franks came across Montse on another occasion. It was half eleven. You'll have to leave, they told her. Where did she go? She hasn't said. But it could be that she was forced to blow the equivalent of several nights' allowance on one night in a Palma boutique hotel. Wherever it was she went, she has had harsh words for her one-time comrade in Podemos, Balti. His decision to ensure that she is removed from the premises by eleven o'clock is all down to an obsession that Balti and Podemos have with her.

Oh well, it was good while it lasted, one supposes. And at least Montse had a sofa. The friend at university made do with the floor.

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