Sunday, August 06, 2017

The High Summer High Jinks Of Cabrera

You know how it is. You're a member of an everyday European royal family and you're swanning around on your modest yacht. You're admiring the turquoise, crystal-clear waters of the marine reserve national park of Cabrera. You look admiringly at the velvety white sands of the small archipelago's beaches. But you know that you can't go and "privatise" these beaches by installing some handsome tents and loungers because some oik from Terraferida will be lurking in the undergrowth with a smartphone.

So, you continue on your untroubled way. What about a picnic on board? A little light lobster washed down with some Moët Chandon, for example? Very agreeable. Your man servant is preparing the dish and chilling the champagne, and then what goes and happens? The Guardia Civil happens, that's what. The force's marine service roars up to your yacht, takes one look and apologises. "Sorry, your Majesty. We mistook you for being Algerian. You haven't by any chance seen any illegals, have you?" "They went that-a-way."

With this, the Guardia takes off in hot pursuit of north Africans in far less modest crafts. Hundreds of them, all milling around Cabrera in the forlorn expectation of hitching a ride to Palma. If you're going to land illegally, Cabrera is really the last place to choose. You might continue on your way to Colonia Sant Jordi on your little boat, but you might be forced to fork out an arm and a leg for the eco-friendly vessel that normally does the crossing. And that'll blow a massive hole in the budget for eventually getting the train, having also taken the ferry, and heading for Marseille (other French destinations are possible).

Following this brief disturbance, you return to your tranquil navigation only to then get a message on your Twitter feed. It's from Vince Vidal, he of the regional environment ministry. To your horror, Vince has issued a decree: "The days of Moët and lobster in Cabrera have passed." Nervously, you look around at other modest yachts and wonder if the Terraferida/GOB oiks have commandeered one of them and are aiming long lenses in search of Moët and lobster evidence.

Once more, though, you are able to relax. Vince is aiming his ban at the Partido Popular. Given his Mésite eco-nationalist credentials, you should of course have realised that it was the PP incurring his wrath. And Vince, let's be clear (one assumes) is not a champagne and lobster man: more frito (an abundance thereof, which should of course be referred to as frit rather than frito) and a crate of Saint Mick.

And what exactly have the PP done to awaken Vince from a hard-earned, high-summer slumber? Well, to be honest, the PP haven't really done anything. But a bloke called Joan Pocoví has. Not being intimate with the minutiae of Mallorcan politics and business, you request your man servant to consult Google. It turns out that this Joan fellow once paid for PP politicos to indulge themselves in Moët and lobster in Cabrera. And one of those politicos is the now leader of the PP in the Balearics, Biel Company, who was Vince's predecessor as environment minister; he held this post when enjoying the bubbly.

Joan and Biel, it would seem, are mates. Joan, moreover, is on the Hacienda's radar in respect of the PP's dodgy, so-called B accounts. Vince has been informed that this Joan sort had apparently co-opted a worker with the environment ministry's Ibanat agency to give him a ride to Cabrera. Which was the sort of thing that Biel had also once done when carrying the cool boxes with the champers and the lobster. Vince was incandescent: "We will take decisive measures: we will start by punishing the worker who messes up the good work of Ibanat."

You, being a liberal type of royal and a generally good egg, think that this sounds a tad over the top. But no, Vince is determined to expunge the memory of the Moët days and insists that he will not tolerate this type of behaviour.

Later on, you learn that Biel believes that there have been half truths. "I am not used to commenting on half truths," he states, despite the photographic evidence of Joan arriving at Cabrera. The PP, you further discover, have gone into full-on social media mode. Their "artillery" is taking aim of Vince, who responds by forgetting his normal Catalan and giving a boost to trilingual teaching. In English, he says: "Keep Calm and Love Your Company."

What can this mean, you wonder, especially as you are pretty handy when it comes to the old Anglo. You're unsure, as is mostly everyone else. And despite Vince's fury and the PP artillery, no one much pays this latest champagne moment a great deal of attention. It is high summer after all. Silly season and all that, as well as being a time to take to the water: royal families, PP benefactors and Algerians. "No, they went that-a-way."

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