Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Governing By Gibberish

One of the very few things to be said in Donald Trump's favour - to be honest I can't put my finger on another one - is that he doesn't mince his words. Yet these words often appear in random and uncoordinated sequence, the rantings of someone so over-impressed with himself that he clearly believes he is above any criticism for sounding as despotic as the likes of the nutter in The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. Trump the hard man speaks it like it is. God, how Putin must be laughing his socks off, and he, unlike Trump, is a genuine hard man who doesn't require similar personality disorder peacocking. Meanwhile, Americans rail against remarks that are beneath the office of a president.

Things really have come to a pretty pass when the president of the world's major power is as imbecilic as Trump. It wouldn't be so bad if his claptrap wasn't as dangerous as it is. There again, and here one might suggest is a favourable point, it is the total counterpoint to vacuous gibberish to which we are normally used. One thing's for sure, you won't ever get Trump wasting entire speeches in saying absolutely nothing while regurgitating mantras about sustainability in every other sentence (such as his sentences are).

Courtesy of Mallorcan politicians, political institutions, organisations and associations for this and that, my every day is spent reeling under a bombardment of sustainability. How often do I think - will you just shut the fuck up about sustainability? Often is the answer.

Let me give you just one recent example. It comes via a circuitous route of reportage from the Council of Mallorca. Apropos the creation, or rather non-creation, of new shopping malls, the Council wishes it to be known that it is pursuing a policy of "sustainable land development that secures the welfare of the people, preserves natural resources and establishes order in the retail sector".

The Council also wants the citizens to appreciate that land use decisions (sustainable ones) in respect of out-of-town developments cannot be made according to economic criteria. This, despite the fact that it also says that it is listening to the demands of the small retailers, those who don't have whacking great warehouse stores on a municipal outskirts' industrial estate. So, the Council is all for sustainability, has no regard for market forces and yet contradicts itself at the same time by acknowledging the small retail market sector. This, however, will be because of the Council's aim for "harmonious development". Well, at least it makes a change to sustainable development.

It really isn't difficult to come across these examples. Perhaps we should play a game, take bets on how often sustainability is referred to on a daily basis. We would have needed to have gone for a high number last week, and that was because of European Mobility Week. Sustainability, in transport terms, had rarely had it so good, and one of the island's key sustainers is Palma's transport councillor, Joan Ferrer. The citizens were able to see what an alternative, sustainable model of urban transport can be because of there having been no cars in the blue zones. Yes, and the citizens could also have seen or have been parked in one of the damn great queues to get into an underground car park. What nonsense he was talking, though this didn't stop both he and mayor Antoni Noguera popping up to say that 1.5 kilometres more of cycle lance were essential for sustainable mobility.

It isn't only politicians who spout this gibberish. Business can do it just as repetitiously and effectively. Take the hoteliers. Always wise to a good marketing ploy, they don't miss a sustainability trick, which is why Monday's official opening of the Palacio was - in Meliá's words - a sustainable event. Trees are to be planted to compensate for the CO2 emissions generated by the opening. What!? Although there are many who are lamenting the going of Inma Benito as the hoteliers president, I can't say that I am. Inma hasn't traded so much in gibberish as gobbledegook: MBA-speak that one (i.e. myself) can go through time and time again and still be none the wiser. And I have an MBA.

The higher up the political food chain one goes, the greater the claptrap and the vacuity gets. We do of course have, in case you have still failed to appreciate the fact, a sustainable tourism tax instead of just a tourist tax. And it'll be sustained for as long as Més and PSOE sustain themselves in government. Indeed, Francina Armengol has mastered the art of being a president by having spent more than two years saying a great deal and at the same time absolutely nothing, unless of course it has been in sustainable terms. 

So, well done, DT. At least we know what you really mean. Well, just about.

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