Sunday, October 22, 2017

Things Just Got Més-ier: Independence And Tourism

The Banbury Boy, Mick of the Council, has had his say about the slight to-do that has been cracking off in Catalonia. Mick hasn't demanded immediate legal independence, installation as the next member state of the European Union, participation at the next football Euros, and an agreement to devote all the money raised by the Christmas El Gordo lottery to shore up an economy about to do its best to become the new Extremadura (which Catalonia with a bit of help from the Balearics has been keeping afloat for decades). No, none of that (with the possible exception of the first); Mick has instead been concerning himself with the last two presidents of the Balearics.

Frankie Antich and J.R. Bauzá have themselves reasonably remunerated sinecures as members of the Senate. These are courtesy of the Balearic parliament. Whereas the citizens elect five Balearic senators, parliament, through its benevolence, secures former presidents nice little earners in Madrid. In the case of Antich there wasn't much of a fuss about this. With J.R. it was a way of managing to get rid of him. This didn't of course stop J.R. attempting to make a comeback. It was believed that he was exploiting his presence in Madrid to drum up support to march triumphantly into the Balearic PP leadership once more. Which he might have believed, but no one else in the PP in Madrid did.

His one-man PR campaign (PR for himself) is, it seems, more or less all he does in Madrid. While Antich, in between having a heart attack, at least attempts to justify himself by asking questions in the Senate, J.R. remains silent, all the time plotting his next failed comeback. Recently, because he clearly wasn't needed in Madrid, he was seen among the Palma crowds demonstrating their support for Spanish unity. And it is this, rather than any under-performance in a Senate style, which has attracted Mick's interest.

The president of the Council of Mallorca, which is rapidly becoming its own independent state within the loose alliance known as the autonomous community of the Balearics, is insisting that J.R. - and Frankie Antich - vote against Rajoy's Article 155 nuclear option. Both of them owe the fact that they are senators to that parliamentary grace and favouring. And as the Balearic parliament has extended the fraternal hand of support to Carles Puigdemont and his pals, then they should both say "no" to Rajoy and 155.

The chances of J.R. doing this are about as slim as him finally abandoning his ambitions for political renaissance. Antich, cloistered in the Madrid halls of power, has gone native and is tagging along behind Pedro Sánchez in having said he'll say "yes" to 155. It is here where things get a tad awkward. Mick will know full well that J.R. is a hopeless case, but he and Més are determined that Antich remembers that he's from the Balearics, the mini-me homeland of independence (in a Més fashion), and not a political creation of Madrid.

The other Frankie, Armengol, has been hoping to persuade the former Frankie to be as sweet and friendly as she is and bow to the Més command. She has thus been engaged in dialogue with Frankie A Mark I in seeking to arrive at a 155 consensus, one that he clearly doesn't believe in. Will her intervention do the trick for Mick? We will find out, but the whole business has revealed the extent to which Més appear to be labouring under an impression that they are the true power in the Balearic land, when everyone of course knows that it is Podemos.

But Més are discovering that power grab comes at a cost, roughly valued at 80,000 euros in the case of the combined price for two contracts that the not-quite-yet-former director of the Balearic Tourism Agency sanctioned. Pere Muñoz is for some bizarre reason still acting director of the agency, and while he and Mrs. Doubtfire, the one-time minister for opacity, are the convenient fallpersons for the Més contracts mess, it now emerges that payment for at least one contract was allegedly being made even before it was signed.

Biel Barceló, meanwhile, rises above all this fuss and then comes out with the astonishing announcement that the agency is in any event going to be shut down. This is because Mick and the Council are about to take over all the promotion of tourism, i.e. cultural, gastronomic, natural tourism for the millions of tourists planning on coming to Mallorca in the winter.

So Pere would have been out of a job anyway. Can we conclude this? We probably can. Alternatively, he may have been switched to a new post as director for managing the spending of the tourist tax. Biel, in dismantling the agency, has hit upon a fabulous ruse for the use of public money. The agency will be turned into another agency - one to manage tourist tax revenue spending projects.

It will do what? Why in God's name is such an agency needed? Is it not the case that Biel decides how the revenue's going to be spent, then informs the rest of the committee before handing over large sums of tourist tax moolah to Palma town hall for it to get on and carry out the projects? What do you need an agency for? Aren't town halls (and others) competent enough at managing projects?

Erm, yes, maybe there is the need for an agency.

No comments: