Monday, November 13, 2017

Lonely This Christmas Without Catalonia

Álvaro Nadal, the national minister for tourism, energy and the digital agenda, needed to have a good World Travel Market. Here was an opportunity for him to shine in the eyes of any Spaniards who were taking any notice of what was going on in London, which admittedly probably wasn't that many. But the opportunity was presented nonetheless, and Señor Nadal, Mister Christmas, was insisting, among other things, that elections in Catalonia four days before Christmas will help in restoring Catalonia to normality. Most importantly, given that he was at a travel fair, this normality will mean that the streets and hotels of Barcelona are full to overflowing.

Well, he might hope that this is the case, but omens at present don't offer quite the same level of hope. It may well be lonely this Christmas in Catalonia, lonelier still for those who remain incarcerated, and lonely for Mister Christmas if there isn't the hoped-for rebound. You see, Señor Nadal has a slight perception difficulty. One among the citizens. The latest "barometer" of public political opinion placed him rank bottom of all Spain's minister. He had even managed to fall below the chap in charge of the money (and the taxes), Cristóbal Montoro, the Count of the Mount of Gold, for whom last place is normally and deservedly reserved.

What Mister Christmas really needed of course was a pick-me-up in the form of a celebrity rock singer. And where there's a cause, there's normally the frontman for U2. Bono, in all likelihood, will have allied himself with the Pamela Anderson camp in defence of Catalan democracy (what with Ireland and all that), but a bit of a stardust, even of the opposition variety, can work wonders for a minister's ailing approval rating.

So, for a fleeting moment it appeared that Bono, minus The Edge, had cut along to Docklands with the intention of providing the world with his thoughts on the Catalan situation. Unfortunately, the moment was indeed only fleeting. Bono wasn't Bono. He was Octavi Bono, the director-general of tourism in Catalonia and one of the few people in the Catalan administration to not find him or herself in chokey. Things, Bono told Mister Christmas, could have been done better. Which even a member of the Spanish government would surely admit. He, Bono, then went on to hint that information regarding a dramatic fall in visitor numbers was some form of Rajoy government fake news.

Mister Christmas was thus denied the boost to his approval rating, and he wandered off as the muzak at the World Travel Market didn't mangle Elvis but instead trampled all over U2 - "I can't live, with or without you".

Oh Catalonia.

No comments: