Every week Frank Leavers our man with the dirty Mac and half empty glass of inexpensive vino is looking at what lies just below the sophisticated gloss of island life. Come on folks; tell our Frank what’s really happening in Majorca.
Very recently there has been a number of stories running in the British press that has focussed upon how organised fly-tipping and the dumping of building and industrial rubbish/waste has become a real headache for local authorities and some local landowners. Indeed, it is being reported that organised criminal gangs have become involved in the practice. I don’t claim that such practices are common on this island, but it would a wise move to keep an eye on the situation here in Majorca. How many green wheelie bins do we pass on our travels that have been completely taken over by industrial or building waste material of some description?
Like most folk who live on this island I am very proud of the fact that the spectacularly beautiful Tramuntana Mountain range, that runs the length of the western side of Majorca is a ‘World Heritage Site’ and has been for some years now. So, perhaps someone might help me in explaining - how can it be that in many areas amongst all this natural beauty, hectare after hectare has seemingly be set-aside for people to dump old motor cars, dispose of building rubble and any other load of rubbish that clearly somebody doesn’t want to pay to be discarded properly?
If I have given you the impression that this is a very rare and regrettable, case of dumping the odd stained mattress roadside, I apologise, it’s not like that at all; this is far more organised. I’m told, that all you have to do, even in a World Heritage Site, is to rent a ‘parcel’ of land from a local farmer or landowner and you can basically dump whatever you like on that land as long as it is not ‘toxic waste.’
So then, surely on a World Heritage Site this can’t be possible can it? Or perhaps it isn’t allowed but nobody can be bothered to police this sort of blatant, waste-dumping, because of that age-old Majorcan weakness regarding being bothered to properly police anything, even the beauty of its own precious land. I think we need to be told don’t you? If like many people, you have drawn a blank protesting to your local council, why not write directly to UNESCO World Heritage in Paris, the people who run and part finance these projects? You never know, they just might put a rocket under complacent and occasionally conniving local councils.
‘ELECTRIC PLANKS’ AND THE LAW!
From a very big Balearic subject to one of only marginal interest to many people. I know that Palma has its problems with so-called powered ‘scooters’ haring around the city, but I’ve noticed that the practice has arrived out in the ‘sticks’ - as in, around and about my village and beyond. Recently, as I drive around my corner of the island, I’ve noticed youngsters (mainly boys in their early to middle teens) whizzing alongside motorised traffic in towns and villages. I know that it’s in the very nature of being a young lad that you are tempted by this sort of thing, but - blimey, it ain’t half dangerous!
Just yesterday, as I squeezed my car through the streets of Andtratx town, always on the lookout for a parking space where my wing mirrors might remain intact, I spied three boys in a scooter race whizzing around - in and out of traffic, without a care in the world. Before you think me to be a complete miserable old so-and-so, I recently witnessed a car colliding with one of these contraptions and the boy involved appeared to have broken his arm.
So then, what are the rules of engagement for these electric scooters? Don’t be silly - there aren’t any. So any accident or damage caused in a collision will not attract any insurance payout no matter what - so why are these ‘electric planks’ allowed to freely circumnavigate our outlying towns and villages with not a care in the world. Hey, as usual - just asking!
IT’S CALLED THE ‘PAYROLL VOTE’!
In his viewpoint column on Sunday, the Bulletin’s Deputy Editor, Humphrey Carter, wrote a fascinating piece pointing out to readers that the Balearic authorities employ more civil servants than Scotland. Naturally enough, Humphrey compared the physical size of Scotland as compared to our glorious Mediterranean archipelago - okay we are not strictly an archipelago - but no need to spoil a good story! Anyway, the Balearic boasts a population of around 1.1million souls, Scotland on the other hand has a population, measured at the last census - of 5.43million, that’s approximately 3.5 times larger than our own.
However, we boast a total of 56,236 civil servants (paid via the public purse) whilst poor old Jockland can barely muster 43,903 pen-pushers. How so? Well, if you happened to be a complete cynic, you might take the view that all administrations will always seek to boost its ‘payroll vote’ by employing lots and lots of workers employed by government at all levels, because they might well be rewarded at the next local, regional or national elections. Some say that it is the left who always do this - but, the evidence points to all shades of politics like to play this particular card on occasions.
The worst abuses of this type of gerrymandering have in the past taken place in Greece, where during the financial meltdown of a few years ago, were still recruiting civil servants to non-jobs as their economy went to hell in a handcart. No wonder our German friends refused to pick up the tab on that occasion and were roundly abused by the Greeks and others for their alleged parsimony. Yes, an extreme example - but, always beware of a bloated civil service.
CRICKET, LOVELY CRICKET!
I drove over to Cala Millor with a friend last Friday to do a bit of a reconnoitre of the area and sports complex where this years much anticipated Balearic Cup, will be held on the 8th - 9th and 10th May, where cricketers from Ibiza and Minorca, as well as Mallorca Cricket Club will contest this unique trophy. I have to say that I was really pleased by the standard of the ground that the cricket club committee had managed to secure and was shown around one of the fine hotels that was to be used by both players from all teams and their supporters come the second weekend in May.
It was a glorious sunny day and it seemed to me that Cala Millor was emerging from its winter slumbers with a surprising number of winter tourists in situ. As promised, over the next month or so, I will flag-up ongoing stories regarding what will be happening on the weekend of the Balearic Cup - and outline were to go and who to talk to if you should wish to go along to any of the games. Watch this space!