By Jason Moore YOU can tell times are hard when restaurants start slashing their prices and offering excellent menu-of-the-days for a fraction of their cost. I think you can safely say that these days in Majorca it is cheaper to eat out than at home. Over the weekend I enjoyed an excellent four-course lunch in a fine restaurant for 12 euros. What a bargain. It got me thinking that there is no way that you could prepare a similar meal at home for the same price. Now, I know that it is market forces which have forced restaurant owners to slash their prices but it is good news for all. When I was back in London last month the Association of British Travel Agents said that the island had to be very careful with its prices especially this year with sterling being low against the euro. I think you can safely say that the cost of living has fallen over the last few month and there are bargains around. Majorca is still expensive but the restaurants and bars appear to be getting the message once and for all. It is a shame though that it has taken one of the worst recessions in history to make them rethink their prices. It is a great shame because it is going to take the island a long while to shed its expensive image.

I warned readers of this space before I went away on holiday about the Gas and Electricity Board (GESA) and their price increases. Continue to check your bills, please. The fact that thousands of people have been overcharged for their electricity is an absolute scandal and the Balearic government is quite rightly taking action against GESA. So be on your guard and if you have any doubts about your bill don´t hesitate to contact GESA at once. I know the queues are long but you are well within your rights to ask for an explanation.

IF you are in opposition and you are not ahead in the opinion polls as a result of the present economic climate then you must be doing something very wrong. This was the case with the opposition Partido Popular which were behind in the opinion polls despite unemployment in Spain reaching the three million mark. The PP have been hit by a whole series of politicial scandals in recent months and their popularity had fallen. Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero, a socialist, was ahead in the polls until this weekend. In the regional elections in Galicia on Sunday, the Partido Popular swept to victory and they also saw their share of the vote increase in the Basque Country. Defeat in Galicia was a blow for Zapatero and a clear indicator that the electorate there was not too impressed by his economic policies. But the Partido Popular should not be celebrating too much. With the Spanish economy in deep recession they should be ahead in the polls.

I was sad to read that my good friend Donald Gaffney had died while I was away on holiday. His death is not only a loss to the British community on the island but to Majorca as a whole. He transformed the Conservatives Abroad into a vibrant organisation which organised a number of top events at quality venues on the island. He also did much to bring the Conservatives Abroad and the Partido Popular on the island together. A great man who will be sadly missed by all.