When the new five party coalition government of the Balearics came to power three years ago they gave the impression that they wanted to reduce the number of tourists and stop properties of cultural and historical importance being sold to foreigners. You have to remember that three years ago the German inspired property boom was in full swing and hundreds of properties in rural areas were being sold mainly by Majorcans to Germans. Ironically, the Balearic government has been successful, this year the number of tourists visiting Majorca has slumped by almost one million and the property boom, albeit involving the Germans, is well and truly over. But curiously enough the Balearic government is seriously concerned at the drop in tourism and has spent the last four months telling everyone not to panic and spending sizeable amounts of money attempting to win back the tourists they allegedly didn't want in the first place. In other words we are back to square one. And more ironically still the people who are saving the day for the Balearics yet again are the British. Yes, that nation off the French coast which helped develop tourism to the Balearics over the last four decades which had been rather forgotten at the height of the German boom. So what has the Balearic government learnt over the last three years? That tourism is very volatile and that the British love the Balearics. It's a pity that the local government had to learn this lesson the hard way and the islands are now suffering.
Watch weasel words
The only part of Iraq's letter to the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations that has been widely publicised is this: I am pleased to inform you of the decision of the Government of the Republic of Iraq to allow the return of the United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq without conditions...To this end, the Government of the Republic of Iraq is ready to discuss the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections. That seems clear enough, even allowing for a slight question mark over the meaning of practical in this context.
But there is another sentence in the letter which requires consideration: The Government of the Republic of Iraq reiterates the importance of the commitment of all Member States of the Security Council and the United Nations to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Iraq as stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions and Article (11) of the Charter of the United Nations. What do sovereignty and territorial integrity mean in this context? In an article in the Guardian yesterday Tim Trevan, who was political advisor to the UN Commission on Iraq from 199295, said that references to sovereignty and territorial integrity are code for no go areas such as the palaces and government buildings to which access was blocked for earlier inspection teams.
The Government of the Republic of Iraq needs no lessons from Machiavelli. A new Security Council resolution in the plainest and most comprehensive terms possible is needed urgently.