OUR front-page story yesterday criticising plans to down-grade the British Consulate in Palma to Vice Consul status certainly caused a sensation and I am pleased to report that there has been much response. The majority believe, like I do, that we need a full-time British Consul in Palma because the Balearics are so important to Britain as a holiday destination. Under present plans the Balearics will come under the Consul General in Barcelona who will be making periodic trips to the island, about once a month I believe. The message which has been delivered to the local authoritis is not a good one; Britain is downgrading its diplomatic post eventhough 3.5 million tourists come here every year. Even in these hard times when money is tight I suspect that the local authorities will not have been impressed by the move because it could be considered as rather a snub to the Balearics. I sincerely believe that people power will prevail and the Foreign Office will appoint a full time Consul just for the Balearics. The tourist industry has made their views very clear as you will read in today´s newspaper. We have also broadcast a clear message that we are not impressed by the Foreign Office plan. This is a fight which is worth fighting. Three and a half million is alot of people; it is the population of many of Britain´s principal cities. Rather than downgrading the Consulate it should be expanded to ensure that Brits abroad are protected.
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