In Wednesday’s Viewpoint editor Jason Moore states that “the Spanish monarchy have proved this week that no one is above the law”. This is a quote from one of King Juan Carlos’s Christmas speeches – a little rich from someone immune from paternity suits. His immunity expired when he abdicated and it passed to his son.
As he is being sought in two separate prosecutions when this oversight was noted, it was rectified in days by a special law expedited in the Cortes.
In Palma the Noos trial has 18 defendants, all being accused by the state with the exception of his daughter, the Infanta Cristina. She is accused of laundering money gained by fraud, not a charge brought by the state but a private group “Manos Limpias”. Jason believes she will almost certainly be cleared.
Let’s hope she is treated better than by our Ayuntamiento de Palma and by her brother King Felipe VI, both of whom seem to have forgotten the maxim “innocent until proven guilty” when they removed her title Duchess de Palma de Mallorca.
Playa de Palma
This morning, I opened the day’s papers over my cornflakes to see The Sun’s 72-point headlines screaming new allegations about the boozy lad and ladette culture that is blighting Majorca in general, and Magalluf in particular. As I supped my lunchtime pint, I tuned into ITV’s Loose Women to catch the panel having a similar tawdry pop at the island to its millions of avid viewers. After getting home from work in the evening, there on the box was Jeremy Kyle, again on mainstream TV, doing his hatchet job on tourism. If that wasn’t enough, a quick channel hop over supper and a nightcap saw Majorca enduring more lurid publicity on the BBC as it screened its Don’t Tell The Bride series.
In a matter of hours, Majorca was propelled into the full glare of a press and publicity spotlight involving millions of newspaper readers and viewers on an unprecedented January scale - ahead of one of the busiest weekends for much-needed summer holiday bookings. All on a day when the rest of the UK media were featuring wall-to-wall coverage of the alleged tax evasion by the King’s sister and Turkey - one of its main competitors in what will be a tough battle for holidaymakers’ pounds and euros this summer - suffered a bomb blast in one of its tourist hotspots that claimed multiple casualties.
I am not sure where the officials from the tourism authorities in Majorca today were but there was not one column inch of rebuttal, not one TV soundbite explaining all the investment being channelled into improving Majorca’s image and rebooting its appeal as a family destination. Their silence was deafening - the equivalent of a media “no comment”. Which, as those of us who steal a living from journalism know, is pretty much code for “all the allegations are true”.
Perhaps they were all busy applying for the job of the chairman of the Environment Agency after he fell on his flooded sword after one of the worst PR gaffes of all time. But the fact that there was nobody there to fight Majorca’s corner, showcase its successes, highlight its changes, put Jeremy Kyle’s smear campaign into context was ultimately sad, mad, bad.
It was a missed opportunity. And, despite the fact that the new year is just two weeks old, Majorca already trails the mainland, Portugal, Italy, Greece and - crucially - the ‘Staycationers’ in this year’s all-important tourism race.
That starting pistol has been fired. And Majorca is in danger of being left lagging in the blocks.
Yorkshire and Calvia