There was a time, only a few short years ago, when Juan Pedro Yllanes was on the point of having the biggest gig of his judging career. Judge J.P. was pencilled in to be the presiding judge in the Nóos trial. Princess Cristina, Iñaki Urdangarin, ex-Balearic president Jaume Matas and others were to all be in the dock (or rather on the bench) facing him. Celebrity by association awaited Judge J.P., but he turned down the opportunity. The Judge was heading into politics and into the arms of Podemos, pursuers of the corrupt in a political arena as opposed to a court.
His extended sabbatical has gifted the Judge some five years of political experience, first as a deputy in Congress and now as the vice-president of the Balearics. Like a mature (very mature) student at university, Judge J.P.'s political knowledge and learning have come late in life. He was sixty in January, which makes him some ten years older than Josep Castells, a Més in Minorca politician who no one had ever heard of until he became parliamentary spokesperson.
This age difference plus political background and experience have to considered in the context of what transpired in parliament last week. Judge J.P. got the right hump with Josep. "You have no idea about politics," the Judge informed Josep, who retaliated by observing: "I was already a politician and you were not born."
As you may appreciate, this wasn't entirely accurate, although in terms of time in politics alone, Josep would appear to have a few years on the Judge, who has nevertheless clearly learned a great deal from his mature student experience. Away from the impartiality of the courtroom, the Judge is now demonstrating the partiality of politics. Josep wasn't alone in having incurred the wrath of the Judge last week. Another target was someone else no one is familiar with - Pablo Jiménez, who in theory is on the same side as the Judge, but isn't.
Pablo is from the Izquierda Unida, the United Left who are the Unidas in Unidas Podemos, the minor collective of brothers and sisters who have tagged themselves onto Podemos and have in the process somehow managed to provide two ministers in Pedro Sánchez's government. It was one of these ministers, the supposedly tourism-bashing fellow from consumer affairs, Alberto Garzón, who was referenced by the Judge when he took aim at Pablo (who, it might be noted, is from Minorca like Josep). "I'm going to call Garzón and tell him that a deputy of his has voted with Vox," yelled the Judge.
When there was the purge of Podemos deputies before last year's election, the parliamentary awkward squad was deprived of anti-capitalists such as Laura Camargo. In came Podemos-lite in the form of Juan Pedro and Mae de la Concha, who also happens to be from Minorca and has insisted that she couldn't get by without the 22 grand a year living allowance, because she is from Minorca, on top of her ministerial salary. Minorca otherwise now supplies the awkward squad-in-chief, awkward in that Més in Minorca plus Pablo are ostensibly supporters of Francina's government, except when they choose not to be.
Last week's rumpus, with Judge J.P. at its centre, was all to do with the government's urgent measures decree. The awkward Minorcan left sided with the likes of Vox in ensuring that the decree would have to undergo parliamentary processing rather than be rubber-stamped, which is what normally happens with decrees. It was therefore an example of arcane parliamentary procedure for a decree which is equally arcane, given that much of it has to do with planning regulations.
There are only so few people who have a clue what these are and what these mean, such as judges, who have needed to acquire significant experience in these matters because of all the politicians who have been paraded in front of them for having flouted the regulations, and GOB, who have long since been transformed from mere protectors of birdlife into planning experts, scouring every conceivable piece of planning legislation in order to be able to pounce and slap in a denuncia.
So basically this all concerned something that ordinary members of the public haven't the faintest idea about and probably don't care about anyway. But such is politics, as the Judge now appreciates, and more so than Josep, or so it would seem. The consequence, which is what the government fears, is the increasingly popular figure of Frankenstein, as it is known in political circles in Majorca and Spain. The decree will end up being a Frankenstein law consisting of incompatible parts and is thus a reminder of what happened three years ago with the holiday rentals legislation. Back then, when Podemos were the awkward squad, they bizarrely managed to ally themselves with the PP in scuppering the law presented by one-time Més tourism minister, Biel Barceló, and creating a holiday rentals Frankenstein, which had to be redrafted in order to calm Podemos down.
But now, thanks to Podemos-lite, the awkwardness is Més Minorca and Pablo's to apply. And having an idea of politics, where the Judge is concerned, means that Podemos are almost indistinguishable from Francina's PSOE. Josep would beg to disagree, but then Josep isn't the vice-president. Juan Pedro is, and Josep might more aptly have said - "Juan Pedro, you don't know you are born".