Last year, on one of myLondon visits I went, on a Sunday, with a friend, to St Margaret’s Church. This is Westminster Abbey’s baby sister perched in the gardens right next door. It has been in existence since the latter part of the 11th century. It was as traditional as you can get with a superb choir. I learned today that in the post Covid review it will be closed down as a working church. The parishioners of Westminster will not be neglected; the Abbey will see to that. This is, however the beginning of closures and financial decisions galore.
When you sit with the accounts in front of you making business decisions it is always challenging. This year those decisions are monumental. Basic arithmetic is enough to know that if people have little to no income they can’t spend on other than necessities. For all those who rely on public interest and donations the world is very bleak in 2020. Charities are also wringing their hands as the enormity of the future leaves them with stark choices. Fortunately, some charities have millions in the bank and must spend it on the people they support. No prizes for a healthy bank balance for charities dealing with deprivation, it would be seen as immoral.
So goodbye to St Margaret’s as a working church and to many other buildings whose demise will be announced in the coming months. In Mallorca the same discussions and decisions are taking place and churches and major organisations are having to get real. The exodus of people from our island who have worked here for years has already begun.
A watershed year where the consequences haven’t begun to be fully realised yet. We live in interesting times. Last week I was involved with others in meetings about winter tourism in Majorca, and the future. As we sat with our agenda in front of us the ‘elephant in the room’ was being avoided. Eventually the stories began to be told of all those bright, enthusiastic people who are leaving our shores. The ones who have been leaders in the boom years since the last recession. These are people who developed the now unpopular resorts and put them on the travellers’ guides to the world. Come to Ibiza and party, come to Magaluf with all your mates and have your first holiday abroad, come to Formentera when you have got stacks of money to share. All these images have been created by sheer hard work and tenacity and brought much wealth to the islands. If all this is to be taken away from Majorca overnight what is it to be replaced with?
The individual stories are heart-breaking as families we love head for different shores. The Humans of Majorca who are vitally important now are those with a road map for the future. When the politicians were all recently elected they didn’t know that something of this magnitude would be given to them to sort. The future, in business terms, is saved for that little bit of time when you are not managing the day to day life. That’s why forward planning for most businesses is such a mess. Communication, PR and a ten-year plan is the recipe for success that no-one gets round to doing properly – ever.
Natural assets are the first key to the future. Sun, sea, boats, are the golden jewels this island presents. Second is their proximity by air to the rest of Europe. Thirdly a multi racial population with different skill sets. This is the intelligence we have to start from and new ideas in abundance are out there. The inclusion of all Humans of Majorca into the discussions and decisions is vital. This island has reinvented itself over and over and will do so again if we all listen to each other.
Many of us have lived through the rebuilding of Majorca since the last recession. We are just about to do it again. This time new considerations will join the decisions, sustainability and energy consumption for a start. The solar heating and air conditioning of the island seems to be back on the agenda with few complications this time. There are a number of ‘no brainer’ projects which will swiftly emerge and then the rest will take intelligence, forward thinking and realism.
Humans of Majorca have a huge job for the future to do – starting now. ‘We are all in this together’ was a pandemic mantra. Let’s hope the same is true for the emerging future of our lives.