Vomiting as parliament returns
The star appearance of President Armengol in the Balearic parliament had to be delayed a week because some deputies succumbed to you know what. Parliament’s summer holidays were thus extended by a further week, and we all had to wait seven more days to learn how well the government has been handling the crisis.
It’s a strange business, this demanding an appearance by the president (which was what happened). It’s not as if she doesn’t typically appear as it is. The only time when she hasn’t appeared, as far as one can recall, was when she was off in India looking at how government money is being spent on Fundación Vicente Ferrer projects.
Acts of international solidarity and cooperation do occasionally surface, as they did last week. Fina Santiago, who mostly spends her ministerial time defending the management of social care for vulnerable teenagers, is also minister for cooperation. This means that every time refugees are mentioned, Fina - bless her - is the first to dive into the Mediterranean with a life belt and offer accommodation.
Sergio Rodríguez of Vox had migrants and refugees on his mind in having been the first deputy invited to ask Francina a question on Tuesday. He was, therefore, somewhat off-topic in that migrants and refugees aren’t central to the handling of the health crisis. But he made his point anyway. There is an “invasion” of migrants arriving in the Balearics on small boats. The police, he suggested, “have warned of a new route to Majorca that is more dangerous than that of the Strait (of Gibraltar)”. These are the ones, he continued, who “rape our daughters and drag our grandmothers to the ground and steal gold chains from them”.
While the whole house, with the exception of other Voxites, howled their contempt at his remarks, Francina responded by describing his “racist speech” as “vomit-inducing”.
Away from parliament, Vox were thrown into some turmoil after Jorge Campos was confirmed as the leader of Vox in the Balearics by obtaining the necessary number of votes of support in an internal election process. Sergio Rodríguez is a close ally, but the opponents of Campos (and Rodríguez) threatened to seek a court injunction to prevent Campos and the party leadership from taking any decisions.
What this was at least partly about had to do with questions as to whether Campos is a true Voxite or has wished to “take advantage of the image of Vox and the Spanish flag” in making the regional party his own property. His chief detractor, Santiago Galán, said that there is unity behind the vision, ideology and objectives of the national leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, but not behind Jorge Campos, whose Actúa Baleares party formed a coalition with Vox.
Be this diversion as it may, back in parliament, Francina’s appearance told us nothing we didn’t already know other than the fact that another part of Palma was to be put into a form of lockdown. Where actually was Arquitecte Bennàssar, as it isn’t on maps as a district or neighbourhood? All was explained - it is a health area.
The appearance was otherwise notable only for the awkwardness presented by some deputies who were being beamed in by Zoom. Or not, as the case may be. Speaker Vicenç Thomàs, who we have to suspect is rather more enthusiastic than his terminally dull delivery suggests, got into a slight flap because of a communications blip. “Senyora Pons? Senyora Pons?”
Senyora Pons of El Pi was nowhere to be seen or heard via Zoom. Vicenç, a member of the old school who would probably have preferred that deputies all traipsed up to the roof of parliament and watch Senyora Pons deliver her question by semaphore, had to move onto others before the connection was finally re-established. Once it was, the wait didn’t prove to be especially worth it. Vicenç, even if he wouldn’t admit it, probably appreciates interventions by Sergio Rodríguez, so that he, and everyone else, can wake up.
FlyIago - “The safest way to travel”
You can’t keep a good tourism minister down. Iago Negueruela is nothing if not tenacious in sticking to the idea of safe air corridors. The corridors were being flown again last week when Iago and the island councils gathered for a safe tourism meeting ahead of yet more meetings, these with the Spanish government.
There is to be “maximum coordination and collaboration between councils and the government”, the minister stressed, thus suggesting that maximum coordination and collaboration doesn’t always exist. And when it comes to tourism matters, this may indeed be the case, given how much responsibility for tourism has been devolved to the island councils.
While safe corridors remain the hope, the minister has previously acknowledged that there is a slight problem with them - the infection rates. Still, it was reassuring to know that he had the maximum coordination and collaboration of presidents of the councils, such as Catalina Cladera, who was herself announcing that Majorca will be hosting an international forum on tourism safety next month. “Majorca has to be defended as a safe destination,“ she stated. “We have been pioneers in the application of safety measures, and although Covid-19 is present, we are working so that it doesn’t affect Majorca as a destination.”
Very good. The trouble is, though, that it has affected Majorca. But Iago continues to fly the flag for safe corridors, and one day, who knows ...