The rights of voters
I'VE had some good feedback from my comments the other-day in this column in which I suggested that it was rather pointless voting in the British elections next year. It appears that the bottom-line is that we should be allowed to vote in the general elections in Spain. The majority of people that I spoke to said they were more interested in what Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was doing rather than Tony Blair. As European Union citizens we can vote for our local Mayor and our MEP (European Member of Parliament) but not for leader of the local government or Prime Minister in Spain. I believe this is a ridiculous state of affairs, and it appears that many Bulletin readers agree. I do believe, though, that we will be able to vote in the Spanish referendum on the European Constitution which takes place in February.

When in Spain
THE other day I was playing the Spanish version of Trivial Pursuit. I must say that I wasn't doing too well, but then I got a dream question for a yellow “cheese.” “Question: what sank the Spanish Armada...?” “The Royal Navy,” I replied...“Wrong, the weather,” I was told.” Looking back to my school-days I am sure that Sir Frances Drake after his game of bowls had something to do with the victory. Obviously, not, according to the Spanish. That bloody British weather does appear to be the root of all evil. But isn't it quite incredible how history can change depending on where you live.

Branson blues
I was in one of my favourite Majorcan villages the other day, Deya. One resident recounted a story involving Sir Richard Branson, former owner of the Hotel La Residencia. “The hotel manager received a complaint from a hotel guest,” (I was told) “that there was a scruffy looking guest making a lot of noise around the swimming pool. “I don't know how you can allow guests like that in to your hotel,” the guest told the manager. The manager noted the complaint. The scruffy looking guest was none other than Sir Richard himself, then owner of the hotel. A note of warning to the complaining guest, though. A certain Lord King of British Airways once said that he couldn't take Branson seriously because of his “scruffy jumper.” In the end, the aviation lord had little option but to take Branson seriously. And I will end with my very own Richard Branson ripping yarn. The Majorcan press corps are not noted for their smart dress sense. Richard Branson was holding a press conference in Deya and as it was Branson everyone, including the photographers, put on their Sunday best. I have never seen a smarter turn-out. White shirts, freshly polished shoes, suits and ties. It was like a wedding reception. But when Branson arrived he was dressed in jeans and a open-neck shirt. I think even he was rather shocked by the turn-out. He then proceeded to help the waiters serve the meal which followed the press conference. We returned to Palma in stunned silence. Richard Branson had worked his magic. The story has gone into Majorcan media folklore. But did he dress for us or did we dress for him!


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