TIL saw huge protests from teachers in the Balearics. | Jason Moore


By Andrew Ede

Not the final word on TIL

THE “Consell Consultiu” is, as you might guess from its name, a consultative council. It serves a function in the Balearics akin to that which the “Consejo de Estado” has at national level. This State Council, while linked to the government, is one which is supposed to act in an impartial manner in effectively arbitrating on contentious matters of government policy.
Reports that it issues are the final word on such matters. The regional Council has been roped into the arguments over trilingual teaching (TIL). It issued its report the week before last, but the fallout has rumbled on into the past week, and it has not been good news for the regional government.
Though ostensibly impartial, the Council’s make-up for considering TIL saw five jurists appointed by the Partido Popular line up against five others. The Council’s decision had to be made by the use of its president’s casting vote. Rafael Perera, one of Majorca’s most senior lawyers, gave the thumbs-up to TIL, but this was only one aspect of the Council’s opinion. It laid into the government and its constant changes in education, one of them having been the nifty shift in emphasis from parental free selection of teaching language (which was a flop) to TIL. It also took issue with the “linguistic balance” that the government has regularly banged on about. Schools had understood that this would give them autonomy as to the balance between languages that they would apply. The government then sought to limit this autonomy, yet this limitation was not stipulated under the decree which implemented TIL.
The opinion goes on, but I shan’t bore you with its total content. Suffice it to say that, though TIL was not rejected, the government received a legal bloody nose. It will have to go back to the legislative drawing board in order to rectify its omissions. It will also have to learn to be more efficient. The Council pointed out that the controversial decree by the government in September last year (one made hours after the Balearics High Court had ruled that the original legislation was flawed and which proved to be the straw that broke the teaching camel’s back and sent the teachers out on strike) was only applicable for the current school year. It, the Council, had not received the government’s order for next year in good time.
That this whole affair has ended up with a body that has the final say seems absurd, but the need for theCouncil’s involvement stems, at least in part, from poor drafting of law. Heads really should roll in the education ministry, if only those of civil servants who must have been the ones who wrote the drafts. For once, one feels a bit of sympathy for the minister, Joana Camps. In the post barely three months in September 2013, she was left to handle a political hot-potato that became hotter than it should have been, thanks to poor legislative compilation. But she should have ensured that the order for the coming school year was on time. The Council has reproached her for her tardiness.
But what makes the Council’s opinion that little bit more interesting is that Perera has some distinct form when it comes to the PP. He was at one point former president Jaume Matas’s lawyer, defending Matas against the mile-long charge sheet he has been presented with. He has also been known to act for other PP politicians, such as the first president, Gabriel Cañellas. As such, therefore, President Bauzá might have expected that he would be a compliant president of the Council. Not so. Back in August last year, Bauzá was looking at ways of getting him to resign (the government can’t force him out), and this followed a letter that Perera sent to Bauzá in which he described him as “totally ignorant”.
There is perhaps, one only says perhaps, an element of old-guardism going on here. Bauzá has fallen out with pretty much the whole of the PP old guard, like Cañellas, and quite a bit of the new guard. He and one of his few remaining loyal attendants, vice-president Gómez, are desperately renewing efforts to see how they can get Perera to quit. But he almost certainly won’t.

Bauzá and voting indiscipline

P RESIDENT Bauzá, of whom it has been said that he harbours ambitions of a national ministerial position, did himself no favours with the PP national hierarchy last week. “Over and above being the president of the PP in the Balearics, I am the president of the government,“ he declared in advising Mariano Rajoy, his ultimate boss (and one to whom it has been presumed he typically kowtows), that he was ordering a break in party discipline in the national Senate. The matter at hand was the oil prospecting controversy. The PSOE socialists had raised a motion against the prospecting, and the PP in the Balearics was going to vote with them. A certain chaos has ensued as a result.
As it turned out, not all Balearics PP senators followed Bauzá’s orders. Minorca’s Juana Francis Pons Vila did not vote with PSOE. Not because she didn’t agree with the motion but because, well, because they were PSOE.  Bauzá, who has been succeeding in butting heads with just about everyone in the PP locally, is making a pretty decent fist of doing likewise nationally. One of his great adversaries is the national minister for energy and industry, José Manuel Soria, who has the oil remit. Enrique Hernández Bento, an able lieutenant of Soria’s and a fellow Canary Islander and sub-secretary at the industry ministry, to boot, has accused Bauzá of engaging in demagoguery and the PP in the Balearics of irresponsibility and incoherence. You might gather that he doesn’t approve of their voting with PSOE.
Hernández took the Bauzá Defence of being president of the Balearics and adjusted it to his position. “Señor Bauzá has his responsibility for the autonomous community (of the Balearics). We in the ministry have ours, which is to defend the general interest of Spain. We do not share the PP in the Balearics’ position on this matter,” he announced (or maybe Soria had told him what to say). Sr. Hernández, it might be noted, is obviously not currying favour with many in the Canaries, where there is an almighty great ding-dong going on over oil drilling there.
For all this, though, Rajoy may look upon Bauzá’s indiscipline benignly and still have him earmarked for potential ministerial promotion. After all, there is the matter of regional elections looming, and as José Ramón has been doing his best to ensure that the PP loses in May next year, anything that might retrieve the situation (including voting with PSOE) can only be a good thing.