Judge José Castron on his motobike.

25-06-2014MONTSERRAT T DIEZ

By Andrew Ede

Judge Dread and the Infanta-cide

HE rides a Lawmaster motorbike. He patrols Palma Mega-City One. He dispenses instant justice. Be afraid, be very afraid. Here comes Judge Dread. Dreaded by members of royal families everywhere. Especially Spanish ones.
Judge José Castro, judge of the people, hero of the people, a comic-strip legend roars into the Palma courts on his trusty steed, his high-cylinder “moto”. The sword-wielding, Kendo-practising judge issues his 167 tablets of stone, his “auto”. Moto, auto, whatever. Zap, pow, Judge Dread has spoken, and the word is Infanta-cide. Somewhere in Geneva, the Infanta Cristina, just returned home from the day job with the La Caixa bank foundation, shudders with horror. She has someone to comfort her, though. The Queen Mum, recently relieved of royal duties, has arrived to be at her side. Sofia hasn’t seen Cristina for a while. Her daughter wasn’t around for the abdication or the proclamation. She is the sidelined royal. The “new” royal family doesn’t, strictly speaking, include her. Sidelined royal. Airbrushed royal? Dispensable royal? Judge Dread thinks so. He has dispensed his justice.
But who is this? Into the OK Corral of the Palma courts strolls a fearless lawman. Sheriff Pedro Horrach, a fighter of corruption, just like Judge Dread. But only one of them, on this day, can audition for Elliot Ness. Has Horrach switched sides? This is their Tombstone. Their duel, their gunfight. Horrach, the prosecutor but defender of the Infanta. Castro, her accuser. Horrach, till now the Untouchable, is risking all. He is lining up against the people’s hero. But then Castro is also risking all. Or is he? Horrach has years to go to retirement. Castro could call it a day today if he wanted to, his reputation intact. Their duel has only just begun. Former allies now separated and staring at each other across the Court’s Corral, the intense heat of summer burning down on them. Who will be the first to flinch? Go for your denuncia, shouts Castro. Condemn me for abuse of position, if you dare.
Persecution of the Princess, claims Horrach, who has never wavered from his view that there is no case to answer. Disrespect has been shown to me, counters Castro, who adds: “A judge can lose impartiality, just as a prosecutor can lose impartiality. This is an inherent human risk. But I do not believe that a judge is more vulnerable than a prosecutor to losing impartiality.”
Partiality or impartiality, the duel will continue at least until the Audiencia court in Palma decides if Castro’s indictment, his Infanta-cide, will stand. But who’s to say that its decision will be the final word? No one.

Don’t go home alone

Don’t fool around on balconies. Keep an eye on your drink. Don’t walk home alone. It’s the last bit of advice which has caused most of the fuss. Walk home alone at night or with someone you don’t know, and it could cost you your life. Reasonable advice or scaremongering? Responsible suggestion or a “pathetic” campaign?
It’s the British Consulate which has issued the warning. It has a campaign called “Enjoy and Respect” (which has a metre rhythm disturbingly similar to “Protect and Survive”) and has produced leaflets which offer the advice on going home alone in San Antonio in Ibiza. Very few people in San Antonio are, as a result, happy with the Consulate. “Exaggerated and counterproductive.” “A suicidal foreign image.” Portrays San Antonio as “highly unsafe and dangerous”.
The Consulate, for its part, says that it has conducted similar campaigns elsewhere. Yes, agree Ibiza’s hoteliers, but in Benidorm, as an example, there wasn’t the bit about the possibility of ending up on the slab if you go home alone.
I don’t know, is San Antonio really that unsafe? An argument against the campaign will be the fallback position of “it’s like that anywhere, it could happen anywhere”, which indeed it could, but it is a fallback position which I, for one, tire of hearing. I’m not really bothered about what could happen anywhere.
I’m bothered about what could happen here. Or there, as in Ibiza. I can’t believe the Consulate is issuing the advice for a laugh, so it must believe it to be justified.
There is a wider issue in this. Majorca, the Balearics have made much of being safe. It is the big advantage the islands have over parts of the Med which experience not irregular periods of instability and consequent lack of safety of a high order. But if the Consulate deems it necessary to pump out a leaflet which implies that you, a tourist, might end up dead on a night out, well that doesn’t sound too safe at all. Is there a similar leaflet in Magalluf?

Striking indefinitely in April

IT wouldn’t of course be a week without some news of the “Great Conflict”. We should have expected that, with the schools on holiday, someone would pipe up with something in order to keep the conflict bubbling away in its greatness over the long, hot days of summer.
And true to form, it has been the increasingly potty, not to say desperate, Assemblea de Docents. The hunger-striking teacher restored to the front row of its meeting, the Assemblea announced that there will be a strike in April next year. Which is nice of them to give such a lengthy notice period, but a strike for what precisely? As mentioned last week, the Assemblea is truly brassed off with the unions having discovered that education minister Joana Camps is their new best friend. The comrades have sold out, or something like that.
Of course, it won’t have gone unnoticed that the long notice period is for a strike to occur in the month before the next elections. The Assemblea clearly reckons it’s on to some sort of winner by having a strike then, but who would be the winner? My guess is that the electorate has grown weary and/or sick and tired of the “Great Conflict”.
The original strike in autumn last year was an indefinite one. It was never officially been called off and so it can be reactivated. This is what the Assemblea is suggesting it would do, though if the unions were to definitively end the strike, that would make things interesting. Anyway, the Assemblea has said that there won’t be a strike at the start of the new school year in September, though they might take the first day off just to remind everyone that there is still a strike.

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