By Andrew Ede
The stigma of the M-place
Well, it isn't all bad news, you know. There was a headline in one Spanish paper this week which read "Bookings to Magalluf soar". Yep, you could have put money on it, though one can guess which niche of the British tourist market will be doing the soaring. One somewhat larger niche, the great family market, will surely be doing all it can to avoid having to fess up to relatives, friends, neighbours and hairdressers that it is off to the M-place in sunny Spain. "Going anywhere nice on your holidays?" "Erm, yes, erm, Mag ..." "Sorry, where did you say?" God, the stigma of it all. It's like admitting going on holiday to a nudist resort. Or Skegness.
There is one family, though, which appears to definitely be having second thoughts. Letizia was browsing the net for likely holiday destinations when suddenly up popped a short video she hadn't been expecting. "Right, that's it. We're not going to THAT place." Anyway, a sort of bidding war has broken out between Majorca and Almeria to see which one can ensure the summer holidaying patronage of Felipe, Tizzy and the kids. And if the Costa Almeria (the original Costa del Sol, if you didn't know) wins out, then what of the Marivent? It's not as if you can have a damn great palace sitting idle all summer. Perhaps they can offer it to Carnage and suggest they add it to the bar crawl itinerary.
It's not just the royals who are anxious about being stigmatised with being within several kilometres of the M-place. Majorca's own royalty, the boy Nadal, has turned his back on the island, too. What an ingrate. No sooner had the Council of Majorca said that it was putting him up for an "illustrious son" award for being such a splendid ambassador for Majorca than the illustrious son cleared off to Ibiza on his jollies. Who next? Who else can we expect to say no to Majorca rather than face the stigma-by-association of the M-place? If White Dee says no, then we really know we're in trouble. Mind you, there is always Jeremy Kyle. As they say in short-message social media land: ffs.
Manu and the magic thing
Amidst the wreckage and the carnage, Calvia's redoubtable mayor was doing the magic thing once again. You may recall his informing Stacey Dooley that he was not a magician and there having been an immediate cry of "CUT!" followed by loud chortles by an editorial production team. Well, last week he informed us that there was "no magic formula". And he was almost certainly right. There is no magic formula. Unfortunately for Manu, though, his magician's act is more Tommy Cooper than David Copperfield. "A girl goes into a bar. Ha ha ha. Just like that." He then went on to explain that thirty-five years of history do not change in two days. Meaning? Erm. Not sure. Was he saying that the M-place has been somewhere to receive oral relief since 1979? But, just as it was not possible to build Rome in one day, it requires longer than two days to turn the M-place into Shangri-La. At least, I think this is what was meant.
There has been speculation over the past few days as to Manu's future employment as mayor, so perhaps he is indeed lining up a new career with a fez on his head. But, he responded to a report that he will not be seeking re-election next spring by saying that this was all "part of the game" and that he was not going to say anything about his future mayoral status without the say-so of the Bauzá High Command. That report did rather suggest that Calvia was one municipality where there was a lack of a Partido Popular mayoral candidate, others being Palma, Inca, Manacor and Andratx. Of these, there has of course been open hostility between Bauzá and Palma's Mateo Isern, who pretty much has said that he won't be carrying on. This possibility has alarmed a command even higher than that of Bauzá's, namely the Madrid High High Command of the PP, which is getting into a right old tiz flap over what it fears will be something of a meltdown of PP mayors come spring next year. Isern is well regarded in Madrid circles. He is particularly chummy with Maria Dolores de Cospedal, the party's general secretary, and it is she, it is being presumed, who is trying to get Isern and Bauzá to kiss and make up and thus ensure that Mateo gives the Palma mayor's job a second go. What the High High Command is probably even more concerned about is that Isern might be the flag carrier for a Balearics mayoral rebellion force looking to confront Bauzá.
Joserra has been playing a bit of a blinder over all the M-place malarkey. By being nowhere to be seen or heard, Bauzá's been staying out of that one for all he's worth and leaving the architect at the tourism ministry to be thrown to the wolves of the media. Nevertheless, he can't totally avoid being dragged into the affair when there are naughty boys around like "Desgovern de les Illes Balears" (find them on Facebook, 8,347 likes). It announced that, despite Punta Ballena in the M-place having been on "the margin of civility, common sense and laws for years", the Bauzá government had discovered the problem thanks to "mamading". It then added that the PP would fix "mamading". "A few years ago, party leaders were sent to a specialist conference. It was called Rasputin, or something like that." What it was doing was having a dig at any moral outrage among the PP by referring to a case which was brought to the public's attention ten years ago last week. If you don't remember, this was the visit to an "alternative" club in Moscow, called Rasputin, by the then Balearics president, Jaume Matas, together with three others, including the then tourism minister. It is a case which, even today, has never been explained adequately, but Rasputin has become part of the political vocabulary for suspect behaviour; public money, it was alleged, was used to pay for a visit to what was basically a brothel.