Aina Castillo.


When canaries sing of corruption

Just when you thought that everyone had gone away on their jollies and that the rest of August would lie quietly in the deep heat-induced somnolence of late summer and maintain the enervated silence induced by thirty degrees, a good lunch and a bucket of sangria, something stirs deep in the cesspit of the past and explodes with the force of a sewage pipe ripped apart by the pressure of accumulated and stinking waste. It is an eruption of the most unhealthy variety, spewing out over the monument of Majorca’s health service. The deep-cleaned, bacteria-free white walls of Son Espases were showered with muck of the brownest type.
Aina Castillo was Jaume Matas’s most loyal acolyte. Not is. Was. While others had long waved their hankies at the shoreline and watched as their former master was sunk by their confessions, Aina, the one-time subservient servant at the ministry of sanitation, had continued to calm the drowning former president with her enduring loyalty. Until, that is. As any good canary can tell you, when there is a whiff of gas, there is danger ahead. It is time to get out quick. Or it is time to activate the explosion before the explosion launches you over the battlements of Palma’s jail and deposits you on top of Maria Munar. It is time for all good canaries to sing. Aina sang. This was not a love song. “I have a new goal, I’m changing my ways. Where money applies, this is not a love song.” The Johnny Rottenness of public image was fully exposed. Money had applied all along. Aina had changed her ways. The anti-corruption prosecutors were taking aim at the goal, one already inside a gaol. Aina blew the lid on the sewage pipe. Matas had rigged the tender to construct Son Espases. The biggest corruption scandal of the lot had shattered the sleep and dreamtime of late August.
Of course, everyone had long suspected that Son Espases was iffy. It was just that the nature of the iffiness was not known. It is now. Jaume gave instructions that one of the bidders should gain higher marks. The winner was Dragados. Technical reports had given a rival, OHL, better marks. But it still lost.
Prosecutors will be having a word with Jaume, currently on leave in Segovia’s prison. The “caso Son Espases” threatens to eclipse even the Palma Arena affair. And for the present incumbent in the presidential palace, José Ramón Bauzá, it is a horrible reminder of the not-so-long-ago past. The bad debts that Matas had left had been written off, so Joserra has said. The biggest debt of all now brings renewed harmfulness. And what does the president do about Aina? She’s still knocking around. His presidency was to have been a clean one. Unfortunately, it can’t be because it can’t escape the recent past. Not when the walls of Son Espases are dripping with the filth of corruption.

Gassing moles

There were others crawling among the sewers of Majorca last week. A mole was at work. Two moles in fact. A mole and a molette. To no one’s surprise, we discovered that the sewer rats of Fleet Street had indeed been intent on digging up whatever dirt, however repetitious, however questionable, it could find among the dregs of Magalluf. The reaction was a “it may be Magalluf but it’s our Magalluf”. Outsiders were not welcome. But why should they be welcome? “The Sun” sank lower and lower. The narrative was not one of the inherent nature of business interests, town hall administration and tourism industry complicity that has over years given rise to the Magalluf of today. It was a narrative in three letters. Sex. Sex does after all sell. “The Sun” sells quite well in Majorca. Will there be a call to boycott it?
The Molette will now have to scurry away. Her identity has been revealed. Her face is on social media. It is known who she is. Hiding behind a nom de plume can create a story in its own right, but the Mole of Magalluf is no Secret Footballer. The latter is lauded, the former is despised. Put the gas down the mole hole. And don’t let a canary near it.

Teachers on strike - so what’s new?

Bauzá might be fearful that the latest pile of corrupt ballast might widen more the hole in the hull of the good ship PP as it flounders before potentially foundering and sinking at the regional elections, he might possibly take some solace from the announcement by the Assemblea de Docents (teachers’ assembly) that it intends to undertake an indefinite strike in April next year. Why might he welcome the news? Because it exposes the Assemblea for what it really is and exposes yet again the political nature of previous strike action and the opposition of trilingual teaching.
I drew attention some time ago to the power struggle that exists between the teaching unions and the Assemblea. The latter has now decided that it will become a union in its own right. It may officially be so in time for the start of the new school year next month, when there is due to be a day of strike action. The Assemblea, by signalling its long-term intention to strike in April, is making a clear political statement. What will take place in May next year? The elections. Though there may well still be a groundswell of support for the teachers and their pro-Catalan stance, will the electorate (the majority, that is) be swayed by a strike so close to the elections? Support there may be but there is also great weariness. This is an argument that has dragged on far too long.

The no-value tourist - wrong again

For the first time in a July, said the Frontur survey, the Balearics received more than two million foreign tourists. Rejoice. Rejoice. No, don’t rejoice, especially if you are the Majorca hoteliers federation. So predictable are the responses of the federation that you could write them yourselves. They follow the same formula every single time, and so the vice-president of the federation, Inma de Benito, duly stuck to the hymn sheet. Among the two million are the lost tribes of tourism, wheeling their touristic possessions along the streets of the island’s resorts in search of a place at an illegal inn, the apartment or other dwelling of the black economy that attracts these lost tribes with nary a euro to scrape between them. These lost tribes bring no value to resorts, said Inma. What a silly woman she can be. Tell you what, Inma, take yourself off to somewhere like Puerto Pollensa and ask around. The restaurant-terrace tills are alive with the sound of coins thrown with carefree abandon by the wretches who stay in apartments.