By Andrew Ede
Director-generals and the revolving door
I have in front of me a list of the various director-generals appointed to governmental positions after the last regional elections. It is a revealing list as it includes names of those who have gone on to higher things and, in one instance, attained this higher thing and was subsequently booted out, i.e. Joana Camps, originally the DG for work in 2011. Of others there is: José Vicente Mari, now Balearics finance minister and then the DG for the treasury; Jaime Martínez, now tourism minister; Martí Sansaloni, now health minister; Nuria Riera, Camps’ replacement as education minister.
Because of the promotions that have occurred, the list highlights the distinctly fluid composition of the Bauzá government. It also highlights the fact that every single one of these DGs and indeed appointees to other posts was a political appointment. Every four years, there is a potential revolving door of ministers and also of those who form the apparatus of government; the people who actually do things. One name on that list is Antonio Deudero, the DG for ports and airports. I met him the other day. Pleasant chap, naval reservist, formerly worked for AENA, the national airports authority, eminently qualified for his post. He is also a Partido Popular man.
I have no reason to believe that Sr. Deudero is anything but capable, and on that list of DGs there will be others who are also capable. Joana Camps may have been a disaster area on a nuclear scale once she became education minister but that was because she was confirmation of the Peter Principle; she might have been perfectly competent had she remained in her previous role. But capability and competence will mean nothing if the government changes in 2015, which will mean a whole load of new DGs.
Though political, the DGs’ roles are essentially managerial, so when there is a new round of appointments continuity is lost. To cite one example in the case of Sr. Deudero, he has been engaged in the promotion of the islands’ ports for cruise shipping; not just Palma, but also Alcudia, Soller and Sant Antoni. Contacts he will have made at international level will be broken if he is no longer in a position to be the beneficiary of political appointment. People, especially if they are capable, do of course move on to other things, but the cycle of political appointment can be seen to be both delimiting and potentially detrimental. A new DG for ports and airports in 2015 might be someone with Podemos sympathies. What on earth would that mean for the Balearics?
Last week, José Manuel Ruiz was confirmed as the PP’s mayoral candidate for Calvia. He had been a political appointment as DG of the broadcaster IB3. What will happen to his successor? Change of government and out he goes. Moreover, there will be a change of policy. IB3 will revert to the manual according to Catalan and not Mallorquín, just as at education any gains that have been made with trilingual teaching (not many admittedly) will be lost when pro-Catalanist DGs are installed.
Changes in policy there will always be and managers will always be aware of having to dance to the tunes of political masters, but a constant turnover in these managers and the consequent loss of talent there might be surely can’t be beneficial. Or perhaps we just have to accept that this loss is part of the natural cycle and that some, not all, of the DGs are only in their posts because they exist in order to give jobs to the boys and girls of whatever party is in power.
Another fine Mas
Oriol Junqueras is the leader of the Catalonian Republican Left, the partners in referendum crime of Artur Mas’s CiU. Oriol is also a bit of a fatty. He looks like a pre-diet Chris Moyles or a non-diet Oliver Hardy, whose straight man sidekick, Mas, is constantly scratching his head in bewilderment. Mas, the Laurel to Oriol’s Ollie, has created another fine mess, a bewildering one of - is it a referendum, is it a plebiscite, is it a ...? Well, God knows what it is, but whatever it is it is still (probably) going to take place on 9 November and will mean very little. It is all a bit like earnest teenagers pretending to be Dave or the other one, then staging their in-school mock elections and dragging along the local MP who is forced to have his photo taken while smiling through gritted teeth surrounded by highly irritating fourth-formers and presented with a result which leaves him out of a job.
Oriol Ollie is insisting that Artur calls an election, which Artur almost certainly won’t do. Instead, he’ll have his pretend referendum, having been scared off by the threat of armed invasion if he dared go against the word of the Constitutional Tribunal. (I’ve made that bit up the way, the armed invasion bit.) Oriol can, however, take some comfort in the fact that the Germans already think Catalonia has declared independence. The RTL television channel showed a graphic in which Catalonia had been bitten off from the rest of Spain.
The future is bright, the future is Calvia
“ Friends and neighbours, as the new spokesperson for the neighbourhood association, I hope for the collaboration of all residents, working together as an association of friends in this time of crisis in order to cure all the ills in the area, to beautify and enrich it and enhance our local heritage.” These words were written twenty-five years ago. They were written about Magalluf. The author was Pepe Tirado, the president of Acotur, the association of tourist services businesses. Poor old Pep. A quarter of a century’s worth of working together and a summer’s worth of railing against the evils of Punta Bellend and mamading, and blow me he finds himself in danger of being torpedoed below the waist line by a new association: Calvia con Futuro, an association which I imagine is creating great excitement in Illetes and Es Capdella.
Hey ho, never mind, Pep, and there you were a couple of weeks ago announcing the results of a survey of Magalluf businesses by Acotur in which businesses overwhelmingly said they would be in favour of tougher local ordinance and were against practices which degraded the area around the strip and which were out of control. And the Future of Calvia would doubtless agree, all in the spirit of sustainable tourism, whatever is meant by this but it sounds good, and Gabriel Escarrer of Meliá did after all use the S-word when he said that certain businesses could take their “pathetic expertise somewhere else”.