A towel and a novice: Palma political folk
You might be interested to know, if you don’t already, that the Spanish language throws in the towel in the same way that the English language does. Had you been unaware of this idiomatic coincidence then you would have become aware when presented with news of the culmination of the Months of the Long Knives - Matty Isern finally threw the towel in. He will not stand again as PP mayor for Palma. Bauzá’s purge of someone whose main crime was that he wasn’t Bauzá was bloodless, but plenty of blood has been spilled on the fraying shag pile of the fanatical Bauzáist wing of the Partido Popular. And who’s to say there won’t be more?
Over the months of the plot to oust Matty, many a name has been advanced to fill his void. Anyone not on the bookies’ list was clearly not cast from the malleable and compliant mould of Bauzáism, but finally, and to sounds of almost total silence and mutters of disbelief, Joserra unveiled she who would be queen of Palma - Margalida Duran, of whom it can be said that she is no Roberto, more a Simon Le Bon of one of Duran Duran’s wimpier ditties. Margalida’s stellar political career lacks only one thing - star quality. Her appearance from nowhere (having run the family restaurant) to firstly PP deputy in the current parliament, then to the presidency of the Balearic Parliament and now a shot at the Palma mayoral gig owes everything to Joserra. When, to a background of total astonishment, she was made parliamentary president at the end of 2012, it was said of her that she was a “neophyte”, as in a total novice. Prior to this, she had managed to ask all of six questions in her capacity as a parliamentary deputy, each of them designed to reveal the greater glory of the master. She was and is a Bauzá Babe, symbolic of a regime that has rewarded the subservient, non-boat-rockers and sometimes less than good. You wouldn’t think she has a cat in hell’s chance of becoming mayor, and if she does there will be many who will eat their hats, followed by a dessert of the hatstands and the cheese and biscuits of an entire wardrobe.
Matty, meantime, has been revelling in the glow of tributes to his reign. At a charity car-boot sale, he was greeted with cheers of “mayor, mayor”, while the mayor killer was forced to watch on as old women grabbed Matty’s hand and wept bitter tears of mayoral bereavement. He and Bauzá were photographed with smiles on their faces, but the camera does of course lie, as it has been with the various stage-managed photo ops that have been arranged for Joserra just recently. Here he is, beaming with the excommunicated Toni Pastor, there he is grinning insanely at the announcement of a mayoral candidate for Much Binding In The Majorcan Marsh or whatever minor municipality in the sticks he has been allowed to visit. At least he has had his haircut, having foregone the look which had suggested he was auditioning for a remake as the Richard E. Grant character in “Withnail And I”.
But for Matty, the party is over, and there are suggestions he might join the El Pi party. Were he to and to run for mayor of Palma, then those hats will be even more unlikely to be turned into lunch.
The PP towel has been thrown in, the one of a set with PP embroidered initials. Oh well, he could always flog them at a car-boot sale. He might get a euro for them.
Insults are not what they were
Another of the Bauzá Babes, PP parliamentary spokesperson Mabel Cabrer, admitted last week that the party might lose its majority at the next regional elections, an observation that the electorate, with even a cursory glance at the latest opinion polls, would itself already have made. High on the parliamentary hill, Cabrer, the lonely goatherd, yodelled a lament which demonstrated that she and the party are genuinely rattled, and the ones who have been doing the rattling are Podemos. Mabel from her table warned of the dire consequences of Podemosism. “It represents a very dangerous alternative.” “It would cause a total break with the model .. of Spanish democracy.” Which, Mabel may not have noticed, is what Podemos are all about: a new model, one that would prefer to see the back of the discredited two-party model of which she is a member.
Alarmed by the prospect that she will almost certainly be out of a job after May, Mabel called for the election debate to be “high”, which would make for something of a change for most current political debate in Majorca. She also demanded that this debate was not sullied by insults and defamations. Ah yes, insults, something Mabel knows all about, as in when she called opponents of the Partido Popular’s discount card Nazis and was later forced to apologise. Insults, however, aren’t what they used to be, as Bauzá discovered when he took Lorenzo Bravo, the general secretary of the UGT union, to court for having called him a fascist, among other things. The courts found in Bravo’s favour, and these were courts. Bauzá took the matter to the Balearics High Court, having not got satisfaction from lower courts, but the decision remained the same: freedom of expression outweighed apparent impugning of honour. And now, a court in Palma has concluded that the “hijo de puta” insult has lost its meaning and is not injurious. The court reached its decision in a case involving two workers at an unnamed organisation who got into an argument. One called the other a “hijo de puta”, so he was denounced. With all this in mind, therefore, let the election campaign be full of insults. Nazis, anyone?
The little train now standing in Sant Llorenç
Back in August, I wrote about the strange case of the Sant Llorenç mini tourist train. It was the middle of August and the little train was in the sidings, where it had been all summer long. The problem lay with the awarding of the contract and the ability of the contract winner to meet the terms and conditions, for example having a proper garage to store the train. Well now, and for the last couple of weeks, the little train has been operating. Better late than never, one guesses, but starting the service in October is not quite how little tourist trains are supposed to operate. And in fact, the contractors still haven’t complied with all the documentary necessities required by Sant Llorenç town hall, so they have been running the little train without a proper licence. The mayor, Mateu Puigròs, who has been denounced for irregularities surrounding the contract by the company which lost out, has admitted that the contract may have to be cancelled. Never mind eh, there’s always next summer.