By Andrew Ede
Sorry seems to be the easiest word
Reluctant though I am to use clichéd metaphor, for once I shall. You wait forever for a politician to apologise for something and, blow me, two apologies come along at once. First we had Mariano saying sorry for the albeit few and small instances of corruption committed by members of his otherwise whiter-than-white party, and now we have José Ramón requesting forgiveness from a Balearics public that has been collapsing outside health centres of a collapsing health service because there’s no doctor or nurse in the house.
Apology or no apology, there was no “chaos” in the health service, said the president, accusing the opposition of having said there was, to which the opposition - in the form of battling Més socialist, Biel Barceló - replied that it wasn’t the opposition which had used the c-word but the media; not that it really matters who used it. Let’s just say that the health service has endured a period during which it has functioned with less than full efficiency, which may be a way of saying that there has been chaos but isn’t quite as headline-grabbing.
Joserra’s apology amounted to apportioning blame to the health service’s new computer system. Neither he nor the health minister, the boy Martí who first came up with the computer excuse, has said if any heads are rolling for the computer system having taken it upon itself to block temporary appointments. But then, what more should the public expect? It has its apology, so now all is fine. Not that this is how Barceló sees things.
The College of Nursing, he informed the president, says that its members are overhwhelmed at work each day and that closure of centres was indeed due to a lack of funding. And joining the fray, we now have the CCOO union reckoning that the whole of the social services on the island are set to go totally belly-up some time in the next few months. If they do, then this will presumably also be due to a computer error.
With all attention having been concentrated on the no-staff-available notices sellotaped to the doors of the island’s health centres, everyone has quite forgotten about the schools and which languages the government has said the kids should be taught in this week. Everyone, that is, except for someone with whom you may be less than familiar - Soledad Becerril, the Ombudsman, or rather the Ombudswoman, the Defensora del Pueblo de España.
The fact that Sra. Becerril has held high political office because of her membership of the Partido Popular has not prevented her from demanding information from the PP regional education ministry regarding the implementation of the TIL trilingual teaching system. Indeed, she has been asking for information since February and been getting absolutely nowhere. The ministry, as with any other public authority, is in fact obliged by law to meet requests for information by the Ombudsperson, especially when they are of an urgent nature and have been influenced by court judgements, which is the case with TIL. As the information has not been forthcoming, Sra. Becerril is threatening to denounce the ministry and thus the Balearic Government to the attorney-general on the grounds that it has been “disobedient”.
So, maybe education minister, Nuria Riera, will apologise to the Ombudsperson and blame it all on a problem with the computer system. Her ministry’s disobedience comes in the same week as another act of disobedience, that of Catalonia’s Artur Mas; you see, like apologies, disobediences all come along at the same time. The attorney-general is looking into Artur’s disobedience over the rather pointless independence consultation thing which occurred in Catalonia. And what do we do, Artur, when we are in the naughty chair? We say sorry, don’t we. Or probably not.
A hateful society
Someone who certainly isn’t saying sorry is Bauzá foe and one-time member of the PP, Manacor’s current mayor, Antoni Pastor. He doesn’t have anything to say sorry for, unless he was truly inclined to ask to be rehabilitated into the PP following his excommunication for disobedience. And he shows absolutely no sign of being so inclined or indeed of making conciliatory noises.
Quite the opposite in fact. He went on the attack last week, dismissing PP-ites in Manacor as mere “acolytes” and “altar boys” of Bauzá, saying that the government had brought “hate” to a society which had never seen its like, and adding that he was intending to stay in politics in order to ensure that Bauzá doesn’t return to government.
Quite what this stay will entail isn’t as yet entirely clear, but bridges once burnt with the PP and now set aflame again, his colours are firmly nailed to the mast of the El Pi party. So he could run as mayor for them. Or he might eye up something else.
The trouble for Pastor is, and El Pi must know this, they may not even manage to obtain a single seat in parliament next time. The party said last week that it wouldn’t be making any pact with the PP, but it might not be in a position to make a pact.
Blame it on the wind
It was an odd week for things falling over or disappearing. The statue of the only Majorcan to have been Spanish prime minister (and on no less than five occasions), Antoni Maura, fell victim to the storm of Tuesday night. The old boy was knocked from his pedestal by a branch torn from the giant fig tree in the Plaça Mercat.
He was unharmed and will remain in storage in anticipation of being raised again in what his family hope will be a more prominent location. Fascinating chap old Maura. A liberal who became a conservative, he was chiefly responsible for the events of Tragic Week in Barcelona in 1909 when up to 150 people were killed by troops brought in from outside the city to quell an uprising against a call-up to fight in Morocco. His name lent itself to the right-wing and often violent Maurists, who were to become supporters of the first dictator, Miguel Primo de Rivera.
Wind may also be the culprit behind the strange story of the disappearing bell of the chapel in Ses Covetes, Campos. It would seem that no one is too sure when it actually did disappear, but by last weekend the AWOL bell had become the talk of the village and the subject of a police investigation.
Wind, it was suggested, could have blown the bell from its yoke, but wind alone couldn’t have made it disappear. Person or persons unknown would appear to have taken a fancy to the dislodged bell, or they may simply have climbed up and nicked it. So, if you happen to see a bell being flogged at a local car-boot sale, it could be the one from Ses Covetes. It’s easily identifiable, as it has an inscription as to its donation to the chapel on 10 July, 1913.