Plundering and blundering
Oh my God. To plunder once, as Lady Bracknell didn’t say, may be regarded as a bit of cock-up; to plunder twice looks like you mean it. How good is your Spanish? Would you be able to distinguish between the verbs “sacar” and “saquear”? You could be forgiven if you were not able to. But, the national secretary-general of the Partido Popular and the president of Castilla-La Mancha? Oh my God. Dear Dolly was at it again: Maria Dolores Cospedal, throwing the PP what might be termed a Cospedal pass. “We have worked hard in plundering our country.” Honestly, this is what she said at a meeting in Guadalajara on 17 April; the gaffe only really coming to light and having been given the attention it deserved last week. What she had meant to say was - “we have worked hard in moving our country forward” - but because she got her “sacar” and “saquear” muddled up, she didn’t say this.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Dolly has stumbled over these verbs. In 2012, she was announcing policies that would plunder (or loot, if you prefer) Castilla-La Mancha. Over the course of three years, Dolly’s ambitions for looting have increased substantially. Not content with a single region, she’s having away with the treasures of an entire nation. What a girl.
At a time when it was emerging that Rajoy’s old mate (no longer a mate), Rodrigo Rato, had been not so much a rat who had left a sinking ship but - allegedly - one who had rammed it with his pirates’ ship, boarded it, deprived it of all its vast horde of pieces of eight and had then set fire to it, Dolly’s mixture of verbs was especially unfortunate. Or perhaps it was entirely appropriate. The Pirate Plunderers of the PP: it has a ring to it. Major-General Matas, The Pirate King Bárcenas, and many a Pirate Apprentice: “They are the very model of the modern political party”.
Linguistic balls-ups by PP prominenti are of course not uncommon. A fine example of the genre was that of erstwhile education minister in the Balearics, Joana Camps. She trampled her heavy boots all over the PISA Programme for International Student Assessment by believing that PISA was in fact the Spanish verb to tread, which she then duly translated into Catalan, thus compounding the error and turning herself into a laughing-stock (which admittedly wasn’t that difficult).
Joana should have been demanding double geography lessons for her colleagues in the party, as there have been the geographical gaffes as well. Take Mariano Rajoy, for example. Prime minister of Spain. Should have a reasonable grasp on the subject, you would think. Not when it comes to Majorca, he doesn’t. Hence, he referred to the island of Palma. And, blow me, Dolly has the same sort of problem. The day after she was boasting about all the plundering, she was at a meeting in Extremadura. Or was she? According to her, Las Hurdes, which is where she was, is in Andalusia. It isn’t.
Taxes and minority government
Back on the island of Palma, José Ramón was hunting frantically for treasures to be offered to a gullible electorate. When all else fails, and it mainly has, there is always the tax-cut card to play, and so he played it. There is a catch of course. You have to vote for him. But if you do, then you will enjoy, as an example, a 20% reduction in the tax on water. What Bauzá failed to mention was that this tax, which in certain instances doubled households’ water bills, was one his government introduced, and it did so as part of a package of green taxes, none of which were eventually implemented other than the water tax. And why weren’t they? Well, they would have affected the likes of AlCampo, Mercadona and other large retailers, and they threatened to take the government to court if it introduced the taxes. So, the green taxes were duly scrapped, except for one. With the elections just a month away, a possibility has arisen that hadn’t until last week been given much prominence. Andreu Grimalt of the research organisation Gadeso suggested that Bauzá might just hang on and form a minority government with the initial support of Ciudadanos (C’s). Grimalt hypothesised that the C’s might do this but then withdraw support in time for the national election. Ciudadanos, as with Podemos, are rather more interested in the general election than the regionals and so would not wish to be associated with the PP come general election time. His argument is a bit odd: why would the C’s bother with giving initial support then?
In fact, it is possible that the PP could form a minority government without any support (this is what seems to be happening in Andalusia with PSOE). If Podemos and the C’s are true to their word and do not create pacts, then - according to current opinion polls - neither the PP nor PSOE would be in a position to form a majority coalition. The C’s presidential candidate in the Balearics, Xavier Pericay, said last week that there would be no pacts unless the C’s gained the most votes. And this is not going to happen.
Not living the high life
It was all a bit odd. There was this Highlife Mallorca Luxury Fair thing that was due to have been taking place at Es Baluard this weekend. It was cancelled at the last minute. For reasons “beyond our control”. Maybe all the highlife had suddenly decamped to Soller to get a glimpse of Lewis Hamilton in his underwear. Or maybe there is less highlife in Majorca than we are led to believe. If not a highlife fair, might there be some scope for a lowlife event? It certainly wouldn’t need to cost very much. Indeed, it could probably be staged for free, just as the nightly lowlife fair in Magalluf is: the one involving the so-called prostitutes.
The local police in Calvia went to great lengths during the week in explaining how it has been improving the prostitute situation. 4,211 hours of police time were dedicated to prostitution control last year. The number of prostitutes on the streets in 2014 was down by roughly 50% over the previous year. There were a mere ten prostitutes on the streets over Easter.
The trouble, for many people in Magalluf, is believing all this, just as it is difficult for them to believe that the police cannot prevent prostitution (even when it is a blatant front for criminal activity). And just as it is difficult for bar owners to believe that Calvia’s new controls are anything other than for the benefit of hotels and large club owners and are discriminatory towards them. There are going to be protests.