By Andrew Ede
The few friends of Joey Ramone
Adios amigos! There aren’t that many amigos left to say adiós to, but just as Joey Ramone and the Ramones signed off with this album title in 1995, so Majorca’s own Joey Ramone Bauzá will be bidding farewell. Adiós or is it adéu? These linguistic niceties matter and will do so more than ever, now that linguistic normalisation, aka Catalan, is to be restored to the virtual absolutist state it had acquired in 2008 under PSOE’s UM and Bloc-browbeaten and terrified Francesc Antich and will be re-stamped over every school book. Majorca’s Joey should brush up on his adiós. Castellano is the preference of the Senate. Actually, he will probably feel at home in the heartland of Castellano and Spanishness, not having to worry about the punks from Més and Podemos he will have left behind. Assuming, that is, that he is elevated to the Senate. Before it became clear that he hadn’t after all had any intention of hanging around any longer than necessary and having to put with the ingrates within the local PP, it had been rumoured that Joey was eyeing up something rather more comfy than a senator’s seat. He was after a government post. Which one? Education? There would have been, however, some slight flaws with this plan, like having presided over the PP’s worst ever election performance. Minor detail admittedly, but when the ministerial appointment board was running through the CV during the interview, explaining how 42.86% of the party’s parliamentary seats had gone missing would still have required some doing. Unless of course he had just left that bit out. Forgotten it, as with when he forgot that he owned a pharmacy business when it came to making his declaration of interests on becoming president. Just an error, it was said at the time.
Former presidents of the Balearics have a habit of getting out quick. In the case of Jaume Matas it was probably because he had an idea of what was coming. No sooner had he suffered defeat in 2007 than he had cleared off to the US, thinking he might be safe. He wasn’t. There wasn’t going to be a senator’s post for Jaume, unlike Antich, despatched to Madrid with a flea in his ear but nonetheless with a degree of goodwill. The same cannot be said for Bauzá. His assumption of being made a senator is a further example of the man’s absence of humility - that humility that the PP was supposedly going to have shown after the kicking at the Euro elections but didn’t. The party’s executive committee might well not see it his way. Too many bridges burned and all that. Too many bodies, like Mateo Isern’s, to forgive. Too much influence still being exerted, as with Maria Salom getting the parliamentary vice-presidency role: an “imposition” by Bauzá, not the option that many wanted. But, ever so humble JR says that he was always going to be working on behalf of the Balearics. He is not deserting, he is going to continue to help and “work for the interests of the Balearics”. The problem for JR is that too few in the party here want him to and, if the barons in Madrid were being totally honest, too few of them want him over there either. Maybe it’s the best of a bad job, though. Send him off to Madrid and everyone can move on and forget about him. Adiós amigos!
Xelo and Castagate
There were some priceless and revealing photos of the ceremonies for parliament’s representatives. One was of a patronising smirk on Joey Ramone’s face during the casting of votes for Xelo Huertas. “Xelo is ... a punk rocker, Xelo is ...” In fact, Xelo couldn’t be further removed from being a punk rocker, but if Bauzá had been thinking who is she, he would have been in good company. There again, he was probably familiar with her. Xelo - and by the way, the name is short for Consuelo - was once director of urban planning on Bauzá’s old manor of Marratxi when PSOE ruled the roost. Ah yes, that Xelo, he was reminding himself. He became councillor for urban planning when the PP took over.
The real smirking, though, was reserved for Castagate. Who was the wag who spoiled his or her vote by writing “Maria Consuelo Huertas. Visca la casta”? Xelo should have got 34 votes from the combined forces of the left, so who was it who denied her the full house? Who was it who insinuated that, Podemos or not Podemos, she was breathing life into the casta, which in this instance was presumably a reference to PSOE, the party of which she was formerly a member? Xelo has said that she will be a parliamentary president (Speaker) without partiality, but you can bank on her now keeping a beady eye out for any hints as to who the miscreant was and paying particular attention to deputies’ handwriting.
Mariano fights back
While the past couple of weeks have all been about Francina, Biel and Alberto in Majorca, nationally they have been about Pedro, Pablo and Albert. Everyone’s been talking about Podemos, PSOE and Ciudadanos.
They had totally forgotten that Mariano was still around. Easily done, it has to be said, but Rajoy suddenly reappeared from the wreckage of the PP strewn across the revolutionary streets of Madrid and elsewhere and reminded the nation that he was still alive and still - for now - the prime minister. Mariano came out fighting, insofar as it is possible to describe the Rajoy limpness as fighting. And how did he fight? By making a cabinet reshuffle.
Yes, he removed those who no one had heard of and had even less interest in and replaced them with others who were equally as anonymous and dull.
The PP will now doubtless storm to victory at the general election.
Far more important was Mariano’s latest giveaways.
Or promises of giveaways. Rather like Bauzá had promised jam for tomorrow, in the form of tax cuts, if he had been re-elected, so Rajoy was dangling the carrot cake of a reduction in income tax, careful to skirt round the insistence of the IMF that Spain should up IVA (VAT) on certain categories - like jam, for example. Will the national electorate fall for this in a way that the Balearic electorate didn’t?
Maybe not, but Mariano may not need promises of tax cuts or cabinet reshuffles.
How will the electorate have looked upon all the horse-trading shenanigans that have followed the regional elections? How might it react to someone like Madrid’s Manuela Carmena saying that pre-election “suggestions” in the Ahora Madrid manifesto were not to have been taken literally?
He doesn’t have long - five months perhaps - but he’ll be hoping for the rapid unravelling of administrations collapsing in a heap.
But there again, maybe miracles will happen and new patchwork governments will be seen to be working. Adiós amigos!