TIL eco death do us part
It was, surprisingly, Jaume Font who got in one of the best one-liners. “Don’t make a TIL out of tourism.” The veteran regionalist was advising Francina against allowing the eco-tax to divide the Balearics in the same way that Bauzá had allowed the islands to be separated by far more than simply water over the idiotically implemented TIL of trilingual teaching. It could have been, of course, that no one would have noticed. Jaume was after the Lord Mayor’s Show. The big-hitters had their goes before lunch on the second day of the interminable proceedings before getting to the reason why they were all making tedious presentations - Frankie’s investiture. Into the graveyard slot, therefore, walked Jaume, making a display of his veteran status by eschewing the contemporary political mode de jour and actually wearing a tie. Further veteran status was confirmed the moment he started to speak. Here was an old-school Majorcan politician, hewn from the tuberous crop of the Catalan heartland and with the accent to match: the potato mouth-filled, impenetrable ruralness of Sa Pobla.
Jaume needed something to wake them all up following the menu del día in the parliamentary canteen. They’ d been falling asleep until TIL. Jaume does of course have a point, but the potential divisiveness of the eco-tax may be more evident within Frankie’s coalition than within society at large (most of whom, as in being Majorcans, actually support a tax): there will not be huge demonstrations demanding an end to Eco Mark II as there were to toss TIL aside.
The potential for the Armengol amalgamation to de-construct was inherent in the warning issued by Alberto Jarabo, the Dave Spart of the “progressive” pact in which he isn’t actually a direct governmental participant. Dave was on-message with the fashion statement - neither tie nor jacket (see, I told you he probably didn’t own a suit) - while clinging desperately to the sides of the lectern in issuing a speech of such gabblement that it was hard to know what he was on about. Maybe it was because Catalan isn’t his native tongue.
More likely, he knew the eyes of the world were on him. Or rather the likes of myself who would switch on for a time and then switch off, appreciating that life really is too short. But there was the warning. Break agreements, firebrand Dave told Frankie, and we won’t be besties any longer. Eco-tax it will be then, Francina. Dave (and Biel) have ordered it.
The making of Marga
They were two gruelling days, especially for Xelo Huertas, sprung from obscurity into the limelight of parliamentary presidency, aka Speaker-dom. There was no avoiding the camera for Xelo. She was immediately behind each leader or spokesperson as they droned on and on, desperately trying to look interested, except when she would disappear for a time. Comfort breaks, is that what they call them? In absentia, she would be substituted by PSOE’s professorial-demeanoured Vicenç Thomás who otherwise, to Xelo’s left (appropriately enough), spent two days contemplating the parliamentary ceiling. To Xelo’s right, therefore, was Maria Salom, with whom she seemed to be on surprisingly chummy terms, often turning, shielding her mouth with her hand and having a word or several. What about? Perhaps she was asking for fashion tips. Maria, maintaining a determined, stern look in order to prevent the eyelids from drooping while the likes of Dave were in mid-rant, probably suggested to Xelo that she have a word with the PP spokesperson, Marga Prohens. Bauzá, so beaten up by his party colleagues, uttered nary a word throughout the whole debate, leaving it all to Marga. Assiduously taking notes that he could pass to Marga for her to then sprout, he would have been proud that one of the Bauzá babes was leading the PP charge against the progressive pact. But why was it Marga and not, for example, Nuria Riera or Mabel at the Table Cabrer? True, Marga was higher up the voting list than these two, but one fancies there was more to it than this. The image-makers had decreed it, and they were not wrong. Even the male feminists of Més and Podemos must have been prone to secret sexist thoughts. Wish she was one of ours. As the regional PP lurches towards its regional congress to elect a full-time successor to Bauzá (probably not until January), the bookies have been offering names like Biel Company and Mateo Isern, but were the two days in parliament an audition for Marga? Mateo may be a friendly soul, Company may be highly competent, but I’d personally boot my copy of “Das Kapital” into the Med if it were Marga.
Biel’s Ten Commandments
Of course, while Dave wields the Podemos Sword of Damocles over Francina’s head, very much closer to Armengol is Biel Barceló. The man from Més, the new vice-president, is the one who’ll be wearing the trousers in the pact’s ménage à trois if not the tie (he did bow to some convention, unlike Dave, by having a jacket on). Biel identified the ten challenges for the new government, or rather his Ten Commandments, the Barceló Behests.
Thou shalt have an eco-tax, and Biel will be the one to introduce it, having snaffled the tourism gig.
As part of the support for public services, Biel, sorry Francina, has created a new ministry that combines culture with participation and transparency, and part of this mixture is our old favourite “linguistic normalisation”, which will mean that everyone will have to speak Catalan or they’ll be put up against the wall.
The forgotten man of the investiture debate, Xavier Pericay of Ciudadanos (forgotten because, well, everyone had forgotten about him), railed against the return to an “immersion” in Catalan. Unfortunately for Xavier and also for anyone who might consider that there should be greater balance between the two languages, he will find himself immersed and drowned out by the pact, by Jaume Font’s El Pi and by many within the PP, those who took exception to Bauzáism. Immersion, rather like the eco-tax, it is going to be, and Biel has handed the task to Esperança Camps, who isn’t a politician as such. She is a journalist, and a telly one at that. Esperança, barely even requiring a Barceló Behest, has already decreed that the IB3 broadcaster revert to the Catalan normalisation that Bauzáism had undone.
Meanwhile, Biel, sorry Francina, has already decreed that the TIL decree is no more. Time for everyone to put the green t-shirts away therefore. Until next time.