By Andrew Ede
Days of the seagull
“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.” It’s been a good week for seagulls. Take, for example, poor old Henry “Blowers” Blofeld, a man who single-handedly has done more for pigeon and seagull life than any other commentator in the history of sport. And what happens?
Having been prosaic in his admiration of seagulls at the Swalec in between Joe Root putting Mad Mitch to the sword, he steps out of the stadium and Jonathan Livingston promptly deposits his lunch over him from a great height.
Metaphorically speaking, they were waving their hankies at Palma’s dockside to wish José Ramón bon voyage, he having been splattered upon from a less than great height, before they - thankful for his departure - turned their attention to a celebratory sardine barbecue. Bye, bye, Bauzá. Off to Madrid you go. The seagulls followed the trawler with its forlorn traveller but could dine out on no more than the scraps of a political career shredded and cast to the seven seas.
Would Eric Cantona play JR in the story of his rise and fall? Doubtful. Eric is a man of social conscience and besides JR never aimed a karate kick at anyone, not even Mateo Isern. The pathos might appeal to Eric though. Sent into exile in the senate where former presidents of the Balearics go to be forgotten: José Ramón and Francesc Antich, politically divided but united in their memories of failure.
The denouement, the final act of airbrushing, save for the seat in the corner of the senate chamber, was the Partido Popular’s conference in Madrid. JR had hoped to go there still able to puff his chest out as regional leader, to be able to announce to the party faithful that it had been he who had turned the Balearics into the motor of Spanish economic regeneration. He wasn’t allowed to. Yes, he did say this at a forum but not at the main event. PP high command didn’t want him anywhere near the stage.
They were aware of the pestilence that had left the Balearic PP enervated, rudderless, flapping around like seagulls desperately hunting for a temporary leader on which they could swoop, spying one who would then hurriedly bury himself in the sand. No one seems to want the job, not even the regional secretary-general, Miquel Vidal, to whom high command afforded the honour of centre stage rather than Bauzá.
Consequently, JR was not able to join in the celebrations at the great unveiling. When all else fails and it has, except for the bribery of tax cuts, it’s time for a new logo. Revival for the PP prior to the general election comes in the form of less seagull than previously. Ever since the party was formed in the late 1980s, it has symbolically soared but dive-bombed like a seagull, floated on the thermals of alternating fortunes. Now, the seagull has been deprived of the tips of its wings next to the word “populares”, which is admittedly better than “unpopulares”, but experts on such matters consider the new look a “disaster”. Apart from anything else, the two colliding Ps are of a typography very similar to the P of Podemos.
The new logo would have been of minimal interest to JR. Madrid had tried to avoid his humiliation and they succeeded only in heaping more on to him. His Carnival is over. Like the sardine of Shrove Tuesday, he has been buried and consigned to the eternity of a Lent in the senate. His political fasting has begun.
In JR’s own image
And yet, lack of humility as always, Bauzá was there, seeking to manoeuvre a favoured son or daughter into a position of temporary hold of the leadership he had been forced to abdicate. Who wants this though? Miquel Vidal had appeared likely but then said no. He had no desire to be número uno, if only for the interim. It would have been an act of disloyalty to his old boss. The Rotgers - Joan and Pere - attracted the bookies’ attention only to fall at the first. Jeroni Salom, Maria Salom, some bloke from Fornalutx. Nothing doing it seems. They’re running out of candidates.
But JR has one final trick up his sleeve. He may have been ejected with great force by the rebel company led by Biel Company, but what if he could find someone in his own image?
That someone, it emerged, is the former Mayor of Montuiri. How uncanny this was. His name? Jaume Bauzá. The name of his town has eight letters. It starts with an M and ends with an I. So does Marratxi, JR’s old manor. Does the Montuiri Bauzá own a pharmacy as well? What a brilliant scheme by JR. It would be like he was still there after all.
Drowning in deficit
Others were in Madrid last week. They weren’t from the PP. The new face in charge of Balearic finances, Catalina Cladera, headed to the capital for a showdown with the chap who has rather greater finances at his command, the national finance minister, Cristóbal Mount of Gold, sometimes known as Montoro. Balearic PSOE confronted national PP, and there was only ever going to be one winner. No, you cannot increase the deficit, said Cristóbal. Now clear off and get on with sticking to a 0.3% target for 2016. Of course there was absolutely no chance that Catalina would have got her way. And she knew it.
This was all for public consumption and for Més consumption.
Biel Barceló has placed a premium on PSOE negotiations with central government bearing fruit on a better financing package for the Balearics. But he knows that there was no chance either. It was all a charade and a somewhat pointless one at that. Better times lie ahead, however. PP intransigence will be replaced with PSOE beneficence once Pedro Sánchez becomes premier.
Pedro will be elevated to status of conquering hero, victorious over the miserliness of Montoro and the PP, while Catalina’s knockback was designed to allow Francina Armengol to get in her first presidential left hook to the chin of Mariano Rajoy. She demanded that Mariano comply with her previous demand that he meet her, presumably so that he can tell her to clear off as well.
The Balearics are “drowning” because of the ceiling placed on the deficit, opined Francina.
The poor funding of the islands will leave the people in misery and penury, deprived even of sardines. The seagull of the PP won’t even bother to follow the trawler.