A minor issue to do with a referendum, nothing of any significance in terms of winter flights and tourism, nobody in court, tourist tax causing no stir. This was not the week in the Bulletin. Instead ...
Sunday: "We want our say, please." Tuesday: "One million British citizens out in the cold." Thursday: "Thousands of British expats battle for the right to vote." Friday: "Surge in expats wanting to register to vote in European referendum." Saturday: "The government believes expats should retain their right to vote as long as they remain UK citizens." Yes, it was Referendum Fever in the Bulletin last week.
On Sunday, Jason Moore issued an open letter to David Cameron (who, we were to learn from Peter Newey, former chairman of Conservatives Abroad - Majorca Branch, on Friday, will be receiving a copy). On Tuesday, the 15-year voting rule was being cranked up, as was the means for those who can register to vote. Sir Roger Gale turned his back on Euroscepticism on Wednesday and declared that he would be voting to stay in on behalf of his grandchildren. Bu there could be no guarantees for expats, suggested Sir Roger. By Thursday, the numbers were growing on a petition for the right to vote. On Friday, the British ambassador, Simon Manley, was urging those who could vote to do so: "a once-in-a-generation opportunity". And by Saturday we were to discover that the British government would happily scrap the 15-year role but won't be able to in time for the referendum. Which is what we already knew.
In addition to the surge of expats registering to vote, there was a surge of letters and comments on the issue. Pensions, health care, the fall in the value of sterling; these were among some of the issues of a more practical variety. Alongside them were the strident or more moderate voices saying in or out. Plus, it has to be said, one or two somewhat critical remarks in the general direction of expats. Jason Moore had been right on Sunday when he had observed that "expats" don't get a great press in Britain. Indeed so. Or as Andrew Ede suggested, "expat" was a pejorative with which to attack Britons who have the temerity to wish to live somewhere else.
Referendum Fever, one fancies, will be a constant theme from now until June and probably well beyond.
Mel Gibson suddenly invaded the front pages. There he was on Wednesday together with a declaration of victory and freedom for the people of Scotland. No, it wasn't independence and nor was Gibson's Wallace shown baring his backside to the English troops. It was in fact a form of Celtic fraternity and solidarity being shown by Ryanair. Two weekly flights in winter from Edinburgh will be winging their way to Palma. It was a vindication of the long-running campaign by this newspaper for more flights and for the promotion of winter tourism. Jason Moore observed on Saturday that "momentum was gathering" and meanwhile in Puerto Pollensa there had been a meeting to address the very issue of winter tourism. And for that resort, with its long association with Scotland, the Ryanair announcement came as a major boost.
Urdangarin doesn't know
In the ongoing Nóos trial in Palma, the court finally got to hear from the husband of Princess Cristina, Iñaki Urdangarin. His appearance had been delayed until lunchtime on Friday because of three and a half days of cross-examination of his one-time business partner, Diego Torres, who had been steadfast in not dropping the princess in it but making it clear that the Royal Household knew all about what was going on with Nóos and approving things, even payment for computer printers. When the moment came for Urdangarin to speak, he said that he didn't know about invoices that Nóos had raised. The invoices are at the heart of the case, as they suggest that Nóos was paid greatly over the odds for work it had undertaken.
Tourist tax for seniors
And an interesting diversion in the tourist tax row. The director-general for tourism in the Balearics, Pilar Carbonell, was reported on Tuesday as saying that revenue might go towards an off-season travel plan for Balearic senior citizens. The following day, there was an indignant letter that addressed this suggestion. M. Vane Percy of Portals Nous asked how dare Carbonell propose that a portion of the revenue be spent in this way. Others were asking much the same question.
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