Unity and boycotts
Catalonia again dominated the headlines. Carles Puigdemont stopped short of declaring independence but nonetheless drew a request from Madrid which asked him if he had indeed made a declaration. With Rajoy in apparently no mood to enter into the dialogue that mostly everyone was suggesting, the different sides of the argument made their feelings known in Majorca. A pro-unity rally in Palma last weekend was followed by a much smaller one on National Day. Some 350 people marched through the city, with the sound of Manolo Escobar's Y Viva España to accompany them. Amidst the to-be-expected demands for Puigdemont to be sent to prison, there was the somewhat bizarre call for the Majorcan claim on Christopher Columbus.
The day before this march, the national government delegate, Maria Salom, took aim at the Balearic government and accused it of undermining national identity. President Armengol looked highly uncomfortable, the tension between her and Salom was highly evident, and the chief of the Guardia Civil meanwhile expressed solidarity with colleagues in Catalonia.
Earlier in the week, concerns were being aired about a boycotting of Catalonian goods. By the end of the week these concerns seemed real enough. The association for distribution companies in the Balearics was saying that requests for a boycott were coming from the hotel, restaurant and supermarket sectors.
The tourism ministry's good work
Tourism minister Biel Barceló, who can't avoid being in the news on a regular basis, faced renewed calls for his resignation. This followed what was a resignation: that of an old friend of his, Pere Muñoz, the director of the Balearic Tourism Agency. Muñoz is one of four officials (including a former minister) under suspicion with regard to contracts awarded to Jaume Garau, who was the 2015 election campaign manager for Més. The contracts affair has dogged Barceló for months.
Against this background the tourism minister announced that he and his ministry have been doing good work, suggesting that seeking limits to the number of tourists was a key aspect of this good work. His claim of good work was something of a red rag to a bull where some Bulletin readers were concerned.
Allthough Muñoz won't officially step down from his position until early next month, it was clear that he was being kept out of the limelight. Rather than he, it was Barceló who made a further announcement - a campaign to spend 36,000 euros on promoting two-day inter-island packages, with the emphasis on culture and gastronomy. It was all to do with, no surprise here, tackling seasonality and therefore boosting the low season.
The fight against false claims for holiday sickness compensation made by British holidaymakers took a giant step forward. Thomas Cook's prosecution of a couple who had made claims against the Globales America hotel in Calas de Mallorca ended with prison sentences. This court case will surely have a far greater impact than all the campaigns that have been launched and the demands made on the British judicial system. With the net tightening around claims farmers and holidaymaker fraud, Majorca now waits with interest to learn what developments there might be following the arrests of those accused of inspiring the scams here. It was perhaps revealing that when the Guardia Civil's colonel-in-chief, Jaume Barceló, gave his speech during the week, he specifically referred to the Guardia's operation on false claims.
In other news, the Guardia were once more being kept busy picking up illegal immigrants off Cabrera (there's someone getting rich in exploiting those who make these pathetic attempts); Mohamed Harrak, arrested in Palma in April 2016 and suspected of having been a recruiter for so-called Islamic State, was acquitted; French air-traffic controllers again caused some flight disruption; and the strange case of the Cala Llamp apartments' demolition raised legitimate questions about compensation.
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