The shady Cursach case
The corruption cases involving Jaume Matas, Maria Munar, Iñaki Urdangarin and others have had nothing on the Cursach case. It's in a league of its own, and developments last week only served to emphasise this. Three hundred people protested outside the court on Monday when Tolo Cursach made his first court appearance since his arrest. The protesters' targets were the investigating judge, Manuel Penalva, and the prosecutor, Miguel Ángel Subirán. A banner complained about corruption in the court of instruction. Demands were being made for Penalva and Subirán to be disqualified and arrested. Judge and prosecutor, it was claimed, had manipulated evidence.
The protesters - Cursach cheerleaders, one had to conclude - were just an example of the whole shady atmosphere that surrounds the case. Manipulation, "questionable truths", discredited testimony, the likely recusal of Judge Penalva: these were factors last week, and they were an extension of others over the past few months, such as the threats and the witness statements of the likes of the Son Banya drugs baron, "El Ico". Where's the case heading? Last week suggested that it can only get more shady, and because of the possibility of Penalva being removed, the case went into limbo.
No drama with the tourist tax
Biel Barceló proudly told parliament's tourism committee that 79% of projects with 2016 tourist-tax funding were under way. As ever, a Balearic politician was blinding us all with a percentage, and an exact one at that: not 80% but 79%. What about the remaining 21%? He didn't say. Otherwise, the minister explained - again - that investment from tourist tax revenue was all to do with social justice and setting right the "ecological footprint of tourism". Reader reaction to this, it has to be said, was less than impressed.
Andratx town hall didn't seem overly concerned with this footprint. It was the latest town hall to demand direct funding for town halls from the tax revenue. Palma was one to have previously made this demand, and this was obliged with the 2017 divvying-out. Palma's political make-up mirrors that of the government. In Andratx, PSOE and Més are in opposition and chose to vote against the Partido Popular-El Pi motion, which decried the fact that Andratx proposals for funding had been rejected for two consecutive years. Making demands for direct funding (or opposing these demands) appears to depend on who's running the town hall show.
The new director-general of tourism, Antoni Sansó, let it be known that it wouldn't be a "drama" if Majorca were to lose one million tourists because of the increased tourist tax. He regretted the fact that dispensing with the original ecotax of 2002-2003 had been "catastrophic". We noted that the PSM Majorcan Socialists, who are the principal element of his party, Més, had in fact sought to delay the introduction of the old ecotax. They had been worried about the loss of tourists. Now there is no worry, or not where the director-general is concerned at any rate.
The weather was pretty catastrophic. Heavy rain caused traffic problems in Palma and, by the by, we learned that Palma rush-hour jams in the off-season are worse than in the summer. The school run, of which there isn't one for three months in summer, seems to be the main reason for this. With the temperature plunging, social services rolled out their protocol for helping the homeless. The Es Refugi association, which does its own excellent work for the poor, the needy and the socially excluded, held its Christmas market. It was a pity that the market coincided with the weather having been so foul.
The police were their normal busy selves last week. There was the sad case in Palma of the 42-year-old woman who killed her 13-year-old son. The National Police Homicide Squad went to the scene, but it was a clear case of the woman having committed suicide through carbon dioxide inhalation. Investigators were trying to establish if the boy had been sedated before he died from inhaling the gas.
Calvia police and the Guardia Civil mounted controls after three armed robbers got away with jewellery and watches valued at over one million euros from a Puerto Portals jewellers. It was the second time that the shop had been hit in this way. One wonders about the insurance premiums. And Calvia police were out in force to try and prevent another mass brawl in the normally untroubled Paguera.
Melody Maker and camping
In other news, we looked at how the Melody Maker music paper has become a hotel brand. Javier Hidalgo of Globalia (Be Live Hotels) acquired the rights to the name, the paper having folded in 2000. It has re-emerged as a niche brand, with the Melody Maker Cancún being the first hotel.
There were also the annual Spanish camping awards, absent from which were any Balearic businesses. While there is some tourism camping in Ibiza, there is none in Majorca. A law of 1986 made camping businesses pretty much untenable because of the requirements that were set out.