The Guardia Civil helicopter was used for Pedro Sánchez in Majorca.

23-01-2020Moncloa / Borja Puig

The helicopter storm
It did have the feel of a somewhat manufactured controversy, and it had apparently originated from a media source not commonly known for being sympathetic to the left. Pedro Sánchez had come to Majorca to survey the damage caused by Storm Gloria. He was taken to see this in the Guardia Civil's helicopter. There was, therefore, scope for headlines of a PM rides into a storm nature, and this was because it was said that the helicopter had been diverted from being used in the search for David Cabrera, who went missing almost two weeks ago.

The explanations given about how the helicopter was being used in the search weren't, it has to be said, entirely convincing. But otherwise, the fuss caused by the Sánchez use did seem rather overblown. Political capital was being sought, but this came to an abrupt halt when the family of David Cabrera issued a statement saying how "repugnant" this politicking was.

A side issue of this affair might be that the Guardia Civil could do with having more helicopters.


Paying for Storm Gloria
Another member of the Spanish government, the interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, was in Majorca to assess the damage (there were no reports about helicopter use). Sixteen million euros, he reckoned, would be needed to repair all the damage in the Balearics, and much of this repair is urgent. Many beaches and promenades were badly affected; the tourism season will be upon us before we know it.

Manacor town hall came up with a cost of 3.8 million euros, with hefty amounts needed for Porto Cristo and S'Illot in particular. It may well be that the town hall doesn't have to spend its own money. Manacor was one of 21 municipalities in Majorca for which the Balearic government was asking Madrid for "disaster area" funding. Sant Llorenç was another, and the town hall there was pleading for almost one million euros; 400,000 of them for Cala Millor.

Madrid has promised to sort out the aid pronto, but then we've heard that before, as with the October 2018 floods. Meanwhile, the European Parliament was urging EU solidarity funds to be made available.


Rejecting the tourist tax appeal
It was that long ago we'd forgotten about it. Two months after the tourist tax was introduced, the Majorca Hoteliers Federation stated that it would be requesting a judicial review. This was accepted by the Balearic High Court, which finally came to a decision. It rejected the federation's grounds for challenging the legality of the tax.

This wasn't altogether surprising. There had been a legal challenge to the original ecotax, and that never got anywhere, albeit that the tax didn't get very far either; it was scrapped eighteen months after it was introduced in 2002. Why had the federation been more confident this time?

The federation was hopeful of European precedent being applied. It wasn't. There is the possibility of taking the matter to the Supreme Court. But would this be futile? Not necessarily. Whereas the Supreme Court rarely upholds appeals in criminal cases, it often takes a different view on matters of legal interpretation.


Coronavirus panic
Coronavirus was making itself felt in Majorca, but only indirectly. One way was with the Costa Smeralda. It was almost inevitable that the cruise ship would get caught up in the coronavirus scare. It had been announced that there were many Chinese on board and that the ship was heading for Palma. But it was once the ship had left that the panic occurred. A Chinese woman had symptoms. The Italian authorities wouldn't let anyone disembark, but it was then found that the woman had the common flu. Given the scare, though, it was right that there should have been precautions.


Allen Graham
In the space of a month, we have had the very sad news of the passing of two members of the British community in Majorca who gave so much to so many. First it was Robert Winsor, and now it was Allen Graham, who had founded the Allen Graham Charity 4 Kidz in 1992. The charity has since helped hundreds of children of all nationalities and backgrounds.

A very sad loss. RIP.

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