Part of the 2020 Christmas lights in Palma. | Archive

Have yourselves a vaxxing normal Christmas

Iago Negueruela didn't suggest that getting vaccinated is a gift at Christmas, as he was rather more to the point - getting vaccinated is a duty of citizenship. The minister for the economic model, tourism and employment as well as the rest of the government were operating on the assumption of there being a normal Christmas, as normal as it can be, but there was little mistaking the underlying threat that it might not be. In order to limit the risk, those who haven't been vaccinated should get jabbed now.

Vaccination encouragement was present at the Dijous Bo fair, and it was driven in on the health ministry's 'Vacubus'. Pointing the unvaxxed in the general direction of the bus, President Armengol spoke of a transitional fair - before and after Covid. The after could be witnessed by non-social distancing crowds, but the meanwhile was still being urged by the wearing of masks.

A Christmas tree lit up like a Christmas tree

Palma's citizen participation councillor, Alberto Jarabo, unveiled plans for the Christmas lights and shows - all supported by a healthy budget of 1,076,400 euros - but didn't promise a vaccination bus lit up like ... well, like a Christmas tree, as that was going in the Parc de la Mar. Lights will otherwise be everywhere, and they will represent hope of a return to normality, albeit - as the councillor was at pains to point out - this normality will be accompanied by social distancing (rather more than at Dijous Bo perhaps) and masks.

Four hundred kilometres of lights

Jarabo's town hall colleague, Angelica Pastor from the infrastructure department, proudly outlined how many lights there will be and how long all the Christmas garlands wrapped around trees will be - 415 kilometres. Really!? The councillor was unable to put a figure on the electricity bill for all this, noting that the lights are all low consumption. She said that she couldn't imagine there would be a major impact, but followed this up by observing that "we'll have to wait till we get the bill", thus hinting that the impact might in fact prove to be more major than minor.

Make sure the bill's paid

With any luck, the lights will stay on (unless the bill isn't paid). The minister for energy transition, Juan Pedro Yllanes, dismissed talk of major blackouts in Mallorca or Spain as "fake news". So sure was he that the lights won't go off that he admitted there was no contingency plan in the event that there is a massive blackout. Despite the lack of a contingency plan, the minister added that the government was working on a civil protection plan. And what will this entail? Stockpiling candles to be distributed to the citizens?

Energy sovereignty will eliminate risks, insisted the minister, whose sovereignty is pretty much 100% solar. Photovoltaic projects, he said, will come replete with storage, which will be just as well for those times such as now when the sun has barely shone for Lord knows how long.

The soaring cost of electricity and fuel having brought about an historic rise in the consumer price index, Iago Negueruela moved on from vaccination to the price of basics. They will not be going up by 20%, he assured us, the Mallorca Chamber of Commerce having come up with a report suggesting that they will be.

The flexible tourist tax

If the citizens struggle even further to make ends meet because of these higher prices, might minister Negueruela turn to another part of his vast ministerial empire and hand out aid drawn from tourist tax revenue? This would be as good a justification as any for spending the revenue, as it became apparent that it can go on whatever the government likes, such as almost 600 grand for music awards and dragging Ed Sheeran over to Mallorca to perform a couple of tunes.

It was possible to believe that the vault which houses the tourist tax cash will be bulging at the seams next year. It was said that the best summer in history beckons (so long as vaxxing normality has worked). If so, it will be one without any youthful British tourists who fancy coming to the island in order to misbehave.

The government and the Foreign Office, it was reported, will be launching a campaign to tackle British tourism of excesses. Funny, hadn't this been announced a few weeks ago?