Sunday, December 04, 2016

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 4 December 2016

Morning high (8.20am): 12.7C
Forecast high: 19C; UV: 2
Three-day forecast: 5 December - Cloud, 18C; 6 December - Cloud, sun, 18C; 7 December - Sun, cloud, 17C.

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): East-Southeast 4 increasing 5 in the afternoon.

Another mix of cloud and sun. Rain possible. Tomorrow's looking as though it might be wet.

No We Cannot: Podemos Dissension

Podemos are fast becoming No Podemos - We Cannot. Disappearing rapidly is the curiously Obama-esque positivity, which is being replaced by the squabbles of the over-promoted. Thrust under a political spotlight, the previously unknown and unheard-of are all wanting the light to shine on them. Look at me, look at us. Yes, we can. Oh no we can't.

Montse Seijas, one of the sisterhood of two with Xe-Lo Huertas cast adrift by the politburo in Madrid, has been laying into the Agitpropist-In-Chief, Alberto Jarabo. And that's because it turns out that Alberto isn't as agit as he has previously been made to look. According to Montse, Alberto is in fact weak and selling Podemos out to the revisionist left of Més and, worse still, PSOE. Moreover, so brassed off are Balearic Podemosites with Alberto that he has lost their support. Or so says Montse.

The suspension of Montse and Xe-Lo from the party is, therefore, designed to quash the voices of dissent. Which does, it must say, all sound rather odd, as the suspensions were ordered by the harder left element in Madrid (the Pablo Iglesias faction). But Montse is suggesting that Alberto has gone all soft and is aligning himself more with the Iñigo Errejón wing in Madrid, which is precisely the wing that Montse and Xe-Lo had seemed to be signed up to.

In fact, Alberto doesn't seem to have gone weak at all. Whereas he had said that Podemos wouldn't be seeking changes to the 2017 budget, this is exactly what they are doing, roaring around parliament waving sheets of paper with almost fifty amendments. They don't, for instance, want any more money to go to the university's medical faculty; they've been against it from the outset. And they don't want Biel Barceló spending any money on tourism promotion. The demand is that mostly all the money for promotion - 3.6 million euros - goes instead to innovation and development. Barceló says this is unrealistic, not least because a sizable amount of the promotion budget has already been committed to pay for attendance at travel fairs next year. It's a waste of money, insist Podemos, given that the Balearics are swamped by so many damn tourists as it is.

On a non-financial matter, Podemos have also been wading into the Majorca Day debate. In seeking an alternative to the current day - 12 September - the Council of Majorca has somewhat madly come up with the notion of having two days, one of which would be 31 December, the day when Jaume I took Palma. No, no, no, say Podemos, this will never do, as it would be a tribute to monarchy, something just as bad as supporting a religious act. Hence the day should be 24 April, when the Council of Majorca was constituted in 1979 and would be a celebration far more pointless than the current one. No one much pays any attention to 12 September as it is. Absolutely no one would be interested in 24 April.

Meanwhile, three members of the Podemos citizens' council have resigned because of their support for Montse and Xe-Lo. Others may follow. All the time, someone is keeping very quiet, and that is the Podemos Boot Girl, Laura Camargo. Montse implies that she's privately had it with Alberto as well. Given that she has always been the real power, might there be a putsch? Who can possibly say? Can we? No we can't.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 3 December 2016

Morning high (7.50am): 10.2C
Forecast high: 17C; UV: 2
Three-day forecast: 4 December - Cloud, sun, 19C; 5 December - Cloud, sun, 19C; 6 December - Cloud, sun, 18C.

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): East-Southeast 2 to 3.

Fairly cloudy to start. Expected to remain mostly cloudy. All calm otherwise, which might not be the case tomorrow. Wind forecast to pick up with more chance than today of rain.

Might Mallorca Follow Barcelona's Airbnb Lead?

While we await with great interest what the Balearic government will be proposing with its holiday rentals' legislation, tourism minister Biel Barceló must be keeping a close eye on what is going on in Barcelona. That city, which some time ago opened what amounts to all-out war against accommodation websites, has caused a stir that captured headlines a few days ago - fines of 600,000 euros on both Airbnb and HomeAway. But there was more lurking behind those headlines. Airbnb are accused of having 3,812 advertisements for unlicensed accommodation; HomeAway of having 1,744. Mayor Ada Colau is blunt in her opinion: "It is unacceptable to have thousands of tourist apartments without licences and in an illegal form, without paying taxes and with causing harm to resident communities."

Both these websites, as far as Barcelona is concerned, have failed to collaborate with the town hall (a neat take on the so-called collaborative economy they profess to represent), but it isn't only the town hall which is taking aim at them. Activist groups are openly accusing Airbnb of pretending that profiles of hosts match those of people who rent out in order to make ends meet and pay the mortgage. However, the great majority of adverts are for large owners, the activists claim, and they reckon that Airbnb is also giving instructions on how hosts can avoid inspections.

Activists' accusations about Airbnb in Barcelona aren't new. These groups can now, though, feel bolstered by the latest fines that the town hall has dished out and the size of the fines. The Colau administration and the activists are basically singing from the same hymn sheet.

Airbnb will be appealing against the fine (as will be HomeAway). It appealed when it previously received a 30,000 euros fine, but given that it is now - as it were - a serial offender, Barcelona has slapped the maximum fine that Catalonia's tourism law permits. The Airbnb response, which almost acknowledges that there are no grounds for appeal, has sought a defence by saying that Barcelona is the only city to be fining it. While it then goes on to speak of the economic value derived from the "collaborative" accommodation economy in a city such as Barcelona, it doesn't - as has been observed - mention the absence of benefit, i.e. tax that isn't being paid.

Belinda Johnson, Airbnb's chief business affairs and legal officer, was reported the other day as saying that the company looks to work hand in hand with local authorities - by collaborating with them, in other words - but in Barcelona this isn't the case. The attitude of the town hall may not be to Airbnb's liking, it may not be like other cities, but the town hall has every right to adopt the measures it is. Colau is putting all sorts of tourist noses out of joint, but on this there is clearly a great deal of support for her action. And more websites are finding out that Barcelona is brooking no argument: TripAdvisor is one of nine to be levied with the basic 30,000 euros fine that Airbnb had appealed.

All this will not have gone unnoticed by the Balearic tourism ministry or, one fancies, by Palma town hall.

Friday, December 02, 2016

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 2 December 2016

Morning high (6.48am): 9.8C
Forecast high: 17C; UV: 2
Three-day forecast: 3 December - Cloud, sun, 17C; 4 December - Cloud, 19C; 5 December - Cloud, 18C.

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): East 2 to 3 backing Northwest.

Repeat of yesterday. Nippy morning, mainly sunny all day. Weekend looking potentially damp on Sunday.

Evening update (19.45): Morning was ok. Afternoon less so. High of 19C.

Reaching The Shopping Summit

They were holding a summit in Madrid earlier this week. This wasn't a summit for, say, climate change, nuclear disarmament or how to solve a problem like Brexit. It was for something far more important (some might believe) - shopping. Yes, shopping is that important that it merits a summit. Not a mere conference, seminar or a forum, but a summit. What happens now? Will the UN pass a resolution?

The Summit Shopping Tourism & Economy (Madrid 2016) is an awfully pompous and self-important title for the pleasures (or otherwise) of traipsing around the streets of major cities and handing over vast amounts of cash in exchange for ... . Ah, there you have it. That's why a summit is required. Cash. Lots of it. Now let's make more.

The importance of the occasion was such that the government's second-in-command, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, was there. As was China's ambassador to Spain, Lyu Fan. Among other notables were the secretary-of-state for tourism (Spain's that is), the director-general of Turespaña, the president of the World Travel & Tourism Council, the president of the United States Chamber of Commerce in Spain, and Spain's former ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

In addition, there were heads of tourism from Madrid (region and city) and from Barcelona. How many do you reckon where there from Palma or the Balearics? Correct. None. Oh, there may have been the odd one or two in the audience, assuming the town hall in Palma had been willing to fork out the 390 euros (IVA included) to attend, but as for speakers, official institutional and corporate representatives, the number was zilch.

China's ambassador wasn't there to extol the virtues of the local Chinese store (or several local Chinese stores). He took part because the summit was very keen to learn how to extract ever greater benefit from Chinese tourists. Spain currently only gets around 400,000 a year - a mere 5% of non-EU visitors, but a 5% which represents 35% of non-EU visitor spending. Likewise, you can appreciate why a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia might have been invited.

The Chinese tourist offers great fortunes, but the summit was at pains to stress that this shouldn't be the only market targeted. There needs to be greater global segmentation. In other words, we don't care where you come from so long as you are loaded and willing to part with all your cash in a city's main shopping centre. Like, for example, in Palma around the Born and Jaume III.

If only this were the case. A reason why no one from Palma was on the official list is that no Chinese tourists come to Palma (or very few anyway). The same can be said for tourists from other nations with credit cards to burn, except for those comparatively rare European beasts who are capable of meeting prices in a shopping zone with some of the highest rents not just in Spain but anywhere. Alas for Palma and for its ambitions to become Spain's or the Mediterranean's Shopping Central, there aren't direct flights from Asia and the Middle East, so - as with elsewhere in Mallorca - it has to get by with impoverished market suppliers like Great Britain, whose tourists' contribution to the retail economy generally amounts to no more than the purchase of several hundred Embassy, a dozen types of mosquito treatment and an inflatable crocodile for the beach.

But it isn't only the Britons who are cheapskates. Spain as a whole accounts for around 20% of all overnight stays in Europe but only has 4% of the European shopping tourism market. That's mainly because out of the 68 million tourists who come to Spain, 60 million of them are from the European Union. Those from outside the EU spend as much in a day as Europeans do in a week, and if the non-EU market were to be expanded by 25%, then spending on shopping would leap from a current 4,100 million to 8,900 million euros.

It was these 4,800 million additional euros (plus ever more) that the summit was so interested in and therefore why it was deemed to be important enough to be dubbed a summit. Essentially, though, it was a summit for Madrid and Barcelona. Vague references may have been made to "other cities" - and one could mention the likes of, for example, San Sebastian, Malaga, Valencia, plus Palma - but until such time that there are adequate flights, the summit's attention will remain focused on Madrid and Barcelona.

Perhaps, though, Palma can hope for a whole new line of cruises for Chinese tourists. One dreads to think what the reaction would be to that. Hordes of Chinese cluttering up the city then legging it back to ships with the entire contents of El Corte Inglés. Someone would have to learn how to do graffiti in Chinese.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 1 December 2016

Morning high (7.21am): 9.6C
Forecast high: 16C; UV: 2
Three-day forecast: 2 December - Cloud, sun, 17C; 3 December - Cloud, sun, 18C; 4 December - Cloud, 19C.

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): East 3.

Chilly sort of morning, patchy cloud. Should be mainly fine all day.

Keep Taking Us To Havana

It may be that someone did actually say "take me to Havana" in the days when airplane hijacks suddenly became popular and the Cuban capital was on the list of favoured destinations for the asylum-seeker. Closed off, to US airlines at any rate, the island nation had acquired a certain mystic, courtesy of Fidel Castro.

In the 1960s, when various individuals supposedly started to wander into cockpits in order to request a detour, Spain remained committed to the 1953 agreement with the US (and Vatican) by which the Franco regime was to legitimise itself in the view of a doubting international community. A pro-American policy wasn't, however, to prevent the regime from establishing a relationship with Castro, and this owed much to the coincidence of 1959: Castro staged his revolution, while Spain adopted the Stabilisation Plan which was to underpin the country's economic revolution.

Prior to the rise of Castro, Franco had been seeking to exert Spanish influence throughout the one-time empire of Central and South America. This was via a combination of the concept of "Hispanidad" and the stifling Catholicism that had characterised the Franco regime from the time of the Civil War. The clash of ideologies that Castro's revolution represented might well have shattered relations with Spain, with the threat to these relations initially equal on both sides. Cuba expelled the Spanish ambassador in 1960 for having interrupted Castro while he was criticising Spain. The regime, for its part, was under pressure from external forces (especially the Americans) and because of dissenting voices internally.

But through the 1960s a realpolitik emerged that was based far less (if at all) on the previous nationalist-religious philosophy and very much more on economic necessity. The dogmas of the Falange were discarded in favour of the technocracy of Opus Dei. The pragmatic technocrats, so important in having guided Spain to a more stable economic future courtesy of, for example tourism, viewed Cuba purely in economic terms. Trade with Cuba, rather than lessening, increased during the 1960s, and by the 1970s there was pretty much full-scale economic cooperation.

For the regime, Cuba held special significance. This had been one of Spain's most important colonies in the nineteenth century. The economic relationship was such that Mallorcans were among those who grew rich through trading with the island (and also Puerto Rico). When Cuba was lost during the humiliations suffered at the hands of the Americans at the end of the nineteenth century, national (and military) pride was shattered. Franco had sought to restore this. Despite what the Americans felt about Castro, events of 1898 still influenced thinking.

The ties with Cuba, strengthened by the PSOE government of Felipe González, were such that in 1990 the old relationship with Mallorca's entrepreneurs was truly revived. In that year, the Sol Palmeras hotel was opened. The following year, Castro attended the opening of the Meliá Varadero hotel, just as he had been at the inauguration of the Sol Palmeras.

The way had been opened up by a businessman from the Canaries, Enrique Martinón, who was the first to really sense the tourist possibilities in Cuba. Sol Meliá, as was, entered into a 50-50 joint venture with the Cuban state corporation. Mallorca's hoteliers were thus beginning a lucrative association with Cuba, the main problem to which was to be the 1996 Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act, otherwise known as the Helms-Burton Act, under which foreign companies could be sued for "trafficking" land confiscated from Americans after the Castro revolution. At least one hotel, Las Americas, was on land that had belonged to the Dupont family.

The Helms-Burton Act was met with a unified response of opposition by the European Union, but in the same year that it was passed, José María Aznar of the Partido Popular came to power. He adopted a much tougher attitude towards Cuba, and the EU accepted a "common position" - proposed by Madrid - to pursue democratic reforms in Cuba. This political move pleased the American government, but it was also a means - so it seemed - for a deal to be struck: Spanish companies would not be pursued by Helms-Burton. Aznar, for all his hardline stance, was to go to Cuba in 1999. He stayed at the Havana Meliá, showing his support for Spanish entrepreneurs and protesting against Helms-Burton and the US embargo.

If nothing else, this all highlighted what by then were one hundred years of US-Spanish tensions where Cuba was concerned. Meliá was obliged to disinvest in the US, having set its stall out in Cuba, a loyalty that Castro recognised, but any difficulties were not to get in the way of Mallorcan hotelier expansion. Iberostar appeared in 1998, and with Meliá now forms by far the strongest presence. There are currently some 58,000 hotel places in Cuba. Roughly half of them are under the control of Balearic hotel chains.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 30 November 2016

Morning high (6.30am): 10.8C
Forecast high: 16C; UV: 1
Three-day forecast: 1 December - Cloud, sun, 17C; 2 December - Sun, cloud, 18C; 3 December - Cloud, sun, 18C.

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): East-Northeast 4. Swells of one metre.

A day of sunny spells anticipated. Not much more to say.

Evening update (20.00): Wasn't too bad. High of 17.9C.

The Columbus Conspiracy

It's one of those stories which pops up on a regular basis, normally about once a year and not because of the annual day, i.e. 12 October, when Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas, specifically the island he called San Salvador.

The recurring story is the one of where Columbus came from. Whole lives' works have been spent in the attempt to prove that the generally accepted view that he came from Genoa is bunkum. Why do people persist in seeking to disprove the Genoa theory and in wishing to locate his origin elsewhere? Different reasons. Scholarly obstinacy is one. The desire to reveal a whole different truth (and a real one at that) is another. To expose a conspiracy is a third.

The conspiracy is twofold. One is that a Catholic-centred perception of Columbus cannot permit him to be or to have been of a Jewish background. The other is the Hispanic necessity. In the name of the Crown of Castile and of Isabel I, the queen at the time, albeit she was married to an Aragonese, Ferdinand, and in the subsequent name of Castile over centuries, to grant Columbus a Catalan background is an impossibility.

The Jewish-Catalan collision is central to the theory of the Ibizan researcher Nito Verdera. In an interview with "El Mundo", he has once more explained why he believes that Columbus - his family at any rate - had moved to Ibiza from Catalonia, why he is convinced that this family and Columbus were "conversos" (converted from Judaism to Catholicism), and why therefore Columbus was born in Ibiza Town.

Verdera has established a museum in Ibiza. The house where it is located was documented in the fourteenth century as having been lived in by a Francesc Colom. The surname is important. This Catalan style was to appear in various documents concerning Columbus. The Castellano style - Colón - did not.

The name is an essential ingredient in Verdera's argument. Linguistics in more general terms are also essential, as they have been with other researchers. In 2009, for example, Estelle Irizarry, emeritus professor of Spanish literature at the University of Georgetown in Washington, published her "The DNA Of The Writings Of Columbus". Irizarry places Columbus as having come from Catalan-speaking Aragon and having been descended from the Jewish-Spanish race persecuted from the fourteenth century. The language used by Columbus, she maintains, was Ladino-Catalan, Ladino having been the language of the Sephardic Jews.

In the Balearics, the more recognised Columbus alternative theory is that of Gabriel Verd. Columbus - Cristòfor Colom - was born in Felanitx in 1460 (not 1451, which is the year usually given) and was the illegitimate son of the Prince of Viana from Aragon, the brother of Ferdinand. He was therefore the king's nephew. His mother was Margarita Colom, and he was to rise to the prominence he did in the Spanish court because of this secretive family background. This is an important part of Verd's theory, because the Genoa connection - Columbus had a humble background - has never really adequately explained how Columbus came to be hanging around royal circles.

Verdera dismisses Verd's theory. Columbus, according to Verd, would have only been 46 when he died in 1506. There are documents which suggest he was 60 when he died, meaning he had been born earlier than 1451 (in Genoa) and certainly earlier then 1460 (in Felanitx at the finca of s'Alqueria Roja to be precise). Verdera is also upset that he, unlike Verd, has not been given financial support for his research. In 2004, María Antonia Munar, then the president of the Council of Mallorca, approved a grant of over 50,000 euros. "I have a patent interest in Christopher Columbus being from Mallorca. I feel satisfied at having shown my support for Professor Gabriel Verd, and I intend to continue to do so," she said. A research programme, "Development of Human Genetic Research on Columbus's Origins", was to receive the grant to study theories that Columbus was born in Mallorca and "whose staunchest supporter is the historian Gabriel Verd".

The Ibiza theory, as far as Verdera is concerned, is the accurate one. Likewise, Verd sticks to his Felanitx theory. They can't both be right, and only limited numbers of people will believe that either of them is right. Among those who refuse to believe either of them are all the scholars down the years who have maintained that Columbus - Christoffa Corombo - was from Genoa. An alternative theory, were it ever proven, would leave an awful lot of people with egg on their faces.

And this - definitive proof - is unlikely to ever be unearthed. For all the counter theories, there are ones that give credence to Genoa having been his birthplace. Much is made of Columbus not having written in Italian, but the Ligurian of Genoa was not a written language. He wouldn't necessarily have known Italian. But the search for proof continues nonetheless.


Index for November 2016

Airbnb - 11 November 2016, 19 November 2016
Balearic maximum population - 4 November 2016
Canaries tourism website - 15 November 2016
Christmas shopping - 26 November 2016
Christopher Columbus - 30 November 2016
Creative tourism - 17 November 2016
Day of the Dead - 1 November 2016
Dijous Bo - 12 November 2016
Donald Trump and Spain - 10 November 2016
Employment and seasonality - 2 November 2016
Golf history - 13 November 2016
Holiday brochures - 9 November 2016
Interior tourism - 22 November 2016
José Ramón Bauzá - 28 November 2016
Podemos at war - 14 November 2016
Politicians' clothing sense - 20 November 2016
Puerto Pollensa - 21 November 2016
Regionalism - 16 November 2016
Slogans and tourism - 29 November 2016
Tourism debate in the Balearics - 18 November 2016
Tourism minister - 6 November 2016, 8 November 2016
Tourism promotion - 3 November 2016, 5 November 2016
Trasmediterránea - 27 November 2016
Travel fairs of the past - 7 November 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 29 November 2016

Morning high (7.32am): 12.6C
Forecast high: 18C; UV: 1
Three-day forecast: 30 November - Sun, cloud, 16C; 1 December - Sun, cloud, 16C; 2 December - Sun, cloud, 18C.

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): Northeast 4 to 5 veering East in the afternoon. Swells of one to two metres.

Mostly clear sky as sun comes up. May rain later on. Remainder of the week looking reasonable.

Evening update (18.45): Stayed fine. High of 19.1C.

The Power Of The Slogan

Bloom Consulting is a firm which specialises in nation and place branding. Headquartered in Madrid, it has worked with that city's tourism authority and others, such as Germany's, Sweden's, Austria's and Malta's. So it is probably in a position to be able to judge how countries stack up in terms of their tourism branding, which is precisely what it does. At the top of the list is the USA. Spain is second.

As part of this overview of national branding, there is a look at the slogans that are used. The world's number two nation - Spain - has a well enough known slogan: "I Need Spain". One says it's well enough known, but by whom would be the question. One might suggest that those in the know, e.g. consultants, are rather more familiar with it than the general tourism public. And how meaningful is it to that public? The traveller may need Spain, but he or she is probably after something rather more specific that conveys the Spanish brand's enormous diversity.

The slogans, it is said, capture the essence of countries in a few words. Does "I Need Spain" capture the essence? Well, does it? You tell me, but all it says to me is that I'm supposed to need the country. This said, "need" is a powerful word, so perhaps it does capture an essence. But what about some others? "Welcome to Great Britain"? This is a slogan? "Cameroon is back"? Back from where? "Go to Hungary"? Why?

Adopting adjectives such as "wonderful" (Indonesia), "incredible" (India), "sensational" (Brazil) is a common ploy, and all the more meaningless for being so, though it might be said that each of these nations is still emerging in terms of global tourism. The single adjective may therefore be sufficient, as what is being branded and sold is a national tourism that hasn't begun to reach a mature phase.

This is different in the case of Spain, where familiarity and maturity are such that there needs to be a constant re-evaluation of the message but, more importantly, messages that convey diversity. In Spanish terms, what do the Balearics have in common with Extremadura? Even more locally, what does Palma have in common with Capdepera? Or Soller with Santanyi? 

If slogans are deemed to be so important, then where are they? Indeed, where is the overall branding? Palma is an obvious exception, though even here I would seriously question what influence the "Passion for ..." motif has had. It seems more a by-product of the branding rather than central to it.

There are some slogans knocking around. "Experience Alcudia", "Arta surprises" (the noun rather than the verb), "Pollensa, a place with stories to tell" (quite good actually). But do they lodge in the visitor's memory or make a scrap of difference when it comes to choosing a destination? 

Returning to the nations' slogans, there is one that stands out for the message behind the message. Colombia's is "the only risk is wanting to stay", a sure recognition of past safety issues. Arguably, a negative connotation should be avoided, but the Colombia slogan may well hint at ways forward for destinations bedevilled by problems.

Although Mallorca doesn't have the problems that others do, it does have the issue of the anti-slogan (the one that finds its way onto walls in Palma). While this has been downplayed as the acts of a few (if that) and as an expression of a small minority, I'm unconvinced. In the days before social media and online commenting, I would have been, but not now. Anti-tourist sentiment is such that a front cover of the "Majorca Daily Bulletin" found its way onto the Terraferida Facebook page the other day: "Welcome to the new Magalluf", and a lament at the start of work on the new Hotel Jamaica and the golf fair.

On the "Ultima Hora" website not so long ago, someone mentioned the slogan "un turista, un amigo" in challenging a host of comments supportive of anti-tourist sentiment. There have been attempts to revive this old slogan, which was memorable enough. The Bauzá government said it would, but then didn't. In 2002, the town hall in Palma had intended investing in it as means of highlighting the social welfare from tourism and so as a way of countering negative sentiment. And in 2003 there was another slogan, this one from the regional ministry of environment - "Mallorca - sí al turismo sostenible!"

While there are numerous slogans that mean virtually nothing, others can mean a great deal. "A tourist, a friend" would now sound desperate, but it (or something by way of an alternative) has the power of addressing different audiences, such as the general public, a target, according to Bloom, under the heading of "admiration".

Slogans are very much more than simple adjectives. They need meaning and not just meaning for one audience. Now, more than ever.

Monday, November 28, 2016

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 28 November 2016

Morning high (6.50am): 11.6C
Forecast high: 16C; UV: 1
Three-day forecast: 29 November - Cloud, 17C; 30 November - Sun, cloud, 16C; 1 December - Sun, 17C.

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): Northeast 4.

Alerts in place for rain and storm. Things set to improve by Wednesday.

Carry On Chemists

One thing you can say about Balearic presidents is that you can't keep a good (sic) chemist away from the Consolat de Mar. The current incumbent, sweet and friendly Frankie Armengol, was preceded by the less sweet and friendly J.R., both of them with form in the farmacia stakes. And in seeking to maintain this chemical lineage, J.R., to everyone's horror, announced he was on the comeback trail. Carry On Chemists, with Jim Dale in the role of J.R. (Well, it couldn't be Sid James or Kenneth Williams.)

J.R., having reactivated himself in his highly implausible attempt at becoming national tourism supremo, had decided that the next best thing was to get his feet under the Consolat desk once more and resume his presidency. There was, however, one minor flaw to this plan, which was what J.R. was in the process of attempting to rectify, i.e. becoming PP president again. It was less a carry on and more the Return of the Living Dead, as Podemos's Alberto Jarabo intimated. Count Dracula's fangs are to be sunk into PP opposition, e.g. the wet and liberal regionalist wing, and even the dry anti-regionalist lot if they aren't of a mind to lend him their support, which for the most part they are not.

For once, it was possible to feel sympathy for Jaime Martínez, the chief pretender to the Bauzá anti-regionalist throne. The ex-tourism minister, probably thinking he was off for a pleasant chinwag at Carlos Delgado's gaff, discovered to his horror that a) all the paella had gone by the time he arrived and b) J.R. was there and announcing his Phoenix-like rise from the ashes of the Balearics PP that he had left smouldering after being annihilated at last year's regional election.

Jaime was none too impressed by all of this, and things might have turned ugly. Let's face it, Jaime does a passable impression of a bouncer at a Magalluf nighttime establishment. You wouldn't want to get on his wrong side, especially if he hasn't eaten. Jaime, to his credit, didn't bounce Bauzá around the walls of Casa Carlos, but instead let it be known that he still intends putting himself forward as candidate to be president of the party.

This was all good news for the wet and liberal lot, now sensing a clear split among the vote for the dry and anti-regionalist lot, assuming it does ever get as far as J.R. being on the ballot paper at the regional congress to decide the winner, whenever this might take place. And it was the fact that no PP congress in the Balearics or indeed any other region has been called that caused PP High Command in Madrid to apparently get into a blind flap.

Fernando Martínez Maíllo, no great mate of J.R.'s anyway and the organisational vice-secretary of the party, received a message from Bauzá announcing his intentions, i.e. of standing for the presidency of the party at the next congress. The only congress which has been firmed up is the national one, at which Super Mariano will be formally anointed again. Maíllo, it would seem, went into a panic as he thought Bauzá was going to be putting himself up against Mariano. He wasn't, though on current form you really wouldn't put it past him.