Friday, April 28, 2017

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 28 April 2017

Morning high (7.40am): 11.9C
Forecast high: 17C; UV: 6
Three-day forecast: 29 April - Sun, cloud, 19C; 30 April - Sun, cloud, 23C; 1 May - Sun, cloud, 20C

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): North-Northeast 3 to 5.

An improvement this morning. There again, anything would be after yesterday. Should be mainly sunny but not overly warm.

Sex, The City And The Island

When was sex invented in Mallorca? Not so long ago, German visitors were being informed by that oracle of all known truths - Bild - that Mallorca was the island of sex. The newspaper was referring to the British, and in particular some carryings-on in Magalluf. Not, of course, that there had ever been any such thing in Arenal. The Germans must have been alarmed at learning that sex was abroad and being imported from abroad; somewhere, moreover, that wasn't Germany. The Germans, if one can generalise, have an almost matter-of-fact relationship with matters of the flesh. Alarm there most certainly wouldn't have been. They helped with the invention.

In the current day, there are few inhibitions, especially when cold drinks have been taken and the hours (long ones) have been made happy to the point of exhibitionist hedonism, notwithstanding Magalluf's attempts to turn back the clock. People of all nations, not least the Germans, know all about sex. If they don't, then Bild can probably teach them a thing or two.

But the current day has a long (comparatively) history. Thirty years ago, Mallorca had attained such a reputation that Ivor Biggun was saving up his money to fly "to the land of the sun, fornication and fun". More than ten years before Ivor (aka Doc Cox) released The Majorca Song, three ladies from Coronation Street had succumbed to certain charms in Palmanova (which was where it was shot). Rita fell for a man with a Jason King moustache, Bet was taken in by a sleaze ball, and Mavis - yes, Mavis - walked on the beach with someone who most certainly wasn't Derek.

The lothario who enticed Rita to abandon a lilo of such immense bulk that it would have been surprising had it been capable of floating was representative of a class whose day was drawing to a close: the picador. It was he - there were certainly never any she variants - who more than most secured the invention of sex in Mallorca.

I have previously considered the picador. An article two years ago, entitled Parasite of Love, did just that. Last month in Pollensa, as part of the town's history course, the picador was revisited. Local historian Pere Salas observed that the picador was associated with cultural change in the 1960s and that the hedonistic image that Mallorca acquired in that decade has unquestionably left its legacy today.

The picador had a further association: Scandinavian - Swedish to be specific. Salas said that there were "legendary" figures from the early years of mass tourism, and Swedish girls and the picadors were among them. Not British, not German, but Swedish. I'm guessing, but the picadors may have found British girls rather more uptight. There again, the pill was about to make its presence known. Regardless of nationality as a target, though, the picador was presented with the previously unimaginable. Local girls had chaperones.

This, in the modern era, marked the invention of sex in Mallorca. But the Swedes were not alone in influencing the development. In 1962, a German actress - Elke Sommer - appeared briefly in a bikini in the otherwise ludicrous propaganda film, Bahía de Palma. There was little, in fact no sex in the city, but the film was sanctioned as a means of showing how liberal Mallorca and Spain were. Which they weren't. It was just that women, from Germany in particular, were alarmed at the prospect of being rounded up if they were wearing bikinis. The film came out only a few years after the mayor of Benidorm had famously persuaded Franco that the bikini had its advantages. And that was at a time when there was segregated bathing as well as no bikinis.

Religion did of course have a great deal to do with things; everything to do with things in fact. Franco, highly conservative Catholic that he was, took exception to the likes of Carnival not just because masks could disguise potential troublemakers but also because of concerns that the people would engage in debauchery.

His attitudes were ones that were centuries old. I cannot vouch for all that happened from the time of the Catalan invasion, but dear old Ramon Llull, born 1232, was someone who saw the error of his lustful ways. When visions came to him, he renounced his faithlessness and found a different faith. He did so to such an extent that he argued the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, undeniably sexual activity but quite removed from how Ramon had once conceived it.

Along the way, and more recently than Ramon, there was, for instance, the provocative Geraldine Leopold and her 1899 trapeze act that had Mallorcan males frothing. But it was the picadors who made the difference, and now no one bats an eyelid if, for instance, a nude model is photographed at Binissalem aerodrome. Though when it came to carryings-on in Magalluf, you'd have thought that sex hadn't previously been invented.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 27 April 2017

Morning high (7.45am): 13.5C
Forecast high: 15C; UV: 6
Three-day forecast: 28 April - Sun, cloud, 18C; 29 April - Sun, cloud, 19C; 30 April - Cloud, sun, 22C

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): Northeast 5 to 6 occasionally 7 easing 4 to 5 by the evening.

Grey morning, a bit damp. Not much prospect of sun today. Better tomorrow.

Evening update (19.45): Shocking day. Rain never heavy but persistent. And cold. Not breaking double figures in areas. High 10.7C.

Much Too Much ...

Several years ago now, I can recall a report which identified Mallorca as having one of the highest levels of car ownership - if not the highest level - anywhere in Spain. All things are relative of course, and this level was relative - to the population. This ownership, and not only cars but also vans and other vehicles, dipped during the years of recession. Or at least the number of vehicles on the road declined. The Council of Mallorca, keepers of the island's main roads, have let us know that roads in and out of Palma now have traffic levels on a scale that they were pre-crisis; higher in fact. For some years, the levels were lower.

Perceptions get us only so far, but for what it's worth, my perception is of a significant increase in traffic during the early tourism season. I am not alone in having observed just how busy Alcudia has been. This perception of busyness is primarily a function of road traffic. Throw in all the cyclists, of which there are great numbers, plus delivery trucks, coaches and buses, and the April roads have been in the bedlam category.

Lining the main road on most days are rows of hire cars. One presumes there is now some arrangement with the town hall and/or the Council of Mallorca. Cars can be parked wherever an owner fancies, so long as the parking places are permitted, but there is such a thing as commercial use of the roads. Not so long ago, the town hall made it clear that anyone parking a car with a for-sale sign on it was liable for a fine. The roads, those which aren't the Council's responsibility, are town hall property. If they're to be used for commercial reasons, then there has to be permission - and payment.

The volume of traffic owes a great deal to the number of hire cars. While there is rental all year, in the early season it is particularly attractive. The nature of early-season tourism determines this. Increasingly, so do the preferences of tourists and the supply to meet these preferences. Holiday rental accommodation does not equate exactly to the number of hire cars, but there is unquestionably an equation. It is little wonder that the car-rental business association has thrown its lot in with the Aptur holiday rentals' association in seeking a liberal deal under the new legislation.

Already there is news of the enormous influx of hire cars. Barcelona and Valencia ports have been chock-full of vehicles being shipped to Mallorca and the Balearics. This was the same last year. Cars which had been destined for Turkey ended up here. Ships were apparently performing mid-Mediterranean U-turns and heading for the safe haven of Palma. The roads thus became saturated, along with everything else - beaches, for instance.

But that was more a story about summer. In the early and late seasons, visitors set off for the island's attractions. Included among these are the likes of Sa Calobra and Formentor. The roads to both fall into the somewhat scary category, a scariness made scarier by negotiating a bend only to be confronted by a mass of cyclists, shortly followed by a bus. Undeterred, the visitors keep going (it is pretty difficult to turn round after all), and arrive at, for instance, the lighthouse at Formentor. Which is when they find that they have little alternative but to turn round. There's nowhere to park.

Limits are to be introduced to the number of cars going to Formentor, and not only the lighthouse. How this will be policed, I am unsure, but limits are an inevitable consequence of the success of places like Formentor. People want to go there because they've heard so much about it: or seen it, if only Roper's La Fortaleza. It's a similar story with Sa Calobra, with Lluc, with certain unspoiled beaches. Environmentalists Terraferida are aghast at the tribes of young tourists pitching up on isolated coves and enjoying themselves. And it's still only April.

The Council of Mallorca, we learn, is considering prohibiting car access to Sa Calobra and to the Port of Valldemossa. Escorca town hall has already decided to start charging for street parking in Sa Calobra (and elsewhere). Valldemossa town hall has introduced charges for parking coaches. In Santanyi, there is to be access-denied to cars going to certain coves. In various parts of the island, the shuttle bus has become the mode du jour for transport. Es Trenc has its shuttle. Cala Varques in Manacor is likely to get its. Formentor will probably be served by one from Puerto Pollensa.

All of these places are victims of their own success and of readily available information that recommends them. But they are unable to cope. The infrastructure doesn't exist and for the most part can't exist. There's much too much. Limits are the only solution.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 26 April 2017

Morning high (7.53am): 15.4C
Forecast high: 22C; UV: 7
Three-day forecast: 27 April - Rain, 15C; 28 April - Cloud, 18C; 29 April - Sun, cloud, 20C

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): South 2 to 3 backing Northeast 4 to 5 in the afternoon.

Some cloud this morning. Should be reasonable until the evening when there may be a shower. The cold front coming in from the mainland will mean lower temperatures tomorrow and probable rain.

Evening update (20.15): High of 23.7C. Cloudy evening. 

In Memory Of Aurora Picornell

The Council of Mallorca held a ceremony on Monday. Awards were made in the name of the institution. One was posthumous. It was for a favourite daughter of Mallorca. She died eighty years ago. She was Aurora Picornell.

Can Sales in Palma is nowadays a library; it was opened in 2004. Before the Civil War, there was an asylum run by the Hermanitas de los Pobres (sisters of the poor). During the war this became a women's prison. On 5 January 1937, the boss of this makeshift jail read out the names of five women - Catalina Flaquer Pascual and her daughters Antonia and Maria, Belarmina González Rodríguez and Aurora Picornell Femenías. They were taken to Porreres.

The village of Porreres was a conveniently out of the way place, a quiet place. It was a village that nevertheless rang with noise. The women, as with so many others, were shot at the cemetery. In the evening of 5 January, so the story is told, a fascist went into a bar in El Molinar in Palma. He brandished a bra stained with blood. It was Aurora Picornell's bra.

Born in El Molinar in 1912, her parents were communists. She became an activist at a young age. When she was 19, she founded the union for seamstresses. By then, the Second Republic was a reality. Mallorca and Spain were no longer under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. The king was in exile. A new direction was being plotted. It was, but it was one that descended into chaos and anarchy and ultimately into carnage. The dreams for and ambitions of a different Spain were shattered amidst the fighting and the murders. History should perhaps have told them that this would be how it would end. Over the course of the previous 100 or so years there had been attempts at refashioning the politics of the country and its society. The Liberal Triennium lasted, as its title says, three years. The First Republic survived for less than two years.

Aurora Picornell followed her parents into communism. She was one of the leaders of the Mallorcan branch of the Spanish Communist Party. But she is remembered as much for her feminism and for that union. They were to become known as Las Rojas del Molinar, the red women of El Molinar.

Catalina Flaquer Pascual was tortured. Her interrogators wanted to know the whereabouts of her two daughters. They were in hiding. Maria was eventually given away not by her mother but by her three-year-old daughter. The Francoist investigators gained the small girl's trust by giving her sweets. She told them where her mother was.

Although there were five of them, Aurora Picornell stood out. She was the leader. Her activism was such that she had acquired fame (or possibly notoriety) before the war. She was dubbed La Pasionaria de Mallorca (the passion flower). It seems that when she was being taken away from the prison, she and the other women were mocked by the nuns; one presumes the sisters of the poor. It is said that she told the other women that if she was alive in the morning, wherever she might be, she would return for revenge.

That anecdote serves as something of a reminder of how divisions were. The church was seen to be (and not just seen to be) on the side of the Nationalists and the fascists. It shouldn't be forgotten that the Republicans were not whiter than white. They committed atrocities against members of the church. The Balearic government's law on historical memory and graves was, after some considerable debate, reworded in order to take account of victims from both sides.

But it is the name of the Republic which dominates. Hence there have been the exhumations in Porreres. Hence why there will be more and why there is a call for exhumations in Manacor as well. The numbers of dead there, spread over a longer period, vastly exceed the bodies in Porreres.

So much attention is currently being given to this historical memory because there is a government (and a Council of Mallorca) which does not want the memory to go away and which wants some closure for descendants. The memory was allowed to go in the past. It is largely because of the one-time amnesia, the absence of any reconciliation, that events of the 1930s are haunting us now. There is also the symmetry of anniversary. Last year was the eightieth anniversary of the start of the war. This year is the eightieth anniversary of the murders of Las Rojas del Molinar and of the Republican mayors, Emili Darder of Palma and Antoni Mateu of Inca, among others.

The grandson of Aurora Picornell accepted the honour on Monday. President Miquel Ensenyat concluded that he hoped that society could recover its dignity and that the deceased could be returned to their families.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 25 April 2017

Morning high (7.33am): 9.7C
Forecast high: 25C; UV: 6
Three-day forecast: 26 April - Cloud, 22C; 27 April - Cloud, 15C; 27 April - Cloud, 18C

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): South-Southeast 3, locally 4 in the afternoon.

May be a case of making the most of today, which is going to be pretty warm. Cloud and possible rain on the cards from tomorrow until Friday.

Evening update (20.00): High of 26.1C.

The Freedom Of Choice

Why is there so much hate for expatriates? Let's start with the word. I hate it as well, even if I am one. It betokens hostility because of the creep over years of an implicit sense of difference that can seem to border on the superior. Expatriates thus form a class apart, one that is subject to being despised: not by the local indigenous community but by those from afar in the motherland. Their status, courtesy of the title expatriates, carries with it a haughtiness. To hell with expatriates. They've chosen to abandon the motherland. Whatever comes their way is their doing.

Alternative titles - foreign resident, foreign citizen - arouse no such opprobrium. A further one - immigrant - does, but this can stem from a transposition of the situation within the motherland. Once upon a time, the motherland was a place of tolerance, a refuge for the persecuted, a welcoming pair of arms for those from different countries and from different creeds. There is some delusion in this, but notwithstanding historical differences between Protestants and Catholics and the beginnings of a culture clash when Jamaicans started arriving in the motherland, tolerance has held true. Or did.

Brexit has exposed, were there really any need, given its prior existence, the intolerance of immigration and also of emigration, the beleaguered expatriate. In the case of the latter, a form of outward or externalised xenophobia has taken a grip. Aside from the pejorative implication of "expatriate" (one I fully understand), what truly drives this antagonism? Is it simply the vision of the idle lounging-away of long days under a Mediterranean sun and the endless supply of gin and tonics?

Envy may play a part. But so also may the introspection of those who are fully embedded in the motherland, from whose shores they will never depart, save for two weeks of idle lounging-away of long days under a Mediterranean sun. The foreign resident comes in a multitude of forms, hence the catch-all castigation of an expatriate community can be and is an affront. Does it not occur to those back in the motherland, dispensing bilious intolerance, that some people opted to move because their horizons are broader than those limited by and shrouded in the mists of English Channel insularity? Curiosity and discovery were once admirable traits of the British. They created immense wealth. Nowadays they are consigned to the wastelands of old and less old England - the gentility and nobility of the village green willow on leather juxtaposed with the gorilla (and the word is being used correctly) warfare of a category of football supporter (so-called).

The motherland has long been an advocate of freedoms. Trade has been one; choice another. Mobility was made easier by the European Union, but mobility had existed before agreements by the member states. This mobility was a function of curiosity, adventure, the seeking of a better or alternative life, marriage, employment and, yes, the determination of some to spend existences developing skin cancer. (One might also add, it shouldn't be overlooked, the need to escape justice.)

The advocacy of freedom of choice, which doubtless even the most severe critics of expatriates would themselves advocate and defend, was enshrined in law: free movement of people, goods and services. There are those in the motherland who are selective in their advocacy, the products (some at any rate) of the collective narcissism that has taken hold: and not just in Great Britain. This is the exaggerated belief in their superiority but which at the same time has a deep-down doubt surrounding the collective prestige. It is the doubt within this collective disorder which makes some hit out.

The image of the expatriate is not and cannot be standardised. From a personal point of view, how often did I get to the beach last year? On fewer occasions than a fortnight's holidaymaker, that's for certain, and this despite the beach being within easy walking distance. Not once did I sit by a pool. Not once did I have a gin and tonic nor any other alcoholic drink save for a glass of Rioja on which Kelvin MacKenzie has proposed an import tax. Rare are the viewings of British television, but the BBC is an institution I hold dear, if primarily its radio: an institution lambasted by the same critics of the expatriate, at least in part because the ineffable "Daily Mail" tells them to.

What others do, however others choose to live their lives under the sun is entirely their affair. It is not my business and nor should it be anyone else's, wherever they themselves live. They choose because choice exists. The freedom to do so should be fundamental. It is fundamental. But it is a freedom detested and further excoriated on the principle of not being patriotic, however one might choose to define that.

Freedom of choice. A value to be defended, not despised.

Monday, April 24, 2017

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 24 April 2017

Morning high (7.37am): 8.7C
Forecast high: 21C; UV: 7
Three-day forecast: 25 April - Cloud, 24C; 26 April - Cloud, 20C; 27 April - Cloud, 17C

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): Variable 1 to 2.

A fine day today, tomorrow expected to be cloudy but warmed by southerlies, then the wind switches north on Wednesday; temperatures down and some rain possible.

Evening update (19.45): High of 22.6C.

All Aboard The Podemos Bus

Coming to us soon - us as in those living in Palma - will be the Hazte Oír "bus of hate", as it has been branded. The bus is scheduled to appear in Mallorca at the start of June. It won't if the town hall and others have anything to do with it. A different bus may be made to feel more welcome. Podemos have their own. It's the "tramabús", trama referring to plot or conspiracy, so it is a bus dedicated to the corrupt and the allegedly corrupt. Among this roll call are ... Mariano Rajoy, Felipe González, José María Aznar, Esperanza Aguirre and Rodrigo Rato. The latter of these, we have been learning over the past few days, allegedly laundered millions while he was both the head of the International Monetary Fund and the deputy prime minister of Spain (this is what the Guardia Civil is said to have ascertained).

The bus has divided opinion within Podemos, broadly along the lines exposed by the recent battle for control of the party. The Iglesias faction, the victorious one, seems pleased with the bus. Those sticking to the wing of the vanquished Infant, Íñigo Errejón, are less enamoured. Indeed, they think it's ridiculous, especially as it's as though Podemos have taken a leaf out of the hated Hazte Oír's book.

There is also some disquiet about how much the bus is costing - some 600 or 700 euros a day. Maybe, therefore, Podemos could offset this by organising excursions. Why not offer a Podemos trip to tourists? The bus could show visitors the more saturated parts of the island (and indeed elsewhere in Spain). Nice idea, but there would need to be an operator's licence. And to not have one simply wouldn't do. All would be above board aboard the Podemos plot bus.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 23 April 2017

Morning high (8.01am): 6.7C
Forecast high: 20C; UV: 7
Three-day forecast: 24 April - Sun, 21C; 25 April - Sun, cloud, 23C; 26 April - Cloud, 19C

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): Variable 2 increasing East 3 to 4 in the afternoon.

Another nippy morning ahead of a fine and quite warm day. Forecast suggesting that temperatures will fall by Wednesday and that there may well be some rain.

Evening update (20.00): Very pleasant. High of 21.6C.

Spain Has No Defence Against Zombies

Buried beneath all the news about the travails of the Balearic tourism minister and of the British ambassador spreading joy of a citizens' rights variety, there was news that THEY clearly wish to keep quiet. I don't wish to alarm you unduly but the Spanish government has admitted that it doesn't have a plan to deal with an invasion of zombies.

While it might be said that there are politicians stalking populations who fall into the category of the living dead - Bauzá, for example - there is a far greater and far more dangerous threat, and Madrid is doing nothing about it. For us to have become aware of this gross negligence, we have to thank Carles Mulet of the Compromís party in Valencia. Carles, it needs saying, does not have a mullet. He sports a more shorn affair and can't himself really be described as resembling a zombie, while his party is alive with various greens, Republican leftists - that sort of thing.

It may be the case that Valencia is at greater risk of a zombie attack than other parts of Spain (I honestly wouldn't know), but whatever the level of danger is, Carles has raised the matter in the Senate. What plans are there for a zombie apocalypse, he wished to know in a written question. The government was caught on the hop. Nevertheless, once it managed to respond, dealing with an apocalypse (in a general sense) appears to be easier than tackling one that specifically involves zombies. Bodies (sic) ranging from the state security forces to the Civil Protection volunteers are capable of handling an apocalypse because the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy says so.

No, that's not strictly true. The dictionary doesn't state this as such - it's not the job of a dictionary to go into the detail of security matters - but it does have definitions. One of these, a "catastrophic situation", is, says the government, something which the security forces can tackle. The other definition is rather more tricky. "The end of the world", implying as it does the end, is not something that the government can plan for. There would, it concludes, be little time to plan for it. Which, let's face it, isn't terribly reassuring.

When it comes to the specific threat posed by a zombie apocalypse, the government has also consulted the dictionary. "People who are supposed to be dead and are revived by the art of witchcraft in order to dominate their will," is more or less how the dictionary defines zombies. Given this definition, the government has concluded that it doesn't believe that such an eventuality is likely. There is "doubtful probability of such a circumstance arising".

This may be designed to allay citizens' fears (citizens in Valencia at any rate), but the response is surely not good enough. And Carles, for one, most certainly isn't prepared to give the government the benefit of the doubt. In fact, he's indignant at the lack of preparedness. "The government has no plan of action for the zombie apocalypse. Its answer can be interpreted as meaning that the government itself is a zombie apocalypse, a human catastrophe brought about by stupefied and automaton people."

Are the PP therefore themselves zombies? Worrying.

Just to add, in case you think that Carles is off his tree, he was being ironic (as was the government in its replies). The zombie issue was raised because Carles doesn't think much of the government's ability to respond to questions.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

MALLORCA TODAY - Weather Alcúdia and Pollensa 22 April 2017

Morning high (7.26am): 5.9C
Forecast high: 21C; UV: 7
Three-day forecast: 23 April - Sun, cloud, 20C; 24 April - Sun, 21C; 25 April - Sun, cloud, 27C

Sea conditions (northern Mallorca; Alcúdia and Pollensa bays to 20.00): East-Southeast 3 to 4.

Distinctly chilly early on. Much warmer later.

Evening update (20.15): Pretty good. High of 21.5C.

Madrid In A Muddle Over Holiday Rentals

The secretary-of-state for tourism's visit to Mallorca during the week allowed the industry to get some things off its chest. None of them were particularly new. Politicians and senior officials were there as well. In the case of tourism minister Biel Barceló, he could afford to give Matilde Asián only a few minutes of his time; he had a television interview to get to. It was presumably time enough for her to tell him that Madrid isn't minded to pump more cash into the Playa de Palma reform because of what seemingly went missing several years ago. Even so, Asián, because of the national ministry's policy of modernising old resorts, appeared to also suggest that Playa de Palma will be looked upon favourably: at some point and in some way.

Asián's visit served only to spread confusion. Her boss, Álvaro Nadal, has made much of the resort modernisation. There may be legitimate issues about previous funding, but what is to be done about Playa de Palma? It isn't just one of Mallorca's main resorts, it is one of Spain's. Perhaps in future Madrid needs to take full control of any project. That way it will know that the money's being used wisely.

But Madrid wouldn't do this. While it might provide investment, a project such as Playa de Palma is a regional affair. The Balearics, as with other regional communities, has tourism responsibilities. It is therefore for the regional government to sort things out, as is the case with holiday rentals.

The past week has given the impression of left and right hands being unaware of what both are doing, of some ignorance of legislation and of messages being mixed. With holiday rentals, a fundamental issue for the Balearic government is a reform of the Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos, the tenancy act. The government has forwarded to Madrid, as has the Mallorca Hoteliers Federation, its wish for there to be a minimum rental of four weeks. With this, it hopes to overcome the loophole that the act currently offers.

Asián seemed to suggest that she hadn't been asked about reform, said that there was no plan to reform the act (which is what Nadal has also said), but then added that she would look into it so long as someone tells her to look into it and on the grounds that everything can be made better. So what is Madrid's position? The national government, i.e. Asián, has also intimated that it is considering nationwide legislation for holiday rentals. This would represent a U-turn, as Madrid devolved responsibilities to the regions. It was perfectly entitled to, given what the statutes for regional government permit, but it appeared at the time to have washed its hands of the rentals' matter. The ensuing mess is at least partly Madrid's fault.

Despite what it might say about treating rentals of under four weeks as touristic, the Balearic government will encounter problems with effectively enforcing its rentals' legislation unless the tenancy act is reformed. And this obstacle exists in all other regions where there are issues with rentals and where the hoteliers and legislators have been banging their heads against a wall in despair of Madrid taking any real notice.

To cap it all, there is the European Union to take into account. It has working parties considering holiday rentals, including therefore the role of websites such as Airbnb. And what might Brussels come up with? Who can say. Madrid can't, or appears to be unable to. Things will probably have to wait until the EU speaks, which will probably provoke ever more confusion.

While Asián was here, she also had something to say about the tourist tax. She is opposed to it, as of course is her party. That was hardly a surprise, but there was a surprise when she said that she found it surprising that residents in the Balearics have to pay the tax if they stay in tourist accommodation. She was surprised? Was she unaware that the reason for this is because Brussels had decreed it?