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The Yo-Yo of Politics

Politics is a funny business. Actually, I don’t think it is funny at all. It just seems funny, or ludicrous maybe, to witness the yo-yo effect of some local and perhaps even national politics now that the conservative camp has swept to power, here in Mallorca, in the Consell Insular, the Govern Balear, and in Madrid.

Take Palma, for example. Two years ago, bicycle lanes were established along some stretches of the Avenidas. Within four weeks of the new city hall taking office, the bicycle lanes were eliminated to a large extent and an alternative route was chosen along some narrow back streets, causing confusion and traffic congestions. 200,000 € or thereabouts were spent to put in the lanes, and another 300,000 € or more to get rid of them and move them someplace else. But, money does not matter.

Or, let’s take Carrer Blanquerna as another example. After lengthy deliberations with the local neighbourhood associations, the small business patrons, taxi drivers and so forth, a decision was taken to convert Carrer Blanquerna into a pedestrian area. By about Easter 2011, extensive resurfacing and expensive redesigning was completed and the new pedestrian stretch was inaugurated. A few weeks after the political powers were reshuffled, local car traffic was allowed back in. Lots of Euro cents, but hey, money matters not a lot.

I’m not blaming any particular political colour for all that in and out. If you look further back, Plaça d’Espanya might come to your mind. A massive remodelling was undertaken some 12 or 14 years ago at a cost equivalent to seven million Euros. Six or seven years later, everything was dug up again, and a new re-construction was begun, putting the trains and a new Metro back into Plaça d’Espanya, only this time, underground. Never mind the vast expense.

Two years ago, Palma was officially called that, with the suffix de Mallorca being eliminated. Now, the new government in the Balearics wants to reinstate the full name Palma de Mallorca. As if we did not have more pressing matters to deal with, or rather, our politician had nothing else to consider, such as unemployment, social unrest, corruption, mismanagement of public funds, you name it. Financial prudence does not seem to matter.

The latest reversal seems to have sprung up, concerning ports and marinas in the Illes Balears. Latest media reports have it that the Balearic Government is planning to authorize the extension of 12 marinas in Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca, something that the previous Govern Balear has vetoed and rejected. Now, the Asociación de Clubes Náuticos de Balears seems to have found open ears with the new political mandate and their ambitions now seem to have found the willing support of the Dirección General de Puertos y Aeropuertos in Palma. Four or five of the planned extensions of existing marinas are said to be in Mallorca. There is also talk of the construction of three or four completely new nautical facilities in the Balearic Islands. Prepare yourself for some hefty tax hikes, I’d say.

If you ever walk round any of the major Clubes Náuticos in Mallorca, you will find untold numbers of largish yachts for sale. You can come to your own conclusion as to where the wise men are. Not here in Mallorca, I don’t think.

The photo was taken in Portocolom, Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 30th, 2011. The time was 15:26:40.

3 replies »

  1. What craziness! I guess I will see first hand when I am back in Mallorca in March for my next cycling visit! We usually rent our bikes from a small business along the Palma foreshore and ride that route back to our hotel!

  2. Politics is defined as “the Art of the possible” – changing the routes of bicycle lanes is a relatively easy possibility for our politicians, likewise allowing the building of marinas, golf courses, convention centres and metro stations. And, of course, someone will have convinced the politicians they are, or were, necessary for the improvement of the general economic and social good, let alone their political advancement.
    Cost-Benefit analysis of these public works? The majority of politicians cannot comprehend such a concept, never mind consider its use.
    It’s clear that no one can put forward a generally acceptable way in which it would be possible to square the circle of reducing income from taxation and the increasing need for political expenditure. Not possible, so politicians avoid looking for ways to deal with it other than re-introducing depression-era cuts.
    Unhappily, the possibilities of the current lot of politicians will lead all too easily towards a Mallorcan coastline completely concreted-over.

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