Ibiza is sick of them, but drunken English hooligans made them rich

San Antonio in Ibiza
San Antonio in Ibiza is one of the resort towns to have introduced stricter rules for its all-inclusive hotel deals - Thomas Coex/Getty

As the rain pummelled (and helped endure) our green and pleasant land this week even the most virtuous shrugged off the wretched idea of a staycation. An early July election means that even our politicians won’t have to pretend to lead the way, making out they relish a freezing English holiday (although Gordon Brown never struck me as a tanning sort of guy and probably did savour his holidays in Keswick).

Thus, I could almost feel the likes of booking.com sagging under the weight of holiday reservations. A week or two of guaranteed heat in the offing, a bit of costa del blue sky, a nice Spanish suntan.

But not so fast you eager holiday beaver, desperate for sun, sand and sangria. For the authorities in some of our beloved holiday destinations have got British tourists in their sights. OK, so maybe you don’t think this quite applies to you, with your villa in the hills of Ibiza, or you, with your fancy fortnight in a hotel in Palma Old Town.

Because it’s our rowdier compatriots whom the Balearic authorities are frowning upon as, this month, new restrictions click in with force. Indeed, there is a whole gamut of regulations guaranteed to put a frightener, or indeed a dampener, on the livelier intentions of the British tourist.

Smoking is banned on a number of beaches, all hotels in Magaluf, El Arenal, Playa de Palma and San Antonio are to limit guests to six alcoholic drinks per day when part of an all-inclusive deal, a number of restaurants are banning football shirts, strapless vest tops and swimsuits, while many restaurants in Majorca are insisting on credit card details when booking. But the stiffest regulations include a ban on sales of alcohol in shops between 9.30pm and 8am and a prohibition on party boats sailing within one nautical mile of the towns of Llucmajor, Palma, Magaluf and San Antonio.

All of which, of course, utterly destroys the heart and soul of a proper holiday in the Balearics. Because when one books a holiday in, say, Ibiza, what one has in mind is a bargain all-inclusive deal with limitless booze, then, clad in one’s team strip, delivering of some good old partisan football chanting and swapping of verbal abuse in the likes of O Beach Club, some random last-minute restaurant decision making and then a few fags on the beach. And the whole point of a booze cruise is the drunken disembarkation and subsequent town invasion preferably where the boating stags raid a bar in which a hen party is in full swing.

But the local government has called time on what it calls “excessive tourism” and it is spending £13.7 million on enforcing these restrictions; on security, inspections and in marketing its crackdown.

Yet, it was these antics that built Ibiza. We may have watched aghast as reality TV series depicted the partying and the nightlife. Words like Pacha (the name of Ibiza’s most famous club) became expressions of wild hedonism; DJs like Carl Cox and David Guetta became legends of the scene, fuel to the excess. It was in Ibiza that it all went Pete Tong.

Documentaries and other fictionalised series such as Netflix’s White Lines have operated as marvellous marketing for the Balearics, at no cost to the Spanish tourist board. And the restaurants, bars, clubs and boats have subsequently filled up with Brits seeking to emulate those wild times and grab a bit of the “Ibeefa” spirit.

But now, it’s thanks but no thanks. We (and I use that “we” in the widest sense as they are our compatriots, our fellow taxpayers) have filled their pockets and now we can sod off.

And where will that leave those Balearics, the property developers, the bar owners and the greedy Spanish spivs who eagerly spread a load of concrete across the little fishing village of San Antonio? As the laws are applied with ultra-local precision, and our holiday hooligans will surely find new locations to splash their cash and show their torsos, will those ugly apartments and breeze block hotels, those places built to cater for a little sleep and little else, soon be empty echoing caves?

Jaime Martínez, Palma’s mayor, has said that he wishes to “correct uncivil attitudes”. But the problem is these places were built to cater for the marauding hordes. Who does he think will want to stay now in those festering apartments? The wealthy middle classes are already happily sipping imported French rosé, Chateau Minuty by the bucket load, at the reassuringly expensive restaurants of Playa d’en Bossa, by the open kitchens at the heights of Santa Eulalia and better still at the restaurant Sa Capella, where you can tuck into suckling lamb shoulder while pondering how ghastly distant San Antonio is as it shimmers way down below, silently in the sunset.

The Balearic authorities presumably went on a field trip to Wales to consult with their tourist-handling colleagues. There, the Welsh Government has turned what was once a glorious British aspiration into the devil incarnate: it made the term “second home a dirty word. One member of Gwynedd council said that second homes were “immoral”. The north Wales local government managed to persuade people that their inadequacies, their failure to tackle poverty, NHS waiting lists, poor education and a lack of housing were actually the fault of the English who loved the area so much, relished their holidays there to such an extent, that they bought second homes in order to fully commit to the idea.

So having invested in the local economy, spent money in bars and hotels and restaurants, put money into the hands of local builders, plumbers and electricians as they did up these homes, the local government then decided to castigate them, demonise them and ask them to clear off. The Welsh crave affluence but then deny the means to entice it and employ the worst traits of nationalism to achieve it.

The Cornish have followed suit, sharing a nationalistic fervour that suggests they too would like independence, border checks, their own currency (payments in Yargs, after their nettle-wrapped cheese) as well as full culinary control of those horrid pasties. The authorities encourage ugly, anti-second home graffiti and the Cornholes chose to name and shame one of our nation’s most famous chefs, a man who has paraded British values of relentless quality and precision of food across the world. Gordon Ramsay was now nothing but a demonic second-home owner. And thus the Balearic authorities deploy the same strategy.

Now I don’t like our hooligans, but what I dislike more is the hypocrisy of those who have profited from them and are now being beastly to my fellow Brits.

If it wasn’t for those beery louts, your coastline would still be nothing but a strip of uninhabited scrub wasteland. Nice for the prosperous whose villas have a view of it from on high but not so great for your working people. As the popular Spanish saying goes: es más vale pájaro en mano, que ciento volando.