Monday, January 15, 2007

 

The Record Book

Mojácar leads the way once again! The town was the premier tourist destination thirty years ago and its totem, the Indalo, hanging from a gold necklace, was recognised as readily in the Kensington High Street as the Faubourg St. Jacques. The town’s name was known throughout Western Europe, even though no one knew what province it was in. Walt Disney came from Mojácar: Antonio Bienvenida the famous bullfighter had a home here. The one day vice president of Spain, Alfonso Guerra had a place as did the future president of Andalucía Rodriguez de la Borbolla. Famous Spaniards and some notable foreigners, together with a clutch of jolly bars and a well-founded reputation for fun made Mojácar the best known resort in Andalucía after Torremolinos and Marbella.
So, it took a while, but our inept political class eventually trashed it.
Soon, we filled the beach with houses, apartments and basketball courts, brought in the tour operators and sold the Indalo logo to the Almerian tourist board. We removed the statue of the mojaquera with her cántaros from the route of the new motorway (and, for several years, even the road exit signs for Mojácar). We overbuilt with no thought to the infrastructure and the beauty of the area; we dumped Walt Disney while – at the same time – we attempted to turn our small and agreeable community into an embarrassing copy of Disneyworld.
Soon, the pueblo, the real Mojácar of old, became so difficult to reach, that many people, admittedly attracted to the area because of the box-like white village on the hill, spend their time ruefully admitting that they never go ‘up there’ any more. There’s no parking, they say, and the town now sells little more than tee shirts and comical ashtrays anyway. Much of the old charm of the pueblo has been pulled down – the original arches that led out of the Plaza Nueva, the Arco de Lucinda, the old fuente, the old Castillo… Structurally speaking, the town hall appears to be decorating the pueblo in a similar ‘tee shirt’ style, with little winking coloured lights and sunken spotlights and orange street lights and some neon…
Our summer guests appear to be more concerned with graffiti than with history, with reproduction pottery than with art and with bathtub gin rather than a cocktail at The Laughing Gibbet.
So, from being not just the leader of the province in fame and notoriety, Mojácar has now slumped behind Roquetas, El Ejido, Almerimar, Aguadulce, Vera, Cuevas, Albox and probably Carboneras as well. It’s now ‘small fry’ which is why we don’t get much support in infrastructure from the Junta de Andalucía or the Diputación Provincial. Well done, our local politicians!
However, it is appropriately in the subject of politics where Mojácar has once again risen to the top, broken the mould and astonished the type setters at the Guinness Book of Records.
As readers may recall, Mojácar fielded nine parties at the last election (a record in itself) of which six groups received enough votes to produce our thirteen councillors. After various changes, betrayals, court cases and accusations of impropriety, the situation by Christmas was that the two councillors from the PSOE (although, without the support of the rank and file membership) were running the town with the help of three other councillors that had deserted their own parties (and their voters) in favour of continuing the agony that this legislature has become. How many voters do they think that they are representing?
At Christmas, Angel Medina resigned from the GIAL (one of the opposition parties) and actually…. Went home!
Well, nothing like that had ever happened before. A councillor resigning and giving way to a fresh face; instead of… taking another group’s shilling and staying on as a ‘turncoat’, a ‘transfuga’. Very twenty-first century! Where will it all end?
With Angel’s departure from the opposition benches, a new councillor, the next on the list, arrived to take his place. This was Matthew Shatford, the first foreigner to get into a town hall anywhere in Andalucía and the first, of course, for Mojácar.
This excellent news, to have a ‘European’ in a local council, must be tempered slightly by Matthew’s unconventional ‘first day in class’- where he left his party and crossed the floor to join the government of Gabriel Flores who now controls a rag-bag of six councillors – just one short of a majority.
The prize for all this is a large chunk of publicly owned land which the mayor is anxious to sell, to contribute towards old debts incurred by the massive fireworks, free pop concerts, lights and decoration of the past eighteen months. With still one person short of this prize, the mayor must turn to other sources to pay the bills. A previous mayor sold off the Indalo – perhaps this one could sign Walt Disney over to Vera…

Comments:
A few days later, one of the remaining members of the opposition obliged by voting in favour of selling off the land (oddly, for a reduced price!) and, by chance, the very next point on the agenda was selling another piece to... uh... somebody close to the chap from the first bit. Um.
 
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