We were talking about how a community can divide against itself when under threat. Sticking together is not always the answer, it seems, with some residents taking the opinion that ‘something must be done’ while others go with the ‘don’t rock the boat’ approach. Sometimes, but of course not always, members of the second group are themselves part of the initial problem – perhaps they work for the builders or promoters. Perhaps they feel ‘we should respect our Spanish hosts to our own detriment’ or perhaps they are just foolish. Take Albox as an example. There, massive illegal urbanizations exist under threat of demolition. The homes were built on non-urban land with the complicity of previous town halls and sold to Northern Europeans. The regional authority could – but probably won’t – knock those houses down, as they did in the singular case of the Priors in Vera (January this year) and even refuse to pay any meaningful compensation. There is a continued sense of worry locally which is far from the anticipated delights of peaceful retirement that had been cherished by the thousands of home-owners.
An association called the AUAN which exists to defend the rights of property owners is based in Albox and has had some success in, at least, publicizing the situation, and has even had a visit from some Euro MPs from Brussels on a fact-finding tour.
However, the opponents to this group have a blog-site called The Albox Blog at http://alboxblog.com/ which provides the most remarkable (if completely unfounded) attacks on the AUAN and its leader Bob Preston. The blog, claiming to be ‘distilling all the juicy gossip’, rarely veers from its criticism against the AUAN’s leader. A quote from today: ‘…although we note from the AUAN website that the AUAN ‘is open to both UK nationals and Spanish alike’ precluding one would assume Irish and other nationalities. We thought we had seen an end to this sort of racialism and bigotry. Sadly, ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’, would still appear an acceptable adage within the lower strata of the ex-Pat community’.
The ‘comments’ from the Irish readers that follow this remarkable bit of idiocy beggar belief.
Today I was at a meeting to do with an urbanization in Los Gallardos. The problems there are apparently containable. Smells, sewage overflow, dirt, lack of care and broken promises – all easily fixable by the town hall if it was sufficiently pushed towards doing something. Perhaps the residents there can join together, or perhaps they can’t (or won’t). It was certainly clear that without a unified voice nothing much will change on their urbanization. The Spanish authorities know that there is strength in numbers.