Monday, May 23, 2011
Politics Killed the Goose
Those of us who wanted, voted on Sunday in our local town. The local people voted with trepidation, since a vote for the wrong party-leader will mean four years without any projects, work or favours for them or their families. The non-locals - those who were on the voting-list - voted with enthusiasm or with hesitancy; they voted with conviction or they voted doubtfully and, from those who were sent home to get their passports, they voted with a dash of anger. Some thought they could vote, only to find they couldn't. Others, as usual, didn't bother to come along at all.
Our town is an exceptional and beautiful place ruined by thirty years of 'democratic' elections, where mayors and their teams have exploited the pueblo for their own ends, turning Mojácar from a moribund municipality in the 1950s with less than 600 inhabitants to the richest town per capita in the entire region of Andalucía only fifty years later.
Not that the wealth is very evenly spread.
The Town Hall, unlike any other I've ever visited, has no photographic memorial to past administrations. No oil paintings of previous mayors. In fact, I can understand their point - since Jacinto Alarcón, the old mayor who famously 'gave away' properties to outsiders in the early sixties, there's been no one in the Town Hall worth honouring. Here, it's all about greed. We may have the highest proportion of misers in Spain, I don't know: no one has made a study. Our wealthy local class certainly doesn't spread it around. You won't see any privately funded public buildings or even a park bench with a brass plaque on it, donations from the Rich and the Good. Here, the various multimillionaires (some of whom whimsically claim to be socialists) keep their money safe and unspent. Mojácar is to be sacked and despoiled. It's the rule.
In our town, there have been a long list of cynical projects designed to mine the public purse, from useless and ill-considered buildings to pointless stadia. Many having already fulfilled their purpose before the first brick was laid. Much of our town has been knocked flat, in exchange for poorly designed monstrosities which, in these straightened times, are hard to sell or rent. On the beach, vast numbers of small noddy houses and minuscule apartments lie empty: you make more money per metre on petite dwellings than larger homes, you make nothing on parking lots or wider roads.
During those fifty years of massive growth, Mojácar inevitably watered down its local population of lordlings. While many returned from their uncomfortable exiles in other lands, attracted by the new wealth flowing into their pueblo, and considering their bits of land and properties, inevitably a new type of settler was filling up the town, the 'forasteros': the outsiders.
These were divided into the not-from-around-here Spaniards (who knew the ropes), the rich foreigners with rights (the northern Europeans), the poor foreigners with rights (i.e. los rumanos) and the poor foreigners without rights (the sudamericanos).
Some of us having, since 1999, the vote. Although, Spain being Spain, we had to ask for it. In triplicate.
In our town, the forasteros knew that they were here because it was a great place to live, better than wherever it was we came from. We were dismayed by change, by poor planning and by being exploited by the locals, secure in their power. We were more than them, yet we remained without any say in the future of our community. We were divided, tricked and unloved. The rents were raised as the customers fell: and no local person would drink in our bars or buy from our shops.
So now, despite its wealth, Mojácar is once again dying. There's no enthusiasm or poetry left here anymore. Everything is for sale. There's little reason to try and keep the dream alive. The forasteros must leave. Without us, there will be no work, no income, no community. And thanks to our 'hosts', there won't even be much to remember us by. Like the Visigoths, we shall soon be forgotten.
In a few years from now, even the local people will have to board up their properties and move away, once again, to Hamburg and Lyons in search of work. We need another Jacinto, not a RosMari.