written by Bill Anderson
Let me introduce myself. I’m Bill Anderson. I have lived here on the Costa, specifically in Mijas, for 20 years. For the first 17 years life was pretty normal: getting up for work, often involving manoeuvring my way along the A7 towards Marbella to teach at a private University near Puerto Banus.
The last 3 years have seen a significant change. And, no, I’m not referring to the pandemic and the challenges brought about by this. In July 2019, I become the first foreigner in Mijas to be sworn in as a Local Councillor. Details aside, we are in Opposition, which, to be honest, isn’t a bad way to be baptised into Local Politics. You get to see things from different angles, but also behind the scenes which is not always available to the general public. Having worked for many years in the UK with several Local Authorities, Health Boards, Social Work Departments, Regional Authorities, and as a consultant to the Scottish Parliament, I was firmly decided never to enter the world of politics. “Famous last words.”
My experience of the Spanish world of politics was only as a resident, and to be honest, I often found it very unclear, if not confusing. Now that I know more about it, I easily understand whence that confusion arose. Do I understand how it all works, now? Not really, but at least I have a good idea of why I can’t grasp many of the concepts and processes generally referred to as “bureaucracy”. It is far from simple and at times like trying to walk a straight line through sinking sands.
Another benefit of being in opposition is that I don’t have to concentrate on just one or two themes. I get to meddle in everything whether it be Urban Planning matters, Urbanisations, Animals, Social Care, Beaches, Infrastructure, and even the odd neighbour dispute. Of course, the frustration is that I can’t actually do anything other than speak nicely to those responsible for these delegations and hope that they will add it on their “to do” list. Sometimes they do, but more often than not, they don’t. I’ve had my fallouts with some of them, but they still talk to me, in the main.
What has been a great experience is getting to know thousands of local residents. Whilst I don’t carry any responsibilities for the International Community, generally referred to as “the Foreigners” (please note the “inclusive” language which they are so insistent on for other minority groups within the community), many of the Internationals have chosen me to be their point of contact and spokesperson. I had the privilege of setting my own agenda, deciding on my role, and although I work with anyone who asks for my help, my work has been dominated by informing and assisting the International Community which makes up one third of the 90,000 Mijas population.
I shall be doing a regular column for News In Spain and wish them all the best in this new venture.