Home EXPAT COMMUNITY Do we really represent the people?

Do we really represent the people?

Bill Anderson, Councillor, Ayuntamiento de Mijas

The political system wouldn’t survive in civvy street.

Accountability only every 4 years, which strongly relies on the bad memory of the electorate. The democratic illusion that we are actually choosing who will represent us and decide how our money is spent on our behalf is nothing short of a scam. I am a councillor with the Partido Popular, in opposition, thanks only to my friend, Angel Nozal, the local party president and veteran of many bloody political campaigns. He persuaded me to stand with him on his list in 2019 as he wanted a non Spanish candidate on his list. Two thirds of the Mijas population is Spanish leaving one third, some 30,000 people who make up around 125 nationalities. If Mijas council were to be truly representative of the population, there should be around 8 foreign nationals serving as councillors. I was the first in the 42 year history of local government in Spain and remain the only foreigner ever to hold the position of councillor.

Nevertheless, we are given the illusion of choosing our representatives. But, we are presented with list of candidates, not of our choosing, and as my friend Angel has said, “We often have to choose the least bad.” It kind of feels that we have to choose between two types of STD’s so we choose the one which itches less. This is not a Mijas problem but a reality of political systems all over the world.
All the money which my council spends, it does so on my behalf. Whilst they may think it is there cash to so with as they see fit, it isn’t. It’s ours. Now the society in which we live does demand that we pay for the privilege, and often we will contribute to services which we do not use. We pay for schools although we may not have any children; we pay for a health service even if we don’t use it; we pay for sports facilities we don’t go to. I think that is kind of accepted.

This is different though. The symbol of Mijas is the much aligned Donkey. I’m not getting into a debate about them now, though. Having said this, in each of the urban nuclei, there is a Brass donkey statue which unsuspecting tourist mount and in the process burn their backsides in the summer sun. They cost 8000 euros to have commissioned. Doesn’t sound over the top to me for a larger than life Brass donkey. However over the last 2 years, Mijas has spent 240,000 euros on three statues. Not sure I wanted my money spent on this.
I guess we just have to be stoical about how those voted into government decide to spend our money, but let’s not pretend that we gave them the mandate to do so. On the other hand, I guess it would be difficult to please all of the people all of the time. In a tourist area such as Mijas, it is a fine line between spending on tourism, which is a financial lifeline to so many small businesses, and spending on the people who actually live here and whose taxes pay for the government machine.

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