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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Dear Mónica - No Vote, Yes Benefit

Sra. Mónica Lorente,
La Alcaldesa de Orihuela

Dear Mónica,

I know you will be aware of the misguided campaign being publicised by your local political opponents (PSOE, CLR and CLARO) to persuade residents registered on the Orihuela Municipal Padrón to register on the electoral census. They seem to have chosen a rather misleading slogan of 'No Vote, No Voice', and are trying to scare the people into believing that you and the Partido Popular don't listen to the residents of Orihuela Costa. How can the people think that? Its so unfair!

I suspect that, despite putting on a brave face, which I admire you for, you are not too happy about the possibility of 'los extranjeros' residents, and in particular those from Reino Unido, in Orihuela Costa registering to vote. I can understand your concerns that they don't understand Partido Popular democracy and don't have the knowledge of how politics in the Orihuela municipality is conducted. They are not aware of how open and honest members of the your party on the Town Council, and your personally selected, unbiased, 'asesors, have to behave when dealing with the public. They are not aware of the stringent steps your PP Town Councillors take to ensure that any contracts for public services are awarded without grace or favour to local, family, businesses. They (expatriates) have an illusory perception that nepotism and corruption have no place in Spanish local government.

We certainly don't want the 'status quo' political map being altered by these inexperienced foreign newcomers, do we?

Don't let all the talk about many thousands of those on the Padrón wanting to vote, its not true, we saw that in the election in 2007. Excuses were given that electoral census application forms were not received. Don't believe it, it was propaganda put out by your unpopular opponents to cover their lack of support amongst the residents. The truth is that as the form was foolishly printed in the language of the country the majority of expatriates couldn't understand it. The other point to remember is that the total figure of residents on the Padrón is over stated. There are many thousands of holiday home owners registered as inhabitants who only visit Orihuela a few weeks a year and should not be on the Padrón. They only registered to help your wonderfully benevolent Council receive funds from central government to spend on your fervent party supporters in Orihuela . They have no intention of voting in local elections. Why should it be any different here in Spain than from their own country. Apathy can travel very well.

If you're still a little concerned, I would like to suggest an alternative policy that you might consider to combat the ludicrous 'No Vote, No Voice' campaign. You could start your own, entitled 'No Vote, Yes Benefit' informing the foreign residents of Orihuela Costa that the Council is to consider offering a one off refund payment of the current years Council Tax to each eligible property owner. I suggest two criteria for entitlement to the refund. Firstly, and this will make the vast majority ineligible, the owner must genuinely believe that they have not received value for money for their taxes from your PP controlled Council. Secondly that they have not registered on the electoral register as at the 30th December 2010, and therefore not entitled to vote on the 22 May 2011. You could inform them that the intention, at this point in time, providing the 2011 budget is ever approved, is to make the refund on the 1st April 2011. You could of course extend it and include those who un-register from the electoral census! The people would be fools not to be tempted by the offer of money instead of a ballot paper. They could follow the example of many in Spanish politics and put self before civic responsibilty! Of course you don't have to honour any promise given to the residents, but I know that is not in your character.

Your enlightened resident and voter

P.S. Just to let you know that I defended your honour in a restaurant recently when I heard a group of people unfairly criticising that you wore two faces. It sounded like that's what they said. I pointed out to them that, like any attractive women, some days you might not want to wear make-up and on others you do, and they shouldn't criticise you for that.

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