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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Will CLARO partner the Partido Popular in Orihuela?

When the political parties in the Orihuela Town Council were trying to sort out a governing council following the May 2011 local elections, I made the following comment on Facebook and Twitter:

“A PP led bipartite government with CLR/CLARO in Orihuela isn't what the CLARO party supporters wanted, but will get if the CLR agree it”

followed by this comment a few days later:

“CLARO sold out to the CLR for power! Will their coalition sell out to the PP for more power? Is what I'm asking a joke, - think about it!”.

At the time there were those residents of Orihuela Costa who thought that my comments were ludicrous, as is their right.

The result of the long drawn out discussions and bargaining was that a tripartite government of the PSOE, Los Verdes and CLR/CLARO political groups was agreed, not too amicably.

I read with great interest the following comments in the January 2012 C.L.A.R.O. Newsletter, especially the final paragraph in the extract:

“the continuing differences within the government between the CLR party, our partner in the May election, and C.L.A.R.O. These differences which, for reasons of their perceived political advantage, have led our CLR partners over the past 5 months to seek to divide the management of the coast and to reduce the responsibilities or competences of the C.L.A.R.O Councillor for the Coast. The differences culminated in November in CLR attempts to divide the C.L.A.R.O party prior to our Annual General Meeting and their unilateral exclusion or expulsion of C.L.A.R.O from the joint government group in the council CLR-CLARO. In the November AGM, C.L.A.R.O confirmed that despite its difficulties with CLR, we would continue to support the present government provided we got all means necessary, including finance and competences, to carry out our work on behalf of Orihuela Costa.

It was not surprising that in these circumstances, Monica Lorente, the leader of the Popular Party, the largest single party in the Orihuela Council, with 12 seats, one short of a majority, should have requested a meeting with the Councillor for the Coast, Bob Houliston. A meeting did take place in the Playa Flamenco office of the Town Hall on 28 December. The two leaders had a general conversation on questions of political interest in Orihuela and Orihuela Costa”

Perhaps my comments in 2011 were not that far off of the possible future for the Orihuela Town Council. Is Bob Houliston, Leader of the CLARO party looking for more personal power by making a bipartite power partnership with the PP party in the Council? Will the current tripartite government survive? Will we see a new dynamic duo; Mon & Bob?

Edited  27th January 2012.
See follow-up article 'Ex PP Mayor says CLARO leader is an honourable man! - How time changes opinions when it suits!


  1. Well we are seeing all sorts of unholy alliances being forged in Orihuela. I used to think groups formed alliances when they shared some common goals or values. Here alliances are formed by individuals and groups on the basis of shared hatreds not shared goals. For example on Entre Naranjos what is emerging is a growing pact between John Reynolds,a self made man and staunch supporter of the PP who seriously admires Monica and Pedro Mancebo Leader of the CLR and Councillor for Tourism who has been a arch critic of the PP and Monica.So what have they got in common now when they have hated each other stands for in the past? What binds these two men together is a mutual lust for power and their joint hatred of the PSOE.
    Yes, politics is a funny thing in Spain. Politicians stab you in the back one minute and then are your best friends next! Watch this space! Lets see what unholy alliances are formed for money, power and hatred and lets see which groups and individuals stick to their principals.

  2. Pedro ManceboFebruary 16, 2012

    Sarah... once again you are making unfair comments and twisting the truth, manipulating the public opinion with statements like those you made about the pedaneos imposed by the Psoe right after the election, you remember? I was right then, you lied. It is actually funny that a democratic supporter of the Psoe as you are finds difficult to understand that a democratic politician (me in this case) is willing to help and advice any citizen that requests so from him, irrespective of who did he vote for or who did he support. I do not help my neighbours depending on who he is friend with. "Lust for power"? "Joint hatred of the Psoe"?... Are you ok Sarah? Do you really mean it?... "Politics is a funny thing in Spain"? yes? Isn't it in UK? or France? or Italy?... Why you fingerpoint Spain? Have we not treated you well?... Once again, are you ok Sarah? do you really mean it? Im definitely not a politician who stabs you in the back, but a politician that act accordingly to law and according to my duties as councillor and deputy mayor, and I always try to give adequate response to "anyone" needs and requests, even if that person is or was or will be a supporter of Monica Lorente. Listen again: even if that person is a supporter of Monica Lorente... Or even if it was a supporter of Antonia Moreno. Are you saying or confirming unwittingly that Psoe politicians only help, advice and give adequate response to the Psoe supporters? Is that what you do? Is that what democracy is about? Then yes your image of politics is a funny thing... Unholy alliances formed for money, power and hatred... Definitely Sarah you have got me on the wrong side... Regards. PEDRO MANCEBO

  3. John ReynoldsFebruary 19, 2012

    I have only recently been made aware of Sarah Hills political ramblings and still find as does Snr. Pedro Mancebo how anyone can lie and have so much hate? Truly Distasteful. Outside of a few occasional polite sentences between each other during the last election campaign I know precious little of her; I certainly don't go about stating how I hate her or anyone else for that matter. She stated I was power crazy, why was it then that I declined the first offer to be Mayor and represent the village12 months prior to accepting the post. This was due to my other more personal commitments. For those unaware The Pedaneo's job is unpaid and in reality ends up costing a fair amount over the year, no expenses either.
    There is one thing I feel I should clarify and which I think has been truly overlooked but extremely important, Sarah was added to the list of possible candidates as a councilor at the last election by the P.S.O.E, which is a paid job, whilst on the other hand when I was asked by Monica I declined. How does that define me as being power crazy? My reason for this was extremely simple, I have no interest in politics for the sake of politics, my interest is Entrenaranjos & Laguna Green, Having contacts in the Town Hall to further and improve the village is a must. It is a known fact that each and every time I have been in the press it has been to promote our Village, whereas Sarah seems to achieve giving us nothing but bad publicity. I am doing no more now than I have been doing for the last eight years and that is to work for the good of where I live, I will not allow others to down grade, put down or worse whilst I still have the drive and willpower to do differently. If Sarah is a true example of the P.S.O.E. God help them.

    Regards. John Reynolds

  4. Peter KingMarch 14, 2012

    Most of my urbanization voted for the CLR- CLARO party last May in the belief that this alliance would bring change and some hope to our coast. We were fed up of the many corruption cases affecting the Town Hall in Orihuela and we wanted more resources for Orihuela Costa.

    The CLR party’s elected councillors have proven to be capable, intelligent and in tune with the people. They stuck to their word and their election manifesto. In the coast the two CLARO councillors have proven to be the opposite. Nothing has been done in Orihuela Costa by the Claro party since they got into power, except moaning and complaining about their alliance partners and fighting for exclusivity and more power for Mr Houliston. Is power all that is important to the Claro leader?

    For four or five years Claro have been offering a way to “change” the coast, we gave them a mandate to do it with the CLR but now it seems that all that they are concerned about is ego and personal ambitions. What about the promises and the trust of the good people who voted for you? We feel frustrated and disappointed that all the CLARO promises have been spoilt by the greed of two fake politicians who have now resigned after proving that they were incapable of doing the job they coveted so much. All that is bad enough but now we hear that all the rumours about an agreement to bring back the PP to power are true.

    I know that most of the good hardworking members of CLARO are stunned by the dramatic resignations of Bob Houliston and Antonio Cerdan in the last two weeks especially as this happened without asking the opinion of the Claro members which they should have done if they were honest democrats.

    Monica Lorente vowed after the May 2011 election to destroy the CLR-CLARO alliance because it took two PP seats away from her. She set out to divide the alliance with Cerdan’s help. They succeeded in isolating Bob by convincing him to desert CLR at the first opportunity. The PP has been supportive of Bob by not criticising him or CLARO since the election despite the lack of work done in the Playa Flamenca Town Hall.

    Already Bob is seen as betraying the electorate by resigning his post but if he joins forces with the PP, CLARO will probably not survive the next three months let alone the next three years. Mr Houliston has confirmed to CLARO members that will vote against the government and with the PP in the budget debate next month.

    The reward for facilitating the disruption of the legal government we voted for, has come in the shape of a black Range Rover worth more than 70,000€ driven shamelessly by Bob’s right-hand-man Cerdan, up and down Orihuela Costa, since they both agreed to resign. Many supporters cannot understand how Antonio Cerdan, who is known to have been unemployed for a number of years, except for a brief period as Bob’s assistant in the town hall, can acquire this luxury car on the same week that he resigned his employment.

    If this is what we can expect from CLARO, then we should feel embarrassed for trusting their word. If Bob Houliston acts against CLARO principles and aims and supports Monica Lorente against the coalition government he should pack his bags and go back to Brussels.

  5. Alan McPhailMarch 24, 2012

    It’s Official – Bob Houliston is a PP Puppet
    This week will see Bob Houliston publicly support the opposition Partido Popular in essential government votes that will ultimately lead to the defeat of the coalition government in Orihuela and destroy Orihuela Costa in the process. The naive deputy mayor Antonia Moreno (PSOE) signed a document allowing Bob Houliston to sit on a vital budget committee due to meet on Monday 26 March. This committee needs to approve a plan before next weekend to repay the 20 million euro debt ran up by the last corrupt PP government. The cunning Monica Lorente who still has five counts of corruption levelled against her for her last term in office as do several of her PP colleagues will use Bob to miss the deadline through lack of agreement. This will leave the municipality without money to pay for the services we use. The outcome could ultimately lead to no public lighting, sewage pumping, rubbish collection or wages for our public servants. The town hall would have to close with no staff working, no padrons issued, no licences approved, no public maintenance carried out and the local police will probably disappear as they won’t get paid. The plan is to blackmail the government into bowing to Monica Lorente’s demands. If the government does not bend the knee, how will CLARO pretend then that they exist to improve the coast if we have rubbish piled high on the footpaths, rivers of sewage flowing down our streets to our beautiful blue flag beaches, and rats infesting our urbanisations due to overflowing bins. We could also expect criminals from all over Spain coming to Orihuela Costa for easy pickings if there is no public lighting and no police on the ground. People don’t work for nothing after all. How smug would the CLARO membership look then at the actions of their leader?
    CLARO’s reward for backing Monica and causing Orihuela to look like a dump and stink like a sewer will be that they will be discarded like a used cigarette butt long before the next election by their new PP friends. Monica’s PP party have never been interested in the coast and everyone knows it.
    Well done Bob. Well done CLARO, “the party for Orihuela Costa”. Every action has a consequence. Your actions this week will ultimately bring misery to the people of Orihuela Costa and their families, not to mention the betrayal of everything you purported to stand for. I hope you get your 30 pieces of silver from Monica in recompense for your disloyalty to the electorate of Orihuela Costa and the coalition government. I also hope the people of the coast never forget your treachery and duplicity.

  6. David LawrieApril 01, 2012

    There are, and have been, no surprises with Mr Houliston or the majority of his cronies. I predicted what he has done way back after the previous local elections. He was always going to put himself before his voters and this has been proven with his latest shenanigans. He does not have the support of all his voters nor does he have the support of all his team. Overall, his actions are disgraceful and his Party should be thinking of kicking him out which is what he deserves. I did not and would never vote for CLARO but I know a lot of people who did and the main reason was to get rid of the PP, not support them. If his non-supporters do not take immediate action over Houliston, there will be no CLARO Party, something the PSOE predicted would happen years ago - pity they did not listen either!

  7. Raymond KearneyApril 02, 2012

    The 29th of March 2012 will be remembered as an historic day in the lives and politics of all Orihuela. The plenary meeting scheduled for the same day as the general strike was anticipated as the night that Bob Houliston would cross the floor into the hands of the infamous PP since the news releases of last weekend when Houliston and PP’s Monica Lorente announced that they had signed an accord.

    Houliston’s and Lorente’s press releases ensured a packed house which overflowed into the foyer and adjoining rooms fed by live lead to big screens. Most expected the PP and Bob to vote against the proposed scheme to repay the massive 20 million euro debt owed to suppliers, run up by the PP in the last ten years of government. This expected action would have effectively crippled services in the municipality. Earlier in the day the Orihuela PP were ordered by the PP in Madrid to vote in favour of the proposed repayment scheme.

    Bob Houliston was not to disappoint PP supporters of Monica Lorente when he voted with the PP to censure the mayor for allocating three councillors and the mayor himself to run Orihuela Costa for the next three years. Many see this as an excuse designed by Lorente to get Houliston to change sides. Houliston’s own election manifesto called for “several” councillors to work in the Playa Flamenca town hall.

    Bob has strenuously denied his intention to ever join with the PP until he and Antonio Cerdan resigned their posts last month vowing to be back soon with Monica Lorente. The same week that they resigned Antonio Cerdan received an “inheritance” of a 70,000€ black range rover, registered to a company that does business with the town hall.

    The CLR-CLARO alliance stood primarily on a “no corruption platform”, CLARO in particular have published many newsletters denouncing corruption in Lorente’s PP government. Many CLARO members fervently believe in this platform and were horrified at Bobs published intentions to vote with the PP and against the government.

    When Bob voted with the PP at Thursday night’s plenary meeting he was immediately greeted with applause from the ranks of the PP supporters in the meeting, Stefan Pokroppa shouted out “Well done Bob”. What happened next became the highlight of the evening. A prominent CLARO member stood up with a sign reading “Judas” held high, then four more prominent CLARO members stood up and held signs that read “I resign from CLARO” in Spanish and English.

    The policia local ushered the five who resigned out of the pleno room amid cheers, hoorays and cries of well done. They were clapped, hugged, kissed, backs slapped and their hands were shook by everybody around. Later people walked up to them in the street saying “Thank You” in English. Another CLARO member who could not get into the filled pleno room also resigned. Those CLARO members who resigned last night were Judith, Richard, Graham, Kath, Terry and Alexandro. In recent months Modesto, Pauline, Haico, Helmut and Renata also resigned making at least 11 strong CLARO activists to resigned over Bob’s support for the PP, his lack of leadership and the absence of democracy in CLARO.

    CLARO is not a democratic organisation. Members cannot vote for the leaders individually but must vote for the seven member executive committee en block. Members are faced with a take it or leave it decision. There is no democratic means to censure any executive committee member or to influence party policy. Bob’s decision to “Jump into bed” with the PP only required the approval of Antonio Cerdan and two others. All those who did not want CLARO associated with the PP had no power to influence this unpopular decision so the only way to formally disagree with Bob was to resign in public.

    Mr. Bob Houliston, for his own safety was escorted to his car by police, amid jeers and shouts of “Traitor”, “Judas” and “Corrupt”. This is the same man who was greeted with open arms by the people of Orihuela a mere nine months ago. Will British politicians ever be trusted in Orihuela again?

  8. The PP have already put out a very large email with pictures stating how "disgusting" the behaviour of CLARO members was at the Plenary meeting. They have the gall to state that the coalition were totally responsible for what happened - what a joke! It is about time that the PP were exposed for what they have done to regain power at any cost where they have been democratically defeated in local elections. Orihuela is not the first and will not be the last place where the PP will do everything in its power to undermine the democratically elected local government. Like other examples, such as San Fulgencio, the PP have used individuals (in this case one individual and a few cronies) to destroy a coalition intent on making the changes that they were incapable, unable or simply not prepared to make having been in power for many years.

    It was easy to see who the weakest link was always going to be in Orihuela - Houliston. At the election before last, he showed that he was prepared to follow the PP's lead by using every trick at his disposal to get votes. He broke all the rules by canvassing the night before; appearing on television on the morning of the elections and allowing his members to "welcome" and canvass votes at the polling stations. His members were also warned at the Polling Station for "moving" voting forms on top of other non-CLARO forms. It was obvious to me then that this man was capable of doing anything to gain power. He has always come across to me as a selfish politician with no principals. The damage he has caused with his latest actions are incalculable. He should be made to read some of the many CLARO newsletters where he castigates the PP for their actions or inactions and ask himself if he is any different to them. His latest insult to the people of Orihuela Costa and his voters must be the final straw.

    David Lawrie

  9. John CarrollApril 26, 2012

    Bob Houliston do you think that we are all fools on Orihuela Costa? You did not do the job you were elected and paid well to do. It is a disgrace that you did not pay the Red Cross the money that they were owed for the invaluable service they performed. You were councillor for the coast and beaches in the summer of 2011. Your PP pals were in charge for the 2 summers prior to that. Why did you not make sure that they were paid? Why did you not contract the Red Cross for Easter? Why did you leave the public open to danger on the beaches of Orihuela Costa?

    Bob Houliston, it is clear that you did practically nothing to help the people of Orihuela Costa; you are all talk and no action. You constantly complained about your competencies to distract us all from your in-competencies. You have the audacity to blame the very people doing the job that you skulked away from because you are incompetent. You have become the master of blaming, moaning, whinging, crying and finger pointing. Resign and let someone who is able, and knows what to do, get on with the work. You are a disgrace to the British people you claim to represent.

    John Carroll
    03189 Orihuela Costa


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