WE, THE PEOPLE

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People have lost faith in their politicians. Maybe they have never had much faith in them resulting in often pathetic levels of voting. As the only foreigner ever to serve as a councillor in Mijas, I sometimes get frustrated by the glaring inconstancies in political rhetoric.

We have a moderately “woke” culture in Spain, or at least in Mijas, where we have a Socialist-led government. One of the War Cries is all about “inclusive” language, whether this relates to sexual preferences, gender identity, or level of ability (physical or mental). We are even using the Spanish form of the term which I struggled with in the UK many years ago: “differently abled.”

Now. I don’t have a problem with any of this, really. People can call themselves whatever they want and I won’t argue the toss. It does irk somewhat on occasions, however, that this inclusive language doesn’t extend to the International Community who make up one third of the population, but are still referred to as the “foreigners”.

Apparently, inclusivity only applies to select groups. In principle, it doesn’t bother me as I am a foreigner, but there is an implicit implication that whilst the Spaniards are all equal regardless of their situation, the foreigners are not part of this club.

So, where am I going? Whilst the Local Government may see us as different, I want to argue that what we as immigrants to this country want is no different to what any “normal” Spanish family wants. We want to live in an environment which is clean, well maintained , easy on the eye, and which makes us feel a little sense of pride when we show our visitors where we live.

We want to feel safe in our homes and on the street, feel that the security services are taking our concerns seriously, and respond quickly to incidents dealing with them efficiently and sensitively.

We want to know that if we have a property here we can happily go on holiday without worrying if our homes have been occupied by squatters while we were away. We want the extremely expensive bureaucracy we pay for to work on our behalf and not against us. In Mijas it costs us almost 50% of our budget, around 50 million Euros a year. We have a right to expect that it is here to help us and not to hinder.

We want a community which is not overrun by feral animals which may make a mess or which may pose any form of danger. Sure, we want a happy place with things going on that we can go to and enjoy whether they be traditional events, special events, cultural meetings or regular pastimes.

If we are working, we want to have the opportunity to make an honest living where entrepreneurship is valued and from which we can keep a roof over our heads and put food on the table.

I don’t believe that we Internationals living here are really looking for anything different than any Mijas born Spaniard living here, so why make us different by identifying us as “the foreigners”? Maybe because so many of us Internationals don’t speak Spanish? Well, that’s something that can be resolved more easily than changing our passports. Politicians, take note.


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