JUST PUT UP AND SHUT UP!

It hasn’t happened often, but it still stings my fragile ego. The first time was in the Council offices several years ago when I complained that I couldn’t have an appointment with the Mayor because “the Mayor doesn’t give appointments”. The second time (that I recall) was just a few days ago when I was told that if I didn’t like the Mijas government I should do this.

So, what did they tell me? On the first occasion I was told that if I don’t like the way things are done to go back to England. Now, with years of Jacobite history and myths instilled into me throughout my upbringing, telling a Scotsman to go back to England smarts a bit.

At least on the aforementioned second occasion, I was told to go back to the UK. I can live with that. I can live with the words, at least, but I am not at all happy with the sentiment.

Bigots and racists exist everywhere. I have to be honest and shamefully admit that there have been some in my own family, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that some also exist in Spain.

I have never felt a general exclusion from Spanish society because of my nationality although the Spanish system does have conditions which make it hard for “outsiders” to fully participate in state managed systems, but I digress.

I’m feeling a bit militant as I write this article, and ask why we as immigrants to Spain should just put up and shut up? Maybe, if I had moved to some middle Eastern country not best known for its democratic process, or to Cuba, or to North Korea, I could understand the put up and shut up advice, but why I would go to these locations in the first place would beg a question.

But I originate from a country which has a Prime Minister whose family came from the Punjab via East Africa, where the Capital City has a Sunni Muslin Mayor whose parents came from Pakistan, and to top it all where the front runner for the top job in the Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland is the grandson of immigrants from Pakistan. And I am being told to get back to the UK because I disagree with how my money is being spent and what it being spent on or because I challenge the message that the Mayor doesn’t give appointments.

So, why this attitude at all? Maybe because we International residents give the impression that we are just here to enjoy ourselves, and we leave all the nasty political stuff to the Spaniards? The first part certainly isn’t true. So many International residents make a significant contribution to our community.

The second part, however, stings with a hint of truth.  Because we don’t get involved in the political process to any great extent, there is the feeling amongst some natives that we should just keep our noses out of it, let them get on with it, and most of all don’t dare to question it. Maybe it’s because of living for the last 14 years with an “anarchistic” Spanish wife that (and I mean that very affectionately) that when someone tells me not to do something, or even unreasonably tells me to do something, my hackles rise.


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Written by

Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson is a Councillor with the Grupo Populares de Mijas, radio host and columnist for the Euro Weekly News

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