Election countdown: Will you be exercising your vote in Puerto de la Cruz?
I had been wondering what to write about this month. After all, the Carnaval is over, and the swallows are already starting to pack their bags, ready to head home for the summer.
April is a quiet month for visitors in Puerto de la Cruz, at least, it is until the hordes of Spanish school children start to arrive. So I have been nonplussed, unsure of a topic, struggling to come up with something even remotely interesting, until I remembered the leaflet that had appeared in my letterbox a couple of weeks earlier.
If I’m honest I hadn’t paid it much interest at the time, I thought it had arrived far too early to be of any relevance, in fact I am surprised I still have it, was sure it had been recycled , but no, I found it buried in a pile of things to be actioned. I must have kept it for its amusement value.
What is it? It is a piece of ‘election propaganda’ for the forthcoming local elections, which are taking place in Puerto de la Cruz on the last Sunday in May. So this has given me the impetus, but probably not the enthusiasm, of a topic to write about this month. It is raining while I am typing this which hasn’t helped my mood, but at least I have no excuse, there isn’t something more interesting I should be doing outside, so here goes.
I know politics is not the most popular topic, I suspect I will have lost some readers already, many of whom are probably now browsing the personal ads, but if you live in Puerto de la Cruz you should at least have a modicum of interest in what is going on around you.
Take this litmus test. Can you name Puerto’s current mayor? Far too easy, you should know that, he may not be the biggest person in stature, but he certainly puts himself about enough to get himself noticed, you must have seen him. Now try this. Can you name his team, would you recognise them in the street and do you know what areas of responsibility they hold? (If you aren’t sure of their names just throw in the odd Rodriguez or Gonzalez or maybe a Hernandez, and you stand a good chance of being at least half right.)
Seriously though, all residents of Puerto, who are registered on the empadronamiento, as they should be, have a right to vote in the municipality elections and should, in my opinion, take advantage of that right on 26th May. Here endeth my party political broadcast on behalf of all non-Spanish residents. Now I am sure I have lost the last few remaining readers, so should I call it a day and cut my losses or should I continue with the journey, even though I am probably talking to myself. I have never been one to give in, so back to the leaflet.
To be fair to it, it is more than a ‘Vote for me because I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread’ flyer, so to call it a leaflet is doing it a bit of an injustice. It is in reality a ‘glossy’ four page pamphlet which depicts the achievements of a particular individual, or perhaps their party, (it’s not that obvious) over the last four years. Not a mention of what the intention is for the next four years should this person or party be fortunate to be re-elected. Now for me, Mr. Joe Public, just an average man on the street (maybe not too average) and you are canvassing for my vote, then I’m not interested in what has been done, I know that already, what I want to know is what the future is going to bring.
Had it been longer than four pages I would have been tempted to call it a short story, but then that would imply it is a work of fiction, which it isn’t, well not all of it. But before I talk about its content, I have read it now, some of it is quite interesting, a word about its author. I am not in the business of naming or shaming so I won’t be revealing their identity. If you have received this ‘pamphlet’ then you will already know, if you haven’t, it doesn’t matter as there will be plenty more poked through your letterbox in the coming weeks, of that I am sure. I have singled this one out just because it was the first and far too early, in my opinion. Whether this was a deliberate ploy, to be the first one off the block with the polling date still two months away, then I think it probably backfired, unless of course, there is a second one, a sequel, still to arrive.
Anyway I was going to mention the author, a person who obviously feels their fame or perhaps their notoriety precedes them, so much so they felt there was not the need to sign off with their name, instead choosing to have a ‘celebrity moment’ and just use their Christian name. It may be that it is to show they are friendly and approachable, or that they are one of the people. For a politician, I suppose, there can be a first time for everything.
Now briefly to its content, because even I am bored with this and I am writing it. Yes, there have been improvement to services, there is no ignoring that, but had they not been starved of investment for years there wouldn’t have been the need to spend so much in the current term. Yes they are starting to repair roads, again the result of years of neglect. Yet for me the most important thing is the list of capital projects, either finished, in progress, or under tender, and just how few of them have been both started and finished in the current four year term. However, there is not a mention of the usual suspects, i.e. new port, swimming pool, Taoro, Playa Martiánez, but then perhaps to do so would be political suicide.
Finally, I just want to question if there was a need to produce this pamphlet. Surely in the age of digital media the same information could be conveyed without the need for paper. Yes, it could be argued that not everyone in Puerto d la Cruz is a techie or computer savvy, but, come on, anyone that isn’t must be so set in their ways that they have probably been voting for the same party all their lives.
This town likes to promote conservation and sustainability and if you believe it we are the champions of recycling, so please if you have received one of these pamphlets and haven’t already done so please dispose of it responsibly. That goes for any similar literature received from other political parties as well. I know which bin mine are going in.
Remember to vote, your vote could make the difference. Puerto’s councils are often formed by a coalition, so a vote for any of the parties is important and if you haven’t any preference just take a stab in the dark.