Last Friday night, one minute past midnight, we started to hear the strangest sounds outside of our front door: metal scraping across a road, men talking, coughing and laughing. Some type of hammering noises. What was going on? It was loud enough to wake up La Gidg from her slumber. I leant out of the window and in a ‘cross neighbour’ tone shushed up the twenty or so people who had gathered on the road to put up all of the political campaigning propaganda. You have to wonder how many of them it would take to change a lightbulb. By the morning S’Arraco was covered in posters and banners. And now, after a couple of gusts of wind, it’s all upside down and inside out.
As a foreigner, who works in publicity and marketing, I can only say what a waste of time and money all the political posters are. Not one has a clear mission or message to pass on, and if they can’t even get it right on the election campaign, when they’ve had months to prepare, then how are they going to get it right when they’re in office? I’ve probably been watching too many episodes of West Wing.
I have a vote, my notification arrived last week. I want to vote for the party which is going to ensure that my child is getting a good education in her local school, that is sensible about things like promoting the area to the visitors, but also is reliable and honest. And I just don’t think five different posters of five different men and women grinning is helping me to make up my mind. The literature, what I have seen of it in my municipality of Andratx, is all in Catalan.
Perhaps it’s a Europe wide problem: it’s been a tough week for British politics, the AV didn’t get the response they were hoping for, Nick Clegg’s job is looking a bit ropey, and the Scots are one step closer to independence.
I was having a chat with a friend of mine at the weekend, she is passionate about Mallorca, and improving tourism services here. She wrote a document about fifty different things which could be done to improve the experience that tourists have with very little outlay, and some of the ideas were completely free. She sent it to one of the local potential mayors, the response? ‘Thank you for your message’. Not very encouraging is it. I want someone to inspire us, I think we need good, honest leaders who can see the bigger picture. If my friend were standing (she’s not) I’d vote for her energy and passion and creativity. ‘The foreigners could take over politics, if they wanted to,’ she said. ‘But first they’ve got to care enough to get up and take an interest in what’s going on here.’ Have you registered to vote? Now’s the time to make up your mind how you’re going to cast it… Tick tock.
(first published Euro Weekly Newspaper May 12th 2011)