The BBC’s got a story on how some expats living in Spain are getting involved in Spanish municipal elections. All EU citizens are eligible to vote – or stand – in council elections. I mentioned last week that I’ll be voting for the Green/United Left (aka the communists) as they’ve done a lot to improve both the look and the feel of Cerdanyola.
Much further south (the traditional home of the British expat), people haven’t got so much to be grateful for. Successive administrations from the PP, the PSOE and other parties have been criticised for large-scale corruption, especially in their dealings with land and building permissions.
So some Spaniards and ex-pats have united in a party called ‘Progreso y Orden‘ (Progress and Order). The party’s platform is to do away with those problems that ruin life in la Vega Baja of Alicante. Problems like corrupt politicians, excessive land speculation, ‘delinquency’, drug use and… immigration! Unusual as it may seem, non-Spaniards are involved with a Spanish party which is opposed to immigration. As you might have guessed, I smelled a rat. A big fat racist rat.
So I had a look at Progress and Order’s homepage (web geek’s observation: probably the worst designed website in existence: I had to use Firefox’s ‘Page info’ dialogue to navigate the site!) (Updated: here’s the link to their homepage!). When I eventually managed to find the Spanish language ‘About us’ page, I found out a lot about the founder of Order and Progress. He’s called Fernando Gadea. He’s an ex Guardia Civil (not that there’s anything wrong with that), an ‘intelligence expert’, an expert in ‘electronic security systems’, a former Spanish legionnaire and a former municipal official. He spends quite a lot of time talking about himself (even more than I do in my ‘About’ section), and seems to be your typical ex-military, ex-Guardia, private detective sort of nice chap.
Unfortunately, he forgot to mention one thing on his new party’s site which might be of interest to residents of San Fulgenio, as well as the BBC journalists who missed this little tidbit. When he was a ‘concejal’ (town councillor), he was there as a listed member of España 2000. Those of you who haven’t heard of España 2000 can check out its Wikipedia entry which is both accurate and amusing. Other Nazis in Spain consider them to be something of a joke. A splinter-group of theirs is apparently based in Catalonia, and puts up stickers in Cerdanyola which call for the repatriation of ‘non-Spaniards’ (which we can assume doesn’t include wealthy Brits or Germans: the photos all seem to be of Muslims).
So there you go… not exactly surprising that a party called Order and Progress is a bit dodgy. The BBC should probably have done some better research for their story, as it would have been interesting to read a ‘Brits and Germans in far-right Spain pact’ headline, but never mind. It’s also worth noting that not all Brits in Spain are voting for the local equivalent of the BNP. While many expats see fit to spew invective about the ‘Asians’ back home, there are plenty of us who didn’t leave home because we were sick of seeing brown faces everywhere.
As has been reported on other blogs, British involvement in Spanish politics doesn’t stop at San Fulgencio. Bernie Ecclestone, short-arsed owner of the Formula One franchise, has just announced that there’ll be a new Grand Prix in Valencia ciutat. But only if the electorate remember to vote PP in the regional elections, as the local party boss is a chum. What a revolting little episode. I’m boycotting it. But good luck, Lewis, anyway!