Last Friday, 18th January, Juanma Moreno , leader of the Partido Popular, was sworn in as President of the Junta de Andalusia thus ending 36 years of uninterrupted socialist rule. This, for a number of reasons, represents a seismic change in the politics of Andalusia which should not be overlooked by foreign residents.
The right wing Partido Popular will govern in coalition with the more centre-right Ciudadanos, with the support of a new right wing party called Vox, and the two parties have already agreed “90 Measures of a Government for Change in Andalusia”.
As president of the homeowner’s association, AUAN, measure number 47, a statement of intent to quickly reform the Land Laws of Andalusia, is the one that interests me most and I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of their intentions to bring about this change given that the association has spent a number of years in dialogue with both of these parties seeking solutions for the issue of illegal houses.
Based on our interactions to date we have reason to hope and indeed to expect to see a different mindset and more agile solutions from this new government.
However, in order to succeed they must overcome 36 years of systemic thinking within the Departments of the Environment and Territorial Planning, bodies that bear comparison to that fictitious bastion of mindless bureaucracy, the Circumlocution Office, immortalised by Charles Dickens his novel, Little Dorrit, where one of its principle functions was to “never, on any account whatever, to give a straightforward answer”.
These modern-day examples of the Circumlocution Office have browbeaten our Mayors to such an extent that in Zurgena they feel a sense of accomplishment when they are granted partial approval of a town plan after 14 years of negotiation and tranquilised our citizens into a sense of resigned acceptance that it is OK to wait another 6 years for that plan to be executed (maybe) so that those without title to their homes can have peace of mind and legal protection at last.
However, neither such mindless bureaucracy nor pleas for tranquillity have ever held any sway with the members of AUAN and other like-minded associations and we will continue to strive for practical, achievable, and above all, agile solutions to the issue of illegal houses. And perhaps, just perhaps, with this new government we stand a chance of succeeding as long as we have the support to continue the fight.