IT is 100 days since my investiture as I write, so let’s start with a positive. The first council meeting agreed a 50% salary for councillors in opposition. It has allowed me to dedicate my time to working for Mijas. (Incidentally, for those who say that politicians are only in it for the money, I took a cut in salary from my job at the University to do so.)
The International Community has responded very well to having a ‘foreigner’ on the Council. I am in contact with people I hadn’t met before, and maybe they feel a little more invested in the local political process.
I am sure a lot of this has to do with language; English speakers feel more comfortable communicating their concerns to someone they feel identifies with their way of thinking, their culture, and their needs. I made a commitment that if I became a councillor, I would set up access points for residents. By the time this is published, I will have started what will become regular surgeries around Mijas to give residents direct and easy access to at least one of their elected representatives. I sense a lot of interest. Let’s see how it goes.
On the other hand, I am also sensing something of the New Puppy syndrome from our government team. They started off well, promising collaborative government, all very positive. But 100 days in, things are changing and not for the better. They are now at the stage of avoidance.
I do not wish to pick on any individuals here but merely to highlight what is happening in general within the government team. I ask for appointments – I get ignored. I am promised appointments – they don’t get made. It feels as if the novelty of the ‘new puppy’ has worn off. The initial enthusiasm about working together has been replaced with their own priorities and now collaboration feels like a commitment they don’t want.
Apparently things are happening in Mijas but I find it strange, as a councillor, that I find this out from social media, not from the Mijas government. It is a very odd definition of collaborative government in my opinion. I was hoping for a new canvas with a new narrative but sadly it seems we are reverting to type.
I don’t have four walls and a coffee machine. My office is on the street where the people are. And you know what? The perspective on the world is very different at pavement level to the view from an ivory tower.
We all get paid from the same public purse and maybe others should take that on board. They are not ignoring me, they are ignoring the people who pay their salaries and put them there in the first place.