Former Mijas Councillor Bill Anderson reflects on the impact of local politics on daily life
Bill Anderson: The small things
Although I am now outside of the world of local politics, I still think about it. Why? Because I am still a resident in the municipality where I was a councillor. Local politics affects my daily life: the taxes I pay, the cleaning of the streets, the collection of the rubbish, parking when I have to go somewhere, maintaining the park areas, clearing the rural areas which are a fire risk, and so I could go on.
I would like to think that I am not a totally naive person. I understand to need for a municipality to look outwards, too. Some of our councillors attended the World Tourism Fair in London last week. I appreciate fully the role that tourism plays in providing employment, and keeping businesses alive.
I’m not a big fan of what has been happening in the area of building. I know that growth is normal, but does so much of it have to be so ugly? My biggest concern is that infrastructure improvements never seem to keep pace with expansion, but that’s another matter.
I see the big picture and whether I agree with it or like it is my problem. In my time as a councillor, I never commissioned statues to be made, never approved a new building complex, never wrote life changing local by laws. As an opposition councillor, I dealt with the small things: residents who had been waiting 2 years for a building licence, someone who had problems with a house sale because the catastro numbers had been changed, people who had a historical monument in their garden and had to pay over and again for archaeological digs in order to extend their terrace, and so I could go on. The thing is, that these were not small things for the individual concerned, but once you take these things to government they don’t seem to have the time to ‘sort them out’ as they are mainly concerned with the ‘big things’.
Why does it seem to be the case that once people get into government, the small things no longer seem to matter? It’s very simple. As soon as people get into the important positions, they start to look 4 years ahead and do the things that they feel will have enough public profile to get them back in again at the next elections, and that doesn’t include dealing with the small things. Even 6 months after leaving politics, I still regularly get messages from people saying that they have written to councillors (and this is not party political) and never even get an acknowledgement of receipt of their message. It seems to disappear into a cyber void, never to be seen again. I can’t help them with this, as the same thing happens to me, and had regularly happened over the 4 years of my role as councillor.
So, what’s the message to important people? By all means, do the big things. They are important, but don’t forget about the small things that affect people’s lives in a big way. The small things matter.
Bill Anderson has recently published his latest novel, Peanuts Don’t Grow on Trees, a satirical look into politics “that comes with a warning because it is not overly politically correct”.
Pictured below, Bill regularly appears locally to sign copies of his book. Click here for more information.