The CRA and the CDiP can still work together for Camposol before it’s too late 

We, the CRA have posted this on CDiP Facebook page:

Hi there, I am Peter Pont, a member of the CRA committee. I should stress at the outset that I am not a politician. I hope you will indulge me in allowing me to raise the above issue and reply to comments made following my post on your website in February 2019. Here I would like to again clarify if I have a correct understanding of what the CRA and CDiP want to achieve and how. I would also like to highlight new developments, and make some apologies. I only put a little of this reply on the CDiP Facebook page due to space restrictions, however, it will shortly be found in full on the CRA website I will also forward it to CDiP in it’s entirety.

Firstly, I should say that I have only been with the CRA committee for less than two years. I am not the best authority on these things, and am happy to be corrected. I am not a member of PSOE or standing for election. There is no personal gain in this election for me greater than that for every other person who lives here. That Camposol becomes a better place to live.

What follows is largely my view of things, any of these views maybe shared by some or all, of the CRA committee, but any errors made (and I have a few of them to apologise for shortly,) are mine and mine alone.

I have heard the history of what has gone on between the CRA and CDiP, but it is just that, history. I think we are on the verge of the most important election in the history of Camposol. As we approached this I personally, would have liked to see the CRA and CDiP work together.

I may have missed it but I have never seen a partnership offered between the two groups. I am sure someone will correct me if there was such a thing, even before I joined the CRA? I am aware of an offer from CDiP for the CRA to join them, and even to have one of our members on the CDiP committee as an observer. Though I do note most recently, that Mrs Silvana Buxton was offered a place somewhere on CDiP’s list if the CRA threw its weight behind CDiP, it’s management and manifesto. This is not a partnership. To illustrate the point when it was declined the CDiP plan became to replace the CRA with another neighbourhood group (CHAO was it?) involving elaborate elections being run on each of the sectors? I should also warn people about listening to predictions of elections. They are just that, predictions based on one person’s idea or belief. Nothing more. It is someone telling you how you and thousands of other people will vote. If anyone believes these CDiP predictions we don’t actually have to spend time deciding who to vote for and go out and do it! If anyone needs anymore convincing, just look at Brexit. Everyone predicted a remain victory. Indeed when I went to bed, the leave campaign had conceded defeat. When I got up chaos had descended on us!

However, it is my honestly held view that both the CRA and CDiP want the same thing for Camposol. That is to make it a better place to live for the residents, both now and in the future.

The main difference between the two groups are HOW we think that can be achieved.

The CRA are not political. We are not a political party. However, we feel that we have found a mainstream Spanish political party in PSOE that wants to do right by Camposol. This is the oldest political party is Spain, is one built on anti-corruption and one with national support including the current Spanish Government. PSOE are not likely to find themselves belittling other parties or breaking the law to win votes. They are unlikely to find themselves disqualified from an election due to such breaches. PSOE have been helping Camposol at both local and regional level for some time. An example of this being the regional report into the rambla relief (or canalisation) for Camposol. There are other local things that PSOE have helped the CRA achieve. I do not want to go into these here. It is easy for the main message to get lost in the detail. That is not to say that this collaboration has achieved anything near what we have wanted to achieve. Why is that? Before I answer that I should say that earlier PSOE members were perhaps not aware of the extent of problems here in Camposol and the will of the people here to get them resolved. When PSOE came to speak to, and listen to, the people of Camposol four years ago, no Camposol resident turned up to speak or listen to them. None. No CRA or CDiP were there either. I am not pointing a finger here, it is reality. One of the senior members of PSOE in the region states that he drove past Camposol on the bypass most days never appreciating the feeling of abandonment that residents here were suffering.

Due to the more recent involvement of some very motivated people, some of them in the CRA, they are now acutely aware of our needs and our resolve to get things done. Indeed, shortly we have the mayor of Mazarron appearing at Camposol to address the residents! Maybe she is worried?

So why haven’t the PSOE achieved more?

PSOE do not currently have the power due to a lack of control in the town hall to push things through. Though it amounts to the same thing, those currently in power in the town hall have done, and are doing, their best to frustrate everything that the CRA/PSOE have tried to achieve.

How do we think we can change that? By asking people to take an informed look at what PSOE are planning to do for Camposol as the election approaches. Do we trust PSOE to do it? Yes, we do. As an example, they already acknowledge that all sectors, A, B, C, and D are adopted and consequently should be receiving basic services. We have been dealing with their local head Gaspar Miras Lorente for a year now, and we feel he is a man that can be trusted. It is a measure of PSOE’s intentions that they have put two of the CRA committee on their candidate list (again I am not one of them.) The first at position 6. Of course they with us consider that Silvana Buxton would be a great addition to the team. Would they do that if they didn’t share our goals and were not interested?

I know some people have said on the CDiP facebook page that PSOE have no interest in Camposol. I would ask that those people spend time with Gaspar and speak politics with him as I have over the last month and tell me if they feel that way. I would be surprised if they still did. They might not trust any Spanish politician, perhaps not any politician of any nationality. If they are right, then all is lost and with the greatest of respect there will be no solution for Camposol based on Politics, and what have we got then? Nothing more than we have now. We might as well all give up. But we do not agree. We have to trust someone in the Spanish system to achieve anything. Continuing from that, if PSOE achieve their aim of winning the local election outright, or failing that, even win it as a head of a coalition, they can make a real difference to Camposol. Though I should make it clear here that there will be no overnight solution to all of our problems. PSOE intend to give basic services to Camposol very quickly, but most of the solutions will be long term plans involving money from the region, from national government and even Europe. There will be one, three, five, ten and maybe even 20 year plans. If anyone says these problems will be solved in weeks, they are in denial. For example CDiP say if you vote for them all of Camposol’s lights will be on in a few weeks? I would like to know how? It is not as simple as someone with a ladder replacing some old bulbs. Anyway, I digress. There is a lot of money out there, but to the best of my knowledge, it has never even been applied for to help us out in Camposol. The intentions of PSOE are far greater than the CDiP manifesto. They have been made public, they are huge and will take considerable time and funding. There will be easy solutions to some things such as street cleaning. But things like that and repairing the lighting infrastructure are minor compared to the plans PSOE have in store for us.

However, I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that the CRA, PSOE and CDiP want to help Camposol.

So, what of the approach from CDiP? I should stress here that this is only my understanding of things. I could be wrong. When I last posted on the CDiP facebook page I got many comments (some very colourful) but none that told me I had my facts wrong about the CDiP approach?

I keep stressing that they want the best for Camposol. Their manifesto includes some of those in the PSOE one, but is much less ambitious, and that is probably to be expected as they are of course a local party and a relatively new one with only local support and finances behind it. Though there are ambitious plans there. CDiP want to have a post office in each of the sectors of Camposol. That would mean somehow taking over or otherwise influencing a national state-owned company Correos, to build and staff postoffices on Camposol? I have no idea how this would be achieved. They do however, want the same approach to upper C, and the road infrastructure as PSOE. They intend to battle for the local services that we residents deserve. (Though with PSOE, they feel that battle is already won. They don’t need to get sectors B, C, and D adopted as they already have.)

The big difference is HOW they think they can achieve it. CDiP’s approach, as I understand it, is to get a few seats in the local council and with that force whatever party wins most seats to adopt their manifesto for Camposol, in exchange for their (CDiP’s) support.

So, to follow the logic, whichever party wins most votes (and Mr Tom Finnegan has already predicted the outcome of May’s election and expects it to be the PP, though I have warned about predictions) will give the undertaking to support all of CDiP’s manifesto, in exchange for these seats supporting the party in claiming the head of the coalition. Of course then there has to be trust that that party will carry through with their promises. Even in this scenario there has to be trust in a selected Spanish party. Where the CRA are to trust PSOE, CDiP will trust whoever gets the most votes, (and by his predictions the PP) to hold good on that promise. Of course if the PP or any other party in the majority position wants they can choose to get the support of another party, perhaps one more friendly to it, less demanding, or less aggressive, than CDiP. If CDiP support PP and they don’t hold true to their promises, what can they do about it? They could pull out of the coalition and leave the other larger party to find another partner. With 10 or 12 parties there is likely to be another party or two out there to choose from. Though PSOE and PP can never form an alliance together.

The question will be asked, (as of the CRA) what has CDiP achieved? The reply will probably be nothing, or at the least very little. Why is this? Firstly, we see nothing of CDiP between elections other than to make comments about other people and other parties. Some may say these comments are belligerent and nasty, others would voice it more strongly. At the last election, CDiP did not secure enough votes to get even a single seat on the council, not that one seat out of 21 is likely to make too much difference. But when asked why it has not achieved anything CDiP will point to the fact that it does not hold power in the town hall. The question is can it ever? The inevitable answer is no. The best it can do is try and influence, or perhaps better, to support one of the parties it is busy complaining about.

We also ought to consider what might happen if, just for example, PSOE got eight seats and CDiP three. Could the two parties work together. That remains to be seen. It is clear that CDiP have done their utmost to destroy a current or future relationship between them and PSOE not least of all on the facebook page. Could PSOE accept the CDiP plans for Camposol? Again, that may need to be seen, however, many PSOE supporters would be very disappointed if the party gave up all of it’s commitments to Camposol that were not on the CDiP manifesto. Indeed, many might go so far as to feel betrayed!

So, though I am happy to be corrected, I think I have outlined the differences in a fairly simple (if it ever can be) way of how each of the of the two parties are looking for different ways to achieve what they can for Camposol.

Now having earlier started looking to ask why the CRA and CDiP don’t work together and coming up with the CDiP answer we have all heard, that it’s because the CRA won’t support the CDiP.

Maybe there is another question that needs to be asked, and we will need to put aside egos for this one? Why egos? It is said that much of the approach of CDiP is based upon them winning these seats. Is it possible that they will give up this goal to support a party that has bigger plans for Camposol and is perhaps more likely to achieve them?

Is it time for the CDiP to stop asking why the CRA don’t support them and maybe ask themselves if perhaps the CRA have a better plan?

Maybe the CDiP should support the CRA and PSOE?

Now I did promise some apologies.

Firstly, I should apologise to Mr Tom Finnegan on two fronts.

  1. I admit that I believed the rumours that I heard constantly, that you were looking to get elected as a councillor in the town hall, and that you would not relinquish that. That was clearly wrong as you (or Tony Dwyer, on your behalf,) put on Facebook in response to a question, “I am too old to start a political career.” I have also seen you clearly state that you have some high-profile Spanish people at the top of the CDiP list. So, for that I apologise.
  2. Secondly, again, I believed the rumour spread far and wide that you didn’t speak Spanish. For my part I know only too well how hard it is to learn. I can speak Spanish, but far from fluently, despite studying it for over ten years now. I admit that since then I have spaced this out with periods of spending time studying French and German. So only in the last two years have I studied Spanish every single day. I can hold a conversation in Spanish with some preparation, but I find it very hard work. For example, I have managed to (mostly) get my message across when discussing politics with the heads of PSOE. I couldn’t do what you do and talk in depth, and “off script” to one of the heads of PSOE over beers, as they do not speak English. You have clearly discussed more than that to get their inner strategy. Also, to be offered a number 3 place with another party, who no doubt understand that council business here is conducted in Spanish, you must have a good grasp of Spanish. After all, despite our beliefs and demands, at the end of the day we are the guests in their country, a Spanish country where politics is conducted in Castillian Spanish (at least in this area.)

Again, I am sorry.

  1. On the next one, one of your Facebook contributors (I think it was a lady but I am not 100% sure now), said that “the CRA had had 10 years and done nothing.” I don’t know what this lady had given to the CRA, from her tone I suspect she was a volunteer or a committee member of the CRA, but maybe was donating or raising funds over the ten years she had given us. If she was involved in giving that much time, I am disappointed that she felt she/we achieved nothing and invite her to meet up with me, or a more senior member of the CRA and discuss it. Of course, there are many who give their time for good causes on Camposol for no more reward than making things better for the residents I include myself in this though I have given much less than most over a shorter period of time. There are also those that do nothing and criticise what everyone else does. This really, is not helpful and above all makes me sad. There are others who just feel big, or feel better about doing nothing, by putting others down. So, it might be; “yes you have made the gardens look good, but even if you have you haven’t solved the problems on upper C.”

Anyway to the person who gave ten years to the CRA and believes she/we achieved nothing I apologise.

  1. I must apologise to a knowledgeable person Paul. Unfortunately, in his newsletter I inadvertently agreed with Mr Tom Finnegan, when he said PSOE had never held more than five seats on the Mazarron town council. He went on to repeat at the recent CRA open meeting that PSOE hadn’t held 5 seats in Mazarron since queen Victoria was in swaddling clothes. Paul points out that as recently as 2011, PSOE gained 7 seats only beaten by the PP in having eight. Thank you for the correction and apologies.
  1. There is another point where it has been suggested that I check my facts. That is on the number of supporters that Mr Tom Finnegan got on his vote of support to take over the CDiP party. I have seen recently that Mr Finnegan says CDiP has a membership of around 2000. I have spoken to several people at the vote who have told me the figure for Mr Finnegan was 28 along with some “proxy votes” apparently in a box. I am told on the facebook page that this is wrong. Please correct me. How many votes were actually cast for Mr Finnegan exactly, how many people presented proxy votes and how many did they present. Also exactly how many votes were against? I fully appreciate this is in the past but have been told I have to check and haven’t seen the minutes with actual figures on them. Of course, it will all become clear as you are fully aware of the clarity necessary in a political party in Spain.


Finally, I should conclude by repeating what a great opportunity this election poses for the people of Camposol. Both PSOE supported by the CRA and CDiP have the best interests at heart. But look to move forward in different ways. We have an opportunity to have the first Camposol resident on the town Council in Mazarron. We believe Mrs Silvana Buxton is a great candidate for that position. Most importantly she speaks Spanish fluently, but also English, French and Italian. She is well educated, married to a British man and has spent many years living in the UK and Spain, most notably here in Camposol. She has been very active in not only fighting for Camposol, but achieving positive things at local and regional level. I know in your newsletter you have stated that Mrs Buxton has “intruded” on the political scene. This is insulting, not only to Silvana, but to the electorate and in particular, the people of Camposol. We appreciate the CDiP has yet to announce it’s local “high profile Spanish people” on the top of it’s list, however, we feel it will be difficult to beat Mrs Silvana Buxton, who, if elected has every chance of sitting on what in English we would call the inner executive, or cabinet, of the Council, as well as being the minister for foreigners.

It is also not lost on us that Mr Finnegan “guaranteed” that Silvana Buxton would not be higher on the PSOE list than 8.

Now is an important time for Camposol but perhaps even more so for CDiP. You have the opportunity to show that you support Camposol and want to unite in that fact, rather than divide us. Please as voters and a party consider asking no-more why the CRA doesn’t support you, but why CDiP can achieve supporting the CRA and PSOE.

Peter Pont