I’ve read Lenox’ postings on this thread since 12 December with growing disquiet and anger. The ‘property situation’ in Spain is dire. Wherever one looks there is illegality, deviousness, corruption and fear. Our politicians and organisations set up to help victims say that they can’t interfere. Those in authority within the Spanish legal system avert their eyes. So many purchasers and would-be purchasers have been disappointed and distressed to a point of nigh on desperation. The stories which reach us are infinite in their variety and are never-ending.
There has to be a turning point. And maybe now is the time. I may be kidding myself but I believe that we are beginning to see signs of movement. By the end of this year we have had yet another damning report on the property situation in Spain from the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee led by a Danish MEP, and a Spanish MEP has undertaken a fact-finding mission on the spot in Andalucia. For the first time we are hearing the word ‘sanctions’ used in their condemnation of the current goings-on. Spain is in real danger of losing grant monies from the EP unless it gets a grip and starts behaving in a just and fair way in its attitude and practice towards land, property and environmental issues. What more can be done? What can you and I do to add to any momentum now taking place?
On Thursday it will be the first day of 2009. It’s a day of resolutions – a day of rethinking and reworking. To remind – these are some of the protests now underway that will culminate in January.
1. The Protest March in Almeria City on 9 January.
2. The Spanish Property Scandal Petition that Suzanne has put together will be taken in person to No 10 Downing Street in early January.
3. The petition to the Governor of the Bank of Spain demanding the honouring of Bank Guarantees will be sent to him towards the end of the month of January.
I am now suggesting that we get involved in such a groundswell of protest that it cannot be ignored any longer. Let’s all make a resolution and commit to it. For a start this is mine. The only way we can have any effect on the Spanish judicial system is through the European Parliament. This is only my opinion, but I think it may be a fact. It’s a long and tedious way of doing things but I believe it has to be accepted because as far as I can see we have nothing other than this to work with. In the UK there are 78 MEPs who are supposed to represent us in Europe. When we have concerns they are the people to whom we are meant to turn. I’m therefore going to blanket email all of them and respectfully request that they support our protest efforts (they won’t have heard of them unless we tell them) by adding their individual written protest to ours in whichever way they feel it’s appropriate to do so.
I would like to throw some ideas into the ring and for now I want to suggest some specific actions that could be taken. I would like to ask you to think about doing one or all of the following:
a) if you have not already sent a petition of your own to the Petitions Committee in the EP that you do that asap. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/peti_home_en.htm
b) write to ALL the MEPs in your area – this would support my blanket mailing – and to your MP to make them aware of your situation. Only one letter needs to be written and that copied to them all. Those of you who have done this in the past please send a follow-up letter to update them (and not let them off the hook). http://www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/MembersMain.htm
c) visit your MP at his/her next surgery and ask them to support you in an individual protest letter – look them firmly in the eye. We put them there to do this kind of thing for us!
d) write to the Spanish Ombudsman. http://www.defensordelpueblo.es/web_ingles/home2.asp
e) write to the Spanish Bar Association. Ilustre Colegio de Abogados (branches in each province) or directly to the President of the CGPJ – Consejo General del Poder Judicial (The General Council of the Judiciary)
f) write to or ring your local newspaper and get a story printed. Don’t be shy.
g) make sure you have signed the Spanish Property Scandal Petition http://www.spanishpropertyscandalpetition.co.uk and, where it’s appropriate, the petition to the Governor of the Bank of Spain. http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/spanishbankguarantees.html
h) attend protests where it’s physically possible to do and cheer on by email where you can’t.
I’m sure you have more ideas and suggestions that you can make so lets put our heads together so that we can bang the drum and make as much noise as possible.
We need a flood of mail and a tide of publicity.
We need to keep up the pressure.
We need to stand by each other.
Something, somewhere, has to give – and it’s not going to be us.