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This morning, after only one week, we have 780 signatories on the petition:
The sheer volume of numbers says a lot.
There are two schools of thought about this petition. There are those who agree and those not in agreement with the letter and who do not want to stop the Road Shows. They want the Ministers over here so that they can be well and truly challenged.
Let me say, at this point, the cynic in me – prompted by our collective experience – says that not much notice will be taken of this petition – or any petition. We have all read the excuses given by the addressees over the last decade. But that should not stop us from trying. I can bet on it that the Road Shows will go ahead as planned. Mike and his group, together with Keith and his, protesting on Wednesday outside the Spanish Embassy will get a second chance in June to do something similar I have no doubt. They have already entered a dialogue with the Spanish officials. That is a considerable achievement.
I do not want the petition to be seen as working against that achievement. Keith and I are very supportive of one another. The petition, I would argue, allows those who wish to show their feelings to one specific person in our own Government who we believe has some power – albeit limited – to express authoritatively to his opposite Spanish Minister the position many of us are in. We are not ‘a few’. We are many. Also David Lidington must make it clear that it is in Spain’s own interests that this whole sorry business must be cleared up ASAP. He is in a particularly strong position to do this.
However, there are also others, agents and private sellers, who feel that the Spanish property market should be promoted because sellers are just as ‘stuck’ as would-be purchasers. Waiting for true justice in Spain is a fool’s game, they argue. But there are two things that could be achieved relatively quickly if the Spanish government took action NOW.
1. All bank guarantees should be honoured on illegal and unfinished builds. The fact that many banks and financial institutions did not issue BGs is no excuse under the law. It is a legal requirement. Full stop.
2. Fast-track courts should be set up to deal specifically with property issues. The law (Ley57/68) is very specific and there should be no misinterpretations.
As I have already said, the former could be dealt with, if not tomorrow, within weeks and the latter within months. Monies would be freed and those still wishing to buy and live in Spain – and there are considerable numbers of those – would be in a position to try again. In this way there would be satisfaction for sellers and for reputable, licensed agents.
Whether you think the road shows are a good thing or not, we are all aiming finally for the same thing. Justice and a life without worry and stress. By signing the petition you are becoming a member of a much larger body and we can stay in touch. So, if you haven’t already, I hope you will now sign. You can help further by notifying your own MEPs and asking for the petition link to be put on their websites. Please stress that there are only 3 weeks left to sign before the petition is sent to David Lidington.
Thank you for sticking with me thus far.
Saturday 7 May 2011: 780 signatures and counting