Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Red Flags Of Murcia

Don't get too alarmed, this post is not quite as militant as the title suggests. I spent the weekend in Murcia on what has now become an annual excursion; visiting the Mar de Musicas festival held in Cartagena. Youssou N'Dour was the attraction on Saturday night and the place was packed, to the extent that we had a serious case of overbooking. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the evident lack of interest that many of those attending had in the concert - I suspect an inflated guest list is the cause of the crowding and the presence of so many people who go to an event that doesn't interest them. Meanwhile, the only red flags I saw were those flapping on the beaches of La Manga as a strong wind meant that swimming was declared unsafe and the temperature never got near what you would normally expect for Murcia at this time of year. Not that I minded, the beer was cold and the grilled sardines were fantastic.

All of which gives me a suitable pretext for writing on a Murcia related story that previously fell off my list of potential topics to post about. A few months ago I read in the press about a new stretch of motorway that was being opened between Cartagena and Almeria to the south. This would normally be of no interest to me but it was reported that nobody from the government turned up for the wine and canapés that accompanied the inauguration of this motorway, despite it being a national government project. The reason for this absence has to do with what lies behind the new road. It has several exits which lead the driver taking them to nowhere at all! No village or town lies at the end of them. At least not yet, the reason these exits exist is because of plans to open up one of the few stretches of Mediterranean coastline that has not yet been entirely constructed. The projects that the Murcian regional government have prepared for the area are not small scale, we are talking about developments that combined involve hundreds of thousands of new homes.

The new motorway was projected by the previous government led by our bitter and twisted old friend José Maria Aznar, and the regional government of Murcia is also firmly under the control of his party, the Partido Popular. One of the biggest developments planned for the region, Marina de Cope, is intended to have accommodation for 60000 people as well as the now mandatory golf courses. Following the finest traditions of the construction industry, the site chosen was previously a protected natural park which amongst other attractions had one of the few remaining turtle populations. Such details could not be allowed to stand in the way of such a promising development, and the Murcian government acted to remove the protection. This decision has been taken to the Constitutional Tribunal, which you might think would mean the plans have to be put on hold. No way, the Murcian government has informed the tribunal that it doesn’t matter what decision they reach when they finally get around to hearing the case, because construction is going to start anyway. There’s nothing like a bit of respect for the rule of law! Don’t even ask where the water for these developments might come from, you could present a serious argument for saying that the Sahara begins in this region.

The best summary of this situation I found on the web came happily from a site that I already link to, Los Genoveses. It’s a pity there isn't a red flag we could use to stop these people from concreting the few remaining open spaces on the coastline. Avanti popolo!

1 comment:

Evaristo said...

The Murcian government couldn't care less about the environment. They have decided that all this will bring wealth and the seven wonders to the region and the majority believes it and trusts them. Nothing to do about it, believe me. All my friends vote PP blindly.

BTW: I'm from Murcia...