Over to Mijas

The image of Marbella often spreads beyond the municipal borders, becoming an umbrella location for a large proportion of the western Costa del Sol. There are hotels and beach clubs in Estepona that use the Marbella brand in their marketing - and nobody seems to mind, not in Marbella, nor in Estepona -, in the same way as luxury residential estates in Benahavís or property developments in Ojén also effectively use the allure of their larger, more famous neighbour. It’s hard enough to position a brand in the international tourism and property markets, especially when that brand is ignored by the public institutions that should be promoting it, so there’s no point clinging to it just for the sake of boundary line.

In recent years Mijas has also made use of the Marbella umbrella but in a different way. Not to promote successful financial initiatives, but to hide its own disgraces behind scandals that are much more conspicuous, not because they are more serious, but due to the brand penetration.

However you only have to look at the planning atrocities overlooking the motorway to conclude that something has been smelling fishy in Mijas for some time. But as there haven’t been great scandals to be ashamed of, it seems that the necessary moral antibodies have not been generated.

Now it transpires that the Partido Popular spokesman in Mijas, Ángel Nozal, has offered a Podemos councillor a job for taking part in a no confidence vote to regain power over the town hall. And if he doesn’t accept, he will be reported for allegedly earning a salary he’s not entitled to. Nothing personal. Just business.

This offer, which is really a threat, shows yet again that, looking at it with the best will, indulgence and naivety, the Partido Popular has two souls living side by side: that of those who are ashamed of everything from the Gürtel scandal to this one, and that of those who think they can carry on regardless, simply taking the general public for as long a ride as they can.

The track record of Ángel Nozal and the ethics of his offer leave no doubt as to which soul is driving him. Neither does it seem likely that he will stand down of his own accord.

Meanwhile those who should have been showing him the door were worryingly silent after the story broke on Wednesday. Perhaps we should question the soul behind their political project.