Sunday, 21 August 2011

Many people will have seen the extraordinarily moving video (shown above) about the Spanish city of Salt in Catalonia which almost seemed to embody the predicament of Europe: a once contented little town suffered a massive immigrant influx under the Socialist mayor, Iolanda Pineda, who seemed stonily indifferent to the concerns of her own people. Crimes rates soared; informal Islamic tribunals began to operate in the town; life became a day-to-day nightmare for the indigenous Europeans. The immigrant population in the city now stands at 43%. Eventually, following the murder of local teenager Oscar Cruz by a Mohammedan, the people mobilised against the elite in a moving demonstration outside the town hall.

Following the demonstration shown in the video above, the Socialists denounced it, claiming that a "racist political group in Salt" was behind it and that it was trying to intimidate the local council. The Socialists insisted "The fear, the insults, the shouts and the deceit will never make us renounce our political ideas or our political project." In has recently emerged that in March this year, in other words in the same month that this demonstration was taking place, the mayor Iolanda Pineda was making a secret deal with Salafist Muslim groups, offering them prime land at a knockdown price so they could build a mega-mosque. It has even been said that this would be the largest Salafist complex in Europe.

With the Spanish municipal elections in May this year, the electorate finally got to have a say, although the plans for the mosque had not yet become known at that time. The Socialist Iolanda Pineda was ousted. The new mayor came from the ranks of the CiU party, a mainstream grouping that is to the right of the Socialists. Three councillors from the Plataforma per Catalunya (PxC) party were elected. This party is described as "xenophobic and racist" by the Spanish establishment, always a good sign.

However, since its success in the elections, the PxC has suffered from a bizarre series of disruptions. Two of its three deputies have now resigned from the party, claiming they came under pressure because of their negro boyfriends. One, a woman called Juana Martínez, who was in a relationship with an African, claimed that she was insulted and ostracised because of it. The party leadership claimed that it simply asked to see proof her boyfriend was there legally and that rather than produce the appropriate papers, she simply resigned from the party. Naturally, the Spanish establishment media has seized on this to portray the PxC in a negative light. See an interview she gave to El Pais newspaper here, for example. Bizarrely, during the kerfuffle, this women's brother made death threats against two PxC officials and was recently convicted and fined for this in court.

Another PxC deputy, a man this time, called Carlos Bonet, was also involved in a relationship with a male negro from the Dominican Republic. He resigned shortly after the resignation of Juana Martínez, claiming the PxC party was too extreme for his liking. Apparently he was also unhappy that his boyfriend, who was also a PxC candidate, was not placed higher on the party's electoral list.

The two deputies who resigned were spotted in a restaurant with the current mayor, Jaume Torramadé - a man with a track record of corruption, prior to announcing their resignations. There is a suspicion that some corrupt arrangement was made, although now both deputies are sitting as independents. They have resisted pressure to resign, claiming they will do what is best for the people of Salt.

The PxC benefited from a wave of concern about immigration, but it is clear that it did not do proper vetting on some of its candidates. Deliberate infiltration by the intelligence services also cannot be ruled out, as we have seen this in other countries.

A special session of the council has been called for next week to see if the mosque project approved by the previous Socialist mayor can now be suspended. Thanks to pressure from the PxC, which has called an anti-mosque demonstration on the 27th of this month, the ruling CiU is considering an initiative that would prevent the construction of religious buildings for a year (this would block a Christian contruction project as well as two Muslim ones).




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