Sunday, 23 August 2009

Election Fever

A memorable moment of the Regency series of Blackadder is when he says to Mrs Miggins "After the chaos of the general election, we can return to normal". To which Mrs M (being a woman so not having a vote in Regency Britain) replies "Has there been a general election then Mr Blackadder?" That's a bit like how it feels on Flores.

For an island of 4,000 people, there are - incredibly - TWO local authorities here. The conselhos of Santa Cruz and Lajes are respectively the third and second smallest conselhos in Portugal. (Can you guess which is the smallest?) Below is the camara municipal of Lajes:-


SC and Lajes even have a long running territorial dispute. In the 18th century a party of worthies was called in to adjudicate the boundary. They fixed it at a straight line running from the mouth of a river on the east coast to the mouth of a river on the west. Which was worse than useless in the era before Google Earth because they then fell out over that line's course through Flores' lumpy topography between its two termini.

It's still going on in the 21st century. Lajes has recently accused SC of extracting sand from land in Lajes territory. The claim's been reported to higher authority which has adjudicated in favour of Lajes and condemned SC in reparations to the value of the sand taken (6 figures). SC hasn't paid yet and the bad blood continues.

Into this maelstrom steps Luis Maciel to run for presidente of Lajes under the slogan Juntos Conseguimos - "Together we can do it".


Together with whom, I ask? I know Luis quite well as he is the island's veterinario. One of our cats gets regular bouts of a chesty cough and has to be whistled over to Luis' surgery in Lajes for periodic prescriptions of anti-biotics so often he must be the best travelled cat on the island (in terms of distance covered if not variety of journey).

So Carol and I were having a smirk that the cat is Luis' biggest campaign donor in terms of vets' bills paid. But in reality, Luis doesn't charge a consultation fee and only charges you for the drugs prescribed at prices which are sweeties compared with UK standards - if our British vet had ever run for office, she would have been a shoe-in to the White House with a few billion to spare.

Anyway, the thing is no-one else has any election posters up yet. Is it a one party state or are all the other candidates too amanhã to bother campaigning? Not that it matters as we'll be voting for Luis anyway. So will the cat. If he can stir himself.

11 comments:

le moulin said...

Corvo?

Neil King and Carol Duncan said...

Correct

Kathie said...

Oooh rats, due to the 4-hour difference in time zones, you beat me to the punch!

Kathie said...

"...if our British vet had ever run for office, she would have been a shoe-in to the White House with a few billion to spare..."

Ahem, as you may be aware from all the so-called "birther" nonsense from the right-wing loony tin-foil hatted conspiracy brigade -- who implausibly claim Barack Obama's mother traveled all the way from Honolulu, Hawaii, to a remote village in Kenya in summer of 1961 in order to give birth to him there (what a rigorous journey THAT would've been back in those days for a woman in late pregnancy!) -- one must be a "natural-born" US citizen in order to be eligible to run for President of the US and live in the White House.

Unless the Brits also call #10 the White House in a generic sense, that is...

le moulin said...

C&N, I'm a bit busy entertaining at the mo but will get round to booking flights for end Sep asap.Can't wait! Hope it's not tooo hot comme ici!

Kathie said...

"[w]e'll be voting for Luis anyway."

Uhhh, this just dawned on me: Do you have dual citizenship? Or are Florentinos just glad of a good turnout at the polls? Or is it like Chicago, where the motto is "Vote early, vote often?"

Neil King and Carol Duncan said...

Kathie - no, Brits don't refer to Number 10 as the White House, figuratively or otherwise.

As to whether we're eligible to vote here, I'm unclear about that but I glossed over it for the sake of the story!

Kathie said...

It wasn't as far-fetched a question as some might think, because I have American friends who hold dual citizenship with Portugal (including EU passports), so I didn't know whether you might as well.

Kathie said...

Hmmm, I wonder if Luís Maciel's campaign slogan "Juntos conseguimos" (Together we can) was inspired by Barack Obama's "Yes we can" (also used in Spanish, as "Se se puede!")

Neil King and Carol Duncan said...

Kathie - I've a notion the right to vote is more to do with residence than nationality (we are nationals of the UK but residents of Portugal). After all, I pay taxes in Portugal so do I not get a say in the election of the people responsible for spending the money. No such thing as an EU passport (horrors!)

Kathie said...

OK, OK, you're right. It's a Portugal passport.

But, when entering Portugal (e.g., at PDL or Lajes) we passengers are herded into one of two long lines -- one for those holding passports from EU nations, the other for the rest of us, and believe me that latter one moves a whole lot slower :-(