Dear Sir, The spate of U.S. e-mails professing that the Spanish election results were a victory for terrorists could not be further from the truth, and it really is time that others become better informed before putting pen to paper. First and foremost, it should be remembered that the socialist party led by Sr Zapatero was totally against the invasion of Iraq without a UN mandate, as was France and Germany (amongst others). Sr Zapatero's views were reflected by the millions of Spaniards who went onto the streets in protest - some 90% of the population were against this action. Sr Zapatero made an election promise that if his party won, he would withdraw the Spanish troops. Forward wind to the terrible events on March 11. The ruling prime minister Sr Aznar's government officials indicated it was an ETA-related atrocity. Not only that, but they rushed to the Security council of the UN wanting a condemnation of ETA for the outrage, and, Sr Aznar even prsonally telephoned newspapers to induce them to depict ETA as the guilty party. It was generally accepted here that if ETA were to blame, it would help the ruling PP party, the contrary if Arab/Muslim-related. As it unfolded that there were indications that it may not have been ETA, the government was forced to give out more information, and their reluctance, even seen as possible manipulation (ie using a tragic event for political gain), resulted in, the night before elections, thousands going on the streets in protest, wanting the truth of the matter. This is what changed a probable small majority to the ruling PP party into a majority for the opposition and a heavier turnout of voters, which reflected the democratic view of the majority. The first statement of Sr Zapatero upon being acclaimed the victor, was that his first priority was to fight terrorism, wherever it occurred. However, he also stated he would keep his election pledge (wish a few other politicians would!) that he would remove Spanish troops from Iraq unless it was placed under UN supervision. So, the invasion of Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism, they are two separate issues. Spain is no stranger to terrorist actions, having experienced decades of ETA actions, and more recently the bombing in Casablanca. Sr Zapatero, in fact, reflects the majority view of thinking Europeans on Iraq, whether from old Europe or new, that the invasion was ill conceived and badly thought through, resulting in the mess that exists today. The belittling of the UN, called irrelevant by George Bush, and the lack of WMD, 45 minute chemical missiles, etc will make a lot of people question their leaders as to their trustworthiness. Already we see this week South Korea state they will not now be sending troops (safety factor in Iraq for their non-combatants being the reason) and Poland now questioning their possible involvement in future due to the false reasons for going to war in the first place. All politicians would do well to remember that they are electd to represent the people, and if they try to deceive, when caught out, can pay a heavy price.
Yours sincerely, Graham Phillips
Cyclists clean up your act
Dear Sir, On the short journey to Binissalem on Thursday morning I encountered several large groups of cyclists. One group cycled the wrong way along a one way street in the town and another group congregated on a road blocking traffic. On the narrow country roads in this area cyclists never go in single file nor do they slow down or move in to allow traffic to pass. Often they pass by our houses making a lot of unnecessary noise, sometimes early on weekend mornings. Every few days I have to spend quite a bit of time picking up the litter that cyclists throw over the fence into my garden. I believe that cyclists should be issued with a set of road safety and behaviour rules when they come here for a holiday. They should be respectful of the local people and they should observe safety rules at all times.
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