Yesterday’s article on the Ibiza Rave & Police Action is the first in a while to break our website. 27,000 in its peak hour took us beyond our capacity for a minute or two several times, so apologies if anybody had trouble connecting.

Reaction was certainly as mixed as it was big. Given the amount of shares and shares of shares it is hard to get any view of balance, but I think it unhelpful to do so in these situations anyway. We should remember that on contentious and legal matters it is often those most closely connected to the issue who are most likely to keep silent, publicly at least.

You get to know when writing a story such as this, i.e. one that will divide opinion, that there is one certainty. Regardless of the extent to which you attempt to write objectively, to represent various points of view, you will receive accusations by both opposing camps of being in the pocket of the other side. As expected, they were received. I even got one email from somebody you would think intelligent that both accused me of holding views I do not hold and went on to tell me how wrong those views were and that I should not hold them, “I can’t believe you think that” he said, though it seemed odd he wouldn’t believe something that was entirely a fabrication of his own imagination. Bewildering. 

Editorial: It's Not About Police vs Ravers, It's About Coexistence.
Editorial: It's Not About Police vs Ravers, It's About Coexistence.

It is quite insulting, but you get to take it with a pinch of salt. Receiving the same accusation from both sides is itself a pretty good vindication you have taken no partisan position, it says more about the people saying it than it does about the report.

Core of the Issue

But it does also get to the root core of the issue. It shows that there are a small but important number of people with blinkered and pre-determined minds. It shows that they do not even want to know what the other side are saying, let alone understand it. Ironically these are the people most sure of their opinions. Yet it is just that certainty, that black and white, right or wrong, yes or no, entrenchment of opinion that causes these situations to occur. These are the loudest people, they are the most ignorant people, and unfortunately all too often they are the people who dictate our social agenda. 

What this Rave and the problems that ensued is about is quite simple. It is about coexistence. It is about the people who want parties coexisting with those that do not. Many problems, many social issues, fall under this simple evaluation of coexistence, or a lack of.

A teacher I had huge respect for would say that there is no gratification in describing a problem beyond the eloquence of the description, which is why politicians use a lot of words to say very little. His point was that it is important not to just bemoan a situation, though doing so is the easy option that may have everybody agree with you. The important thing is to take the risk of offering alternatives to improve the situation, even when doing so may win you less favour.

This advice has always stuck with me, so here goes with my suggestion of a possible better way. There may be holes and flaws in this idea, but the aim is not seeking a perfect solution. the aim is to show that there is a possibility of a harmonious coexistence in a matter where the opposing sides feel there is not.

Coexistence

First to deal with the extreme views at either end of the spectrum. There are those of a view that there must never be any form of public music event that disturbs their peace and quiet, not ever, not a single time. Then there are also those who feel that the right to party should be totally free and unregulated, that any party should be allowed anytime, anywhere. The solution with these people is quite simple. Sod them. They are maniacs who will never be convinced of any right path but their own. If we are to achieve coexistence for 99% of the population, the exclusion of this 1% is a price worth paying.

Now for everyone else. The rest of us. The people who think it is reasonable to expect to enjoy peace and quiet, but also reasonable to want to celebrate life sometimes. 

The problem is that reasonableness is entirely subjective and so a very difficult concept to apply. What one person may consider a reasonable frequency of parties another would find excessive. But as far as the Ibiza party situation goes, thankfully we have a form of standard already in place. We have an example that is generally accepted by the population as a whole and is even politically endorsed. It has been in place for hundreds of years and distributed evenly across the island. We have our fiestas. 

Fiestas.

The exceptions given to noise abatement regulations by the town halls for their local fiestas serves as a kind of proof that the idea of allowing late and loud entertainment in public places is not something that is wrong per se. Of course, there are those who do not like it in the population. Those people that would prefer it did not happen. Most people who think that way take a view of it only being a few nights a year, or perhaps that it is tradition, and of course those nights are often on the evening of a public holiday following, so disrupted sleep is not so much of an issue. The public fiestas are broadly accepted in a spirit of co-existence already, even those who do not particularly want them accept that there is a greater will of those who do.

Those few who do hold to the opinion that it should not be allowed at all, that the public parties of fiestas should be banned, probably fall in the category of those extremists we have already ruled out of our coexistence plans. Those people are sometimes vociferous around the time of the event but are generally ignored as being unreasonable.

So how do the official fiestas help those who want to hold a rave or party? As it stands, they just see the town hall authorising themselves to party loud and late as hypocritical.

My idea for better coexistence is based upon allowing parties, but not disturbing the peace of the municipality any more than it already is. And in doing so, also remove the claim of unreasonable hypocrisy levelled at the authorities.

When it is a fiesta night, let the town party freely. Let the bars that want to open later with music do so. Let the townsfolk have a house party and enjoy their terraces and gardens if they choose to, and yes, let the ravers rave and the villa parties be outrageous. For that night, turn off all the town’s decibel metres just as they are off on the public stage. All that is happening is that the rule is being applied evenly to all. Those who do not happen to enjoy the standard fayre of local guitar based band on stage offered by the town hall’s official event can choose to celebrate the fiesta in their own way, or by choosing a commercial offer, but they are doing no more nor essentially any different to somebody that goes down to the town square clutching a bag of churros or a cup of beer.

Of course, this would extend disturbance beyond whatever areas of town the council tend to concentrate their events, but perhaps that is a fair thing anyway? It might take some disturbance out of town and to the earshot of those that feel they have the greatest right not to be disturbed, but I do not think any individual has any greater right than any other. The point is that it would only be for one or two nights per year in any borough, it would be known in advance, and it would be on the same night that late and loud music was already happening.

For those people who want to dance to their own kind of music in their own kind of setting, they would have the opportunity of holding a minimum of 5 events per year spread around the island, probably a good number more depending on whether these nights of party  freedom were just on the main municipal holiday or also the individual town and other holidays. They might prefer more parties, they might want greater freedom, but I think most would see it as a reasonable compromise. 

So, the outcome of this grand plan is that:-

  • The ravers get to rave, but spread out over the island and never in one place more than once a year, and only when there is a late and loud party in that area already.
  • Those who want a villa party or house party get to have one, at least occasionally.
  • The council stop appearing as hypocrites in allowing late and loud licenses for themselves and nobody else.
  • And all this is achieved without there being one more night when late and loud music is allowed than is already allowed and officially sanctioned.

There will be a few people at either extreme who would have throbbing temples fit to burst at the reasonableness of it all, but sod them. How dare they have the arrogance to feel they can inflict their extremist views on the rest of us anyway. 

For most people, it would be greater coexistence. More people living the life they want to live while allowing others to do the same.  

Our views and responses to this story of the Police breaking up the rave should not be focussed on who was right or who was wrong. Ravers. Dwellers. Politicians. Police. I doubt any of them were entirely right or entirely wrong.

As far as the Police action is concerned, the best thing would be if they were never needed in the first place. 

One thing is for sure. If anybody thinks that those who held the rave at the weekend will have come away from their cells thinking, ‘that told us, we won’t do that again’, they are wrong. If anybody thinks the property dwellers decided ‘this is too much effort, if they party again, we’ll just let them get on with it’, they are wrong. The only outcome from the events as they have happened is more conflict.

I do not know if my suggestion of a possible way of coexistence is the right one, but I know that there are only two options, more conflict or finding a way to coexist. Make your choice.