With San An’s West End in the midst of its latest round of political torture, the sheer duration of which would shame the most sadistic cat with the most determined mouse, I am reminded of the thoughts of our friend Colin Butts.
Many years ago, Colin told me his theory on the subject. His idea was that the West End’s slow death was a planned strategy designed as a land grab. A strategy in which property values would be obliterated in preparation for the final death of the West End and reinvention by gentrification. His point was simple, why buy out thriving businesses at full price when you can buy out failed ones for a pittance?
The thing of it is, a very telling thing if you ask me, back when Colin first put forward this idea it was pretty out there thinking – not quite at the nutty edge of 5g conspiracy, but even in Ibiza’s world where corruption and backhanders were considered by many as rife, Colin’s West End proposal took some getting your head around.
But now, how many years on, five, seven, nine? I don’t know exactly, but now his explanation takes on less of the guise of out of the box wild speculation, and more of an odds on favourite.
I can remember back then discussing it with a couple of in-the-know people and seeing their face take in the ramifications of what was being said. But now, I doubt that proposal will have raised too many eyebrows beyond the standard startled expression of a Ryanair stewardess.
For me it has never been about West End change, something that is frankly inevitable and always would have happened with or without political intervention. Times and tastes change and sooner or later the market left alone would have reflected that.
For me the nasty tasting thing about all this, the political jug of five euro fat frog, has been the way it has been done. This sleazy, torturous, process that has never been honest in its intent, and now is diving to new depths in using a health crisis to achieve its underhand aims.
Was Colin right? Very possibly. But even if he wasn’t, one thing is for sure, the way the West End has been treated is cruel and unreasonable torture. It has become Ibiza’s political whipping boy, traipsed out for the bloodthirsty glee of its indigenous population, its ever greater cruel punishment a guarantee of votes come election time, or pacification of the population during the post election cock-ups. Parties and mayors come and go, but West End bashing is guaranteed under any colours.
Whatever its crimes it should have been tried and dealt with summarily. It should have been punished once and changes made and we all move on. What has happened over the last decade is the political equivalent of the very worst examples of excess I have seen spilling down Carrer de Santa Agnés at 5am.
The people who have been party to that process should be ashamed. But what have they achieved? Their lack of honesty leaves us guessing, and until someone has the guts to spell it out, those with an interest in its survival will continue to hope against all hope.
The West End is dead. Long live the West End.