Business Over Tapas 17 November 2015 Nº 138

17 Noviembre 2015 805 votos

Ratio: 0 / 5

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Editorial:

The PSOE are back to tinkering with the election rules. A few years ago, they successfully introduced the ‘Ley de Igualdad’, which insists on a two to three gender-split on every five candidates on any political list (a sort of grown-up version of boy, girl, boy, girl...). As if voters might otherwise lean foolishly towards party-lists which were not representative of their situation. But now, in another step away from true Democracy, but certainly towards raw Innocence, the PSOE wants to drop the voting age to sixteen. Although, depending on circumstance, you might have The Vote at sixteen, yet still have to wait until you’re twenty. The PP likes to try its hand at gerrymandering as well, earlier this autumn Mariano Rajoy was talking about ‘a simple majority, where the largest party would automatically take power’ for town halls. This to stop post election coalitions of smaller groups. The Government is also participatory in making the vote hugely difficult for expatriate Spaniards (BoT 136, or here).

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Housing:

‘The recent property fair ‘Barcelona Meeting Point’ (BMP) was the best in years, say the organisers, leading them to claim the “crisis is over.” BMP also saw the introduction of a new observatory for the Spanish second home and resort industry, and a press conference to raise awareness for a new guide to buying property in Spain. ... The organisers claim the BMP was a big success in terms of exhibitor and visitor numbers. As far as they are concerned, “the crisis in the sector is over.” The optimism went further. “From now on, sales are going to increase, and I’m confident it will be for an extended period of time,” said Enrique Lacalle, president of BMP...’. From Mark Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight.

As Mark Stücklin notes in his Spanish Property Insight, there are ‘around 1.2 million homes on the market today in Spain, against a backdrop of a shrinking population, according to a recent article in the Spanish daily El Pais. The Spanish property market maybe showing signs of recovery in some segments, but a millstone of around half a million unsold new homes continues to hang around the market’s neck...’.

The "value" of a piece of land is not the same as its "price": A court has ruled against those who have tried to contest the plusvalía, the municipal capital gains tax. Article at Idealista.

Regional rental rules explained. ‘Many people buy a second home in Spain with the idea of renting it out when they are not using it, but are confused by the patchwork of regional regulations governing short-term rentals to tourists. Rental-expert Louise Brace makes it easier to understand what is going on with this summary of the latest situation in each region’. Article from Mark Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight.

From la Voz de Almería: ‘A change in the law, brought about with pressure from the ingleses (they mean the AUAN) has saved 19 families in Bueu (Pontevedra) from eviction...’, after a council-owned building was saved from demolition following the new housing law on ‘illegal buildings’ (the argument that the residents had invested in ‘good faith’ and can’t be evicted without full remuneration).

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Finance:

Spain’s economic recovery, with output expected to grow by more than 3% this year and unemployment falling steadily, is generating a lot of attention across the Eurozone. The successful completion of the financial sector restructuring that followed the banking bail-out in 2012, the strong recovery of exports and the widespread narrative according to which Spain has done its homework and Spaniards are ‘the Germans of the South’ has made Spain the poster boy of reforms in Europe...’. Sanguine article from the ElCano Royal Institute.

‘Investor fears are on the rise south of the Pyrenees as Catalonia, Spain’s richest region (pound for pound), descends into political chaos and Spain’s central government threatens to cut off funding to the region. “This is a genuine economic tragedy” that “could ruin Catalonia,” laments Josep Bou, the president of Catalonia’s Business Association and unapologetic unionist. “There is a complete lack of governance” and Catalan society is becoming increasingly “divided” and “polarized.”... From Wolf Street.

Public debt – at 1,062,472 million euros – rose in September to 99.4% of Spain’s GDP, says El País here. The debt, back in 2007, was a more manageable 35.5% of GDP. The Government says that Spain’s public debt will begin to wane in 2016.

Spain exported armaments in 2014 to a value of 3,200 million euros, according to a blog called El Salmon Contracorriente. The UK, France and Saudi Arabia were the main customers, followed by Turkey and Egypt.

...

General Elections 20D

One large group of old-fashioned voters, who prefer either the PP or the PSOE, are Spain’s elderly – the Over Sixty-fives. An article at Sabemos Digital claims that Spain’s 8.5 million old folk, the Gerontocracy, maintain the bipartisan system. 92% of this group has no time for Ciudadanos or Podemos.

From an interview with the Podemos supporter and candidate the Philosopher Alba Rico:

‘..."The day after the election will be far too late to realize that voting for Ciudadanos is not voting for a change". The Ávila candidate to the Senate for podemos accuses Albert Rivera of having "parasitised" the work of the party of Pablo Iglesias to open a "gap" in the system, and insists that Podemo is the only force capable of bringing change. "We are a kind of vaccine against looming barbarism", he explains...’.

The candidate for Salamanca on the Podemos list is interesting – she is a feminist and a gitana (a gypsy woman) called María José Jiménez. According to El Diario, ‘she says she wants to bring the voice of minorities to Parliament’.

Pedro Sánchez, the PSOE leader, may be full of ideas for his party’s election promises, but one which would be welcome would be to drop the IVA on culture to 10%. Another proposal from the PSOE program is to legislate that ‘...The Land Registry must reflect the true status of a property in all major aspects that might affect the ownership and use thereof.’ (source: private email)

...

Terrorism:

La Vanguardia has chosen to make us fearful. ‘We want to conquer Paris before we take Rome and Al-Andalus, says the Estado Islámico’ it quotes in an article discussing the ISIS. Meanwhile, from The Olive Press: ‘The Spanish government has decided not to increase the terror alert. On the recommendation from interior minister Jorge Fernandez, the risk of attack remains ‘high’, at level four, but not ‘very high’...’. Finally, the Government has created an ‘anti jihadist pact’ with the PP and the PSOE in agreement, Ciudadanos asking to join and Podemos on record as ‘not sharing the same values’. Story at El País.

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Catalonia:

 

From El País in English: ‘Artur Mas fails in second attempt to be re-elected Catalan premier. Catalonia will be forced to hold fresh elections if no agreement reached in next two months’.

Mind you, say the Spanish Media, it’s not like all the Catalonians want Independence. To prove their point, a much quoted survey of ‘what if...’ created by the ‘Centro de Estudios de Opinión de la Generalitat’ last Friday gives those for staying in Spain 47.8% and those leaving at 46.7%, one point behind. Here’s El Español on the topic: ‘Two postcards from two different Catalonias’.

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Courts:

Judge Mercedes Alaya, the stern looking lady who was investigating the massive ERE fraud in Andalucía (before being put aside), has broken her silence on the issue in a speech delivered after winning the ‘Premio Jurista del Año 2015’. She said that she was ‘put under enormous pressure during her investigations’ and that the Junta de Andalucía ‘put all the obstacles they could think of’ against her. She also told listeners at the ComplutenseUniversity in Madrid that ‘Politics has invaded Justice to ensure that Justice does not meddle in the affairs of Politics’. More at Andalucía Información.

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Corruption:

"Corruption will never end because that isn’t what the political parties want" Ten years after he first began investigating the 'Malaya case', judge Miguel Ángel Torres looks back at this milestone in the fight against political corruption...’. From Sur in English.

In Partaloa, Almería, a small village of just 700 inhabitants, both the former PP and the former PSOE mayors have been separately convicted of planning crimes. On Thursday the former PP mayor, José Gonzalez, pleaded guilty in exchange for a vastly reduced sentence (from five years prison to eighteen months inhabilitation from Public Office, and a fine of just ninety euros) for reclassifying land belonging to his brother and sister in law in Cerro de la Cruz, later sold to a third party. The PSOE ex-mayor Federico Molina was condemned earlier this year for allowing a close relation to build nine ‘illegal’ houses, later sold to Britons. From La Voz de Almería.

...

Brexit:

‘As David Cameron well knows, with the actual dynamic of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, the British voters would choose to leave...’. An article at El Diario assesses the importance of the current talks between the UK and the EU to improve the relationship of the British with the European Union.

...

Various:

 

‘Spain is facing rising levels of child poverty as its economic recovery fails to bridge a growing gulf between rich and poor, storing up problems for an already-strained social security system...’. An article at Reuters says that one out of every three Spanish children is at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Juan Luis Cebrián from El País was so upset about the claim from The New York Times that the mainstream media in Spain is pringao (er, sensitive to Government opinion), that he has got the AEDE, the association of daily newspapers (the very same ones who managed to persuade the Government to bring in the ‘Google Tax’) to send a ‘...an institutional statement saying that the NYT has made 'a caricature of the reality of news presentation in Spain’. Furthermore that 'the AEDE defends the freedom of the press in Spain, a country characterized by plurality of the media, where new titles are continuously being born with various editorial points of view. The AEDE also notes the numerous cases of political and corporate corruption that the main Spanish titles have uncovered in recent years'. In answer, El Español, Pedro J Ramirez new title, takes a swipe: ‘Cebrian’s El País – once a newspaper of reference, now an organ of censorship’. The offending NYT article here. In an unrelated story, La Razón has apologised on Twitter for using a manipulated photograph as part of a claim that a Canadian Sikh reporter was a Paris terrorist.

Wiki describes PEN International as ‘...a worldwide association of writers, founded in London in 1921to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere. The association has autonomous International PEN centres in over 100 countries. Other goals included: to emphasise the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to fight for freedom of expression; and to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views...’. So, it is sad to read that the Pen Club España has been unanimously suspended for the ‘irregularities and disfunction’ of this cultural centre in Madrid. See Nueva Tribuna.

The European Commission says that it cannot stop grants to the Bullfighting industry, as they are enshrined within the Common European Agricultural Policy. In another story about toros, Podemos wants to put an anti-taurino veterinarian on the four-man board of the Consejo de Asuntos Taurinos de Andalucía (which seems, on the face of it, rather silly).

The main groups that upset us in our day to day lives are the banks, the electric companies and the telephone people. How to lodge a complaint or seek a refund from these and seven other key groups. El País shows how. Otherwise, a useful tool is to visit La Oficina Municipal de Información al Consumidor in most towns, or the consumer protection group FACUA or then, of course, simply ask for the feared Libro de Reclamaciones. (All else fails, write a stiff letter to your local foreign-language free newspaper which will have absolutely no effect whatsoever).

Madrid’s air is so contaminated; they say that breathing it is like smoking five cigarettes a day. Another article here blames tourism (!) for 5% of atmospheric contamination.

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See Spain:

 

Ten reasons why it’s worthwhile to take the ferry across the Straights over to Tangiers, from El Diario.

Spain’s mountains: ‘...it’s not all about the sun, sea and sand. Spain is also one of the most mountainous countries in Europe as well, and climbing to the top of some of the country’s highest peaks will reward you with the most spectacular sights ever...’. From Eye on Spain.

A list of ‘Spain’s most magical places’ at Eye on Spain.

Business over Tapas in on Facebook here.

 

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Letters

‘In my experience, in towns with a significant foreign population, just before the local elections, in which non Spanish residents can vote, the propaganda from the parties is usually in impeccable English, and probably other languages too, but after the election it slides back into a form of gobbledegook. I wonder when ‘they’ will start to understand that we are aware of their feeble attempts to mislead us into believing they care about us?’

After collecting most of the autumn leaves from our garden in Hamburg, mostly falling from giant birch tree of my neighbour, I got around to read the excellent BoT 137, and detected the bomb at the very end. I would be surprised if the anonymous "John" could be any other than my good friend and excellent voluntary editor of all texts in English from "Ciuadanos Europeos" for several years. His home is in Fuengirola, but his last sentence (read it again and again!) applies to all other "European" municipalities in Spain, all Spanish political parties and almost all Spanish politicians.

Sincerely Per Svensson

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Finally:

 

An oddity: don’t miss this video. {jcomments on}

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