We are careful not to say – rather, to write – the wrong thing. Oh, someone on Facebook will set up a hue and cry because we didn’t ‘like’ the doggy picture, or we failed to support some post about alternative medicine or tattoos. We could be ostracised – which in Facebook terms means we are ‘unfollowed’. It’s a bit like being ‘Sent to Coventry’.
We support this, we don’t like that... it seems that this large group of foreigners which we belong to and which has chosen Spain to live – a group which has little background to share, coming as it does from all over northern Europe and beyond – must weld itself into a cohesive group, by championing the most trite causes it can find. Buddhism (a charming philosophy) is shaken like a stick by an angry dog. ‘Don’t hurt the ants’, says someone after I posted a picture of my kitchen covered in the little creatures. ‘Put down peppermint oil and they’ll go’, says another. Go where... into the bathroom? Too late anyway, I’d already sprayed them with Matón. ‘I’ll have a word with her’, posts another, referring to some evident newcomer who did ‘the wrong thing’ in some public function attracting many hostile Facebook comments in the process. Some of us émigrés want to criticise the large number of immigrants in their country of origin, without noticing the irony. I am shown on my regular visits to Facebook ugly racist propaganda from hate groups, improbable items from fake news sites and disturbing pictures of mastectomies and twisted bodies: just type ‘amen’ they say.
Others seek to chastise those they don’t know who have hurt some animal (I got one today about a fellow who beat his dog two years ago... in Brazil)! We must be suitably shocked and write imprecations and insults (and, for some reason, overuse the epithet ‘moron’). We are introduced into vigilantism. We have become pious and grievous.
Other regular subjects, which attract an enormous tail of ‘ex-pat’ comments, include ‘we really must learn Spanish’, ‘bullfighting is bad’, ‘we’re just guests here’ and ‘would anyone please adopt a three-legged nine year old dog called Jaws’.
In the old days (just a few years ago), our waspish criticism of others was hidden by a pen-name, and the ‘forums’ shuddered delicately as we stormed and raged. But now, with our own name not only prominent on each comment but linked to our home-page, one would imagine things would be more settled. Let’s post kitty pictures and photos of the loved ones, swimming or posing good-naturedly for the camera. Useful local information perhaps. A sunrise photograph (well, OK, we’ve seen enough of those). Yet the ratio of these posts to hostile political attacks, crude jokes, eviscerated animal photos or endless threads about nothing much in particular... means that some of us – me anyway – are spending too much time on Facebook (or, at the very least, I need to filter out my ‘likes’ and ‘friends’ lists).
I arrive at this opinion just as Movistar calls to say they are upping my service to fibre-optic and fifty mega per second. Oh boy, I’ll be able to watch those Facebook videos now!
By the way, ahem, don’t forget to check the Business over Tapas Facebook page!
‘The residential property market in Spain is set to see a steady rise in home prices in the foreseeable future, according to the real estate branch of one of the country’s banks.
According to Solvia, the property division of Sabadell bank, average Spanish house prices will rise by 7.3% between now and 2020, although there is likely to be wide regional variations. Meanwhile, another Spanish bank Bankinter is forecasting that house prices will have risen 4% by the end of 2017 and are set to increase by between 4% and 5% next year...’. Report from Property Wire here.
Valladolid and Salamanca are looking at reversing the decline of their smaller towns by re-housing refugees there. The story at El Confidencial here.
‘Madrid’s Historic Upscale Neighbourhood (Barrio de Salamanca) Attracts International Interest. The capital city’s most exclusive area offers luxury at every turn, but sellers have an advantage thanks to low inventory’. Puff from Mason Global. (Thanks Charles)
One thing that is highly appreciated by foreign visitors, according to a report in El Mundo, is the Spanish infrastructure: ‘Odd as it may seem, paella is not what the tens of millions of tourists who visit Spain each year value the most. Neither the beaches, nor the monuments, nor the terraces... What international visitors appreciate the most are its infrastructures...’.
From El País: ‘July 2017 becomes the month with the most tourists in history in Spain with 10.5 million foreign visitors arrived, beating the record for a single month held by August last year’. One can add to those figures, the point that around 45% of all tourists are not even foreigners, but local Spanish.
The tourist boom leaves 25,000 million euros in Spain in the first six months of 2017, says El Independiente here.
Could the tourist bubble suddenly burst, asks El Mundo doubtfully.
Owners of Airbnb apartments who rent out ‘habitually’ should be registered as ‘autonomos’ (self-employed) says employment experts in Valencia Plaza here.
‘More than 2,000 British holidaymakers have been victims of an online holiday rental scam, it has been revealed. Despite countless stories in the media, a letter seen by the Olive Press from UK’s Action Fraud, confirms that the number is rising, despite the conviction of 30 fraudsters. According to the fraud investigation team, the number of fake websites is growing and it is very difficult to police...’. From The Olive Press.
Headline from Vozpópuli: ‘Hacienda puts 100,000 lawyers on the warpath: they want to audit all of their billing for the past three years. The representatives of the Spanish Bar Associations held an urgent meeting on Monday to assess the request made by the Treasury to lawyers and solicitors working in Spain’. (First they came for the lawyers...).
ING Direct customers may find that their ATM bank cards are no longer as useful as they once were since, without the Popular tie-in for no-charge ready money, the possible alternatives – Bankia and Sabadell – say they are not prepared to give ING customers free access to their money.
Headline from El País in English: ‘As summer tourist season ends, jobless claims surge again in Spain. Data confirms high numbers of people forced to work in temporary or short-term positions’. Indeed, the unemployment figures for the end of August show a steep rise, making this, says La Ser, the worst August figures since 2008.
From InfoLibre: ‘The Spanish Government declares all military information concerning Saudi Arabia to be secret. The BOE (the State Bulletin) published on Wednesday an agreement between the two countries for the mutual protection of classified information in the field of defence. Between 2013 and 2016 Spain exported arms to Saudi Arabia for a total value of 1,361 million Euros’.
The PSOE’s Pedro Sánchez was trying to talk his way out of a deep hole – ‘well’, he says, ‘Spain is a nation of at least four nations’ The ABC is telling the story. ‘Spain is a nation, although the sovereignists call it a state,’ he continued. ‘Nor does a nation identify itself with language alone, it identifies itself with a feeling and a will to be a nation, and I believe that this was recognized by the Constitution of 1978’. Under this definition, Sánchez has insisted that there are ‘at least three territories that have historically expressed their vocation to be a nation, which are Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia’. Plus Spain of course. Tricky stuff. Naturally, it quickly got trickier – ‘What about Andalucía?’, roared Susana Díaz. Then it was Almería’s turn to get annoyed. It’s never been very happy being lumped in with Andalucía anyway... As Accion por Almería (here) says: ‘What is certain is that, the more they claim that Almeria is part of this supposed Andalusian nation, the more we will reaffirm our sentiment:"Almeria is not Andalucía and the Almeria people do not feel Andalusian”’.
From the ABC – ‘Five years of the ERE investigation: 275 people accused, and not a céntimo recovered’.
Spain’s leading pop musicians declare themselves as "victims of a fraud" by the entity that represents their interests: the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE). This follows arrests from the Caso de la Rueda investigation, ‘...a plot in which several members of the entity allied with the television channels received millions of euros for the copyrights of songs with false arrangements broadcast on evening programs’. El País has the story here.
‘The Attorney General guarantees "firm and vigorous" action against secessionism’, reports El País here. ‘....Faced with the unreasonableness of those who stand on the fringes, the rule of law and democracy, there can be no hesitation of any kind," José Manuel Maza said at the end of his speech at the opening of the judicial year, which is held at the Supreme Court...’. One defender of the right of the Catalonians to vote in this referendum is Pablo Iglesias, who says the vote is ‘legitimate’. The Government is ready with ‘all necessary means’ to thwart Catalonia’s plans, says El Diario here.
From the BBC on Wednesday ‘The parliament in Spain's restive Catalonia region has approved an independence referendum on 1 October which Madrid has vowed to outlaw. Separatist parties which hold a slim majority backed the referendum law and legal framework needed to set up an independent state. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has asked the constitutional court to nullify it. He will hold an emergency cabinet meeting on Thursday (today) and meet other party leaders...’.
The Madrid view, with El País in English: ‘It’s not independence, it’s a violation of the law. The bill regulating the Catalan independence referendum is illegal from beginning to end’.
From El Mundo: ‘The judicial route for ‘floor clauses’ (cláusulas suelo) will speed up this September to resolve the jam that has caused litigation for the commercialization of mortgage loans that contain conditions declared opaque or abusive by the courts. The General Council of the Judiciary estimates that at the current rate of arrival of lawsuits in the courts, it will be necessary to have the facilities to attend nearly 200,000 cases annually. The figure could be revised when in the next few days the body coordinates with the Ministry of Justice and the regional governments to update data and respond to the demands of courts that already claim more resources...’.
The three main phone companies have managed to reverse a fine imposed on them in 2012. We hope the State hadn't budgeted that 120 million euros it's just lost... Story here.
From Citizens Advice comes this notification: ‘All UK Nationals in Spain Residency Rights Post Brexit’. It begins: ‘We have already seen the second round of negotiations take place between the UK and the EU Brexit negotiation teams. The EU continues to push for citizens rights as preliminary to all other agreements. To put the EU team´s request into simple terms, they ask only that the EU citizens who are now living in the UK and the UK nationals resident in the other 27 states retain the citizens rights they have today. The U.K. recommendations would remove the most important of these rights...’.
From The Guardian: ‘Leaked document reveals UK Brexit plan to deter EU immigrants. Exclusive: Home Office paper sets out detailed proposals including measures to drive down number of low-skilled migrants from Europe’.
Media-tics quotes Reporteros sin Fronteras as saying that Namibia has more freedom of the press than Spain. Spain is, however, comfortably ahead of the United Kingdom and, inevitably, the USA. More here.
Having got us all to take out our glasses to read the labels in the supermarket, it appears that we may be being fooled by some of the claims. Watch out for descriptions like ‘natural’ and ‘casero’ and ‘sabor a...’ and so on. But, you knew that all along, right? An illuminating article on false labelling found at OCU, the consumer’s organisation. .
The dreaded xylella fastidiosa has been found in almond trees in Alicante. El Diario reports here.
A type of Chinese wasp is wreaking great damage on the Málaga chestnut production, putting the industry in trouble. El Diario reports here.
A professional soccer player called Juan Mata suggests that all of his tribe should donate 1% (one per cent!) of their income to charitable causes. So far – just one other professional footballer has said he’s in. Ctxt reports here.
‘...British entrepreneurs, explorers, writers, artists, politicians and even kings have been fascinated with the region for centuries and left their mark in a generally very good way. They fought wars for the locals, built railways, wrote poetry to its cities, introduced sherry and laid the foundations for tourism itself, as The Olive Press explains...’. The story here.
Welcome to the Anarchist Republic of Aragón. Not that it sounded much fun. The Consejo de Aragón lasted from July 1936 to August 1937. Aeropinakes takes us through the history of the 25,000 km2 anarchist, agrarian state. Here.
A young French snorkeler has discovered a pirate ship sank of Denia, Alicante in 1813. The story here.
However important, cringe-worthy or immoral that Spain’s arms industry may be – there was a certain quiet pride evident with this title from Público: ‘Spanish pistols – the most expensive and most sought after by the ISIL jihadists’.
‘The Ibiza yoga retreat that’s like the fitness Olympics’. Article at The Guardian here.
From The Olive Press: ‘The Balearics have the highest petrol prices in Spain and are even higher than the UK average, according to new reports. Prices on the Spanish government-run minetad.gob.es and drive-alive.co.uk showed the average price for a litre of unleaded petrol on the islands was €1.30, compared with Spain’s €1.18 and the UK’s €1.23 averages...’.
The lady who had poor old Salvador Dali dug up (waxed moustache and all) to prove by DNA testing that he was her father? Well, no, he wasn’t!
The Ricky Tomlinson video and song in last week’s BoT is beyond superb. Self mockery at its finest (here). Thank you for highlighting it Lenox. Hope all is well with you.
Warm regards, Jackie
Seventeen great Spanish horror films. Trailers and analysis from Espinof here.
Business over Tapas September 7 2017 Nº 223
A digest of this week's Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners:
With Lenox Napier and Andrew Brociner. Consultant: José Antonio Sierra
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