The horrid events in Barcelona last week appear to have reached their conclusion, with the shooting of the homicidal van driver by the Catalonian police, the Mossos d'Esquadra. There is some political and social fallout still to come, no doubt (including a squabble over who should be present in the solemn ‘no tinc por – we aren’t afraid’ Barcelona march on Saturday), but the greatest effect on all of this may be on tourism.
Spain has known that it was – and is – a perfect target for the nihilism of the jihadists. This fine country is easily attacked, as it relies so heavily on tourism – an industry that can, under certain circumstances, disappear pretty much overnight. Perhaps those that either live in or merely visit the cities with their monuments and museums are a different type of person to those who choose to visit the beach and its attractions. Perhaps the fear will be contained. ETA knew this, with its bombs in Benidorm and the Costa Blanca during the eighties and nineties. The simple tourist, looking for time with his family, away from the drab factory workplace, will be quickly convinced to change his travel plans following the threat of an attack (the foreign resident, of course, will stay put, with his heels dug in).
How can we stop these creatures? Bollards may halt a swerving truck here, but how about there? Do we need more police... or more ‘intelligence’... or more controls...? Should we concentrate just on tourism – are other areas less likely to be attacked? What about some other alternate but equally vile plan from the jihadists to bring us down – poisoning the water or kidnapping someone famous? Presumably, someone somewhere is hatching a fresh plot right now. Meanwhile, as both feared and anticipated, we have a small but growing call for some form of massive institutional violence on our part, a pogrom or even a war. We are discovering hatred growing on our side, on what should be the Side of Reason. Racism, ignorance and bigotry. The terrorists had planned a larger attack, says The Local here, including a plan to destroy the Sagrada Familia. That would have probably tipped the Spanish into entertaining the most terrible reaction.
Meanwhile, the political parties have broadly agreed to an ‘anti-jihadist pact’, which Podemos has sent observers to, but won’t join. The Government of the Partido Popular, says Podemos, is blithely doing business with several Middle Eastern sponsors of terrorism. Maybe if we did attack them, they would use those very weapons we have been selling them for decades against us.
*A nice Facebook post in English here from the Mayoress of Barcelona, Ada Colau.
Following the ‘end of the crisis’, the cost of buying property has risen seven times faster than wages, says La Ser here. In the last three years, says the broadcaster quoting a study from the INE, property has risen by 14%, while wages have gone up by just 2%.
The Supreme Court has ruled that time-share victims may seek justice following changes in the law. El Independiente reports here.
From The Guardian comes an entertaining article: ‘I don’t mean to ruin your holiday, but Europe hates tourists – and with good reason. Travel opens our eyes to the world – but it also means closing them. We ignore the hordes of people like us, all of whom want authentic tapas and a photo for Instagram’. The Corner also considers too much tourism may not be a good thing with ‘Tourism cannot be abolished in Spain by force without another sector to replace it’ here. Lastly, the Sur in English assures us that ‘"There will be no 'tourism-phobia' here," says Andalucía's minister in charge’. The article says, ‘...“In Andalucía tourism isn’t a problem at all,” he said. But he encouraged the sector to think about ways to better distribute tourists to under-visited areas of the region to take pressure off crowded parts, and so avoid any conflict between visitors and locals...’. Silly.
International tourism is up, says El Mundo in an article here, but national tourism has failed to meet its target. This may be because hotel prices have risen this year across Spain.
The number of Britons arrested for being drunk while flying is up by 50%, according to Typically Spanish here. ‘The number of Britons detained when drunk in British airports and on outbound flights to destinations such as Palma, Ibiza or Alicante increased by 50% last year. Between Feb 2016 and Feb 2017, a total of387 people were arrested for being drunk, compared to 255 in the previous year...’.
From El Mundo: ‘The public debt in Spain marked last week a new historical high: 1,139,000 million euros and again exceeded 100% of GDP. As a result, the amount owed by each of the 46.52 million citizens living in the country - according to the latest census of the National Institute of Statistics (INE) - would be around 24,500 euros...’. For those who are interested in a comparison with other countries’ debt per citizen, see here.
The editorial at El País in English speaks of the terrible events in Barcelona last week, but then tries to muddy the waters regarding regional and national politics. They say ‘...The fight against terrorism requires complete coordination and a concerted effort among the various authorities and security forces. And this kind of collaboration can only be achieved if there is absolute trust between the various layers of government and state bodies. So we appeal to the Catalan regional government and politicians in the region to work on a real agenda that will address the real problems affecting the people of Catalonia’.
Mariano Rajoy must testify once again on the Gürtel Case regarding the improper financing of the Partido Popular, this time in Parliament – giving him (as someone says) an excellent opportunity to analyse the problems in Venezuela.
The Government has ordered the Mayoress of Madrid to stop work on 577 local repair projects (asphalting, building repairs and so on) at a cost to the city hall of 300 million euros. We are reminded by El Diario here that Manuela Carmena has managed to drop the Madrid city debt by 2,000 million in two years. Later, El Boletín reports that the City of Madrid has informed the Delegación del Gobierno (the government representative) that the work will continue! About half of the work, incidentally, has already been completed.
The city of Cartagena has long had a squabble with its rival (and provincial capital) Murcia. As Interviu reports here, ‘Over half of the population of Cartagena wants to break with Murcia. They feel discriminated in the regional budgets, in sanidad, in customs revenue, in the AVE and so on... all this despite its 215,000 inhabitants and its millennial history. The streets and the surrounds of this port city are full of graffiti that call for a separate independent province...’. In 1799, Cartagena was declared (for tax reasons) as a separate province, a situation which lasted for six years. In 1873, a federalist rising in Cartagena declared the parish as a separate independent country. The rest of Spain took several months to quell the secession. As someone points out – ‘Murcia, the capital, gets 70% of the budget for this autonomous (one-province) region. The other 45 municipalities take the remaining 30%, of which just 3% goes to Cartagena.
Two of the four arrested for their part in the Barcelona atrocity have been jailed without bail, says El Español as the inquiry continues. More here.
Juana Rivas, the woman who went into hiding a month ago to avoid handing her two children over to her estranged husband, showed up outside the courthouse in Granada on Tuesday. After a brief arrest, she was allowed to go home – to await further instruction from the court. Later: but where are the children? The police are said to be looking for them...
From The Independent: ‘Spain ‘issues arrest warrant’ for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu over 2010 Gaza flotilla attack. ‘We consider it to be a provocation. We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it cancelled’’.
From The Guardian: ‘EU citizens will be free to visit the UK after Brexit without having to obtain visas, it has emerged. Whitehall sources confirmed reports that plans for a post-Brexit immigration system, due to be published later this year, would allow EU citizens to enter the UK freely. But that does not mean EU citizens will have the automatic right to stay indefinitely, the sources said last week. If they want to work in the UK, they will need to comply with new migration restrictions. Ministers have repeatedly said that although Brexit will give the government the power to control immigration, that does not mean they want to stop it entirely, and that they want to continue to allow companies to hire skilled workers from the EU...’. Will Spain (and the EU) be looking for a quid pro quo?
According to Wolf Street, ‘Support for Hard Brexit in the UK Hardens’.
And then, from The Independent, there’s this: ‘It feels so embarrassing to be an Englishman abroad after Brexit. I know Cool Britannia now looks like Cruel Britannia, especially if you have relatives in Europe. But please believe me. We’re really not all like that’. Funny, too!
The consumer group Facua has written a book called ‘Timocracia’ (‘Scamocracy’ perhaps) about how institutions, companies and government can rip off the ordinary citizen. Chapters include studies on the absurd prices of electricity, petrol and gas... our telephone bills are manipulated... how they fix your air-tickets... how ‘sales’ really work... why the ‘banksters’ get away with what they do... and various other interesting subjects. More here.
Is Nolotil a safe drug to take? The Olive Press warns us against this painkiller here.
The Archbishop of Madrid has reprimanded a priest (and TV personality) who spoke of blame in his Sunday sermon against the mayoress of Barcelona for the terrorist incident there. ‘There is no one to blame except the terrorists themselves’ said the archbishop.
Eco-terrorism! Two people have been arrested in Montesa, Valencia after it was discovered that they had spent years going around killing bees in their area. They are estimated to have poisoned 16 million of them. The reason was ‘to protect their citrus from cross-pollination’.
‘Oh No, not another sunny day… Living with Global Warming in the Spanish South’. An article at Eye on Spain here.
There’s a TV program on Telecinco called ‘Sálvame’. Telly-trash. Anyhow, some amusing translations to English are offered here of some of the things said on the show.
Considering Charlottesville with Leftbanker (an American based in Valencia): ‘Spain knows a little about tearing down monuments that offend a good part of their population. Across Spain there has been a race to eliminate the exaltation of the Franco dictatorship. Not only likenesses of El Caudillo have been torn down but also those of his henchman in his dictatorship. Streets, plazas, and schools have been renamed to reflect public sentiment against the 40 year reign of Franco...’
From The Guardian: ‘Forget crowded Med beaches: the four coastal regions of España Verde offer cool cities, wild shores and great walking in verdant coast and mountains’.
‘The secret world of Granada’s Alhambra palace. From underground tunnels that snake below the palace’s surface to enigmatic carvings that are just now being understood, is the Alhambra finally revealing its mysteries?’ BBC video here.
Not sure what it’s doing here... but a cracking story nonetheless: ‘A different sort of noise: Lenox Napier’s Portuguese adventure’ from The Olive Press here.
Liked the rules to abide to in villages...everywhere I've lived it seems!
From the fake news-site La Voz del Becario comes the information that the Royal Academy of Spain wants to include the English phrase known by 83% of all Spaniards ‘aguachu bifrí’, which was immortalised by Freddy Mercury in his song of the same name (better known to music executives as ‘I Want to Break Free’). The popular song is here.
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Business over Tapas August 24 2017 Nº 221
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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