The United Nations has forecast that Spain’s population will increase by almost 5% by 2050. This compares with 7% for Italy, 10% for France and 15% for the UK. In contrast, Germany’s population will fall by 10%, though this is nothing compared with the huge reductions forecast for Bulgaria, Russia and others. The main driver of the growth, the UN says, will be massive migrations from Africa and the East. Its forecasts are said to have been largely accurate in the past but, of course, this may not mean much. And an intervening world war would surely put a spanner in the works.
This week’s revelations about the UK government’s negotiations with IRA terrorists must have provided food for thought here in Spain, especially for President Zapatero. It can’t have been a good time for him to be reading that Tony Blair’s right-hand man feels he made ill-considered, ‘irresponsible’ and unnecessary concessions to the IRA in his desperation to achieve any sort of peace settlement. The outcome, of course, was the strengthening of the position of the right-wing extremists. And administrative gridlock in Northern Ireland. Not happy precedents.
The all-party Commission on prostitution in Spain has confirmed its preference for the Do Nothing option, even though the country is increasingly referred to as ‘Europe’s brothel’. Much to the annoyance of the minority parties and the prostitutes’ union, the two main political parties have agreed there's no case for either legalising/regulating the trade or taking measures against its customers. Instead, the government will ‘increase efforts to stop the illegal trafficking’ of the hundreds of thousands of women brought here from Africa and South America. That should do the trick. Just look what’s been achieved with drug smuggling and illegal construction projects.
By the way, the prostitutes’ union wanted the trade legalised so they could benefit from employee-protection laws and because they would be entitled to social security. It has criticised Spain’s feminists for not supporting them. This is the first time I’ve heard any suggestion that Spain actually has any feminists. Or 'lesbians', as Spanish men tend to call them.