Tuesday, June 05, 2007

On the 1st of July, smoking will be banned in all public enclosed spaces in the UK. In line with the normal approach to such laws there, an ‘army of inspectors’ has been recruited to police it, empowered to issue on-the-spot fines. The similarity with Spain is that we also have a comprehensive anti-smoking law on the statute books. And some bars and restaurants have been known to observe it, at least partially. Fortunately for me, there are two of these in Pontevedra.

Well, the chances of me having to finance the cava in 18 months’ time may well be reducing. In yesterday’s El Mundo, a senior economist paraded a host of statistics and opinions endorsing the pessimistic view that Spain – and its residents – are on the edge of a bleak decade. Describing the headline growth figure of 3.7% for this year as misleading, the writer dismissed government statistics and attitudes as a pure fraud on the Spanish people. Particularly chilling were the number of unsold properties currently/imminently on the market and the statement that per capita income here has fallen 2% in the last couple of years, more than anywhere else on the planet. Time will tell, of course, but I hope his view isn’t as accurate as he claims it to be. I’d rather pay for the cava than not. Especially as the euro isn’t going to fall simply because Spain’s economy plummets southwards. So, unless prices collapse, your pounds and dollars won’t buy you more of whatever it is in which you drown your sorrows.

One of the points made in this article was that the flow of immigrants into Spain is now higher than anywhere else, at 100,000 a month. So it’s not too surprising that anti-immigrant parties won several council seats around Spain in last week’s elections. Madrid has 12 of these but, so far at least, there are none in Galicia. Too much rain and too little work, perhaps.

As befits a [would be] nation, Galicia has its very own breed of dog, the palleiro. A page on the Xunta’s web site says, “its morphological characteristics and psychic stability[?] mean it can be used as a police dog, in catastrophes, rescue dog, guide dog, narcotic dog, army dog, etc.”. Looking at the photos, you might think it rather resembles an Alsatian/German Shepherd but it would be a mistake to regard them as one and the same. The first palleiros were, in fact, brought here by the Celts, long before the Germanic Visigoths arrived with their canine friends. Honest. The search is now on for an equally native cat.

London has unveiled its logo for the 2012 Olympics. If you want a tart view of this ‘puerile mess, artistic flop and commercial scandal’, click here.

Finally, if you'd like to see a host of photos of Galicia and/or hear a song in Gallego, hasten along to this impressive, public-spirited site. Don’t tell anyone but, when you click on Pontevedra Capital, the first 2 photos are where I have my Sunday lunch and the view from my house. Am I being stalked?


Anonymous said...

Other Galician breeds



Cows, Chickens, horses and sheep:


Anonymous said...

"Phone Booth" probably wasn't translated to Cabina Telefonica, because this was the title of a film at the end of the Franco Regime in which a man gets stuck in a telephone box, which is eventually loaded on a truck and driven to a depot full of dead corpses stuck in telephone boxes -- for all your moaning about Telefonica, it has got better in the 30 years since this film was made!

Colin Davies said...

Well, Telefonica are better than 6 years ago as well but there's still room for improvement!

At least when you call them on 1004, you don't have to deal with one of the corpses stuck in a booth . . .

Colin Davies said...

And 'moan'. Moi??

Martín said...

Hello to all the concurrents,

Better you don't watch it alone!

Goood niiight...

Anonymous said...

If per capita income has really fallen in the last couple of years, the reason is that we have two million more immigrants, according to the data you cite, which have added to the denominator of the equation "per capita income = gross domestic product / number of residents." As newly arrived immigrants don't add as much to GDP as long-time residents they tend to pull the average income down.

The following statement is also probably true: the average current resident of Spain is earning more now than he was two years ago. Those of us who were already in Spain two years ago are earning more (on average). Immigrants who have arrived in the last two years are also earning more than they were in their home countries.

If homes are now more difficult to sell, prices will drop. Declining home prices may be bad for some people (e. g., banks) but will be good for people who want to buy a home. Overall, the cheaper the homes the better.

Your blog is a source of good economic news!

Colin Davies said...

You're keeping me from my siesta!

Yes, I agree with your points. They were made by the writer but I didn't want to quote too many of his [alleged] facts and statistics. But I do wonder whether people are better off or just feel better off as a result of equity in their property increasing for 10 years - The 'feelgood' factor. This could change overnight [I've seen it happen twice in the UK], especially in view of the current levels of personal indebtedness and likely further increases in the bank rate. And when banks start redeeming properties. There will, of course, be a fall in house prices [which again the writer forecast - what else could he do?] so some of us will be able to make money from the Brits who will return to buy up Galicia when they've got over their current fear of a precipitous drop in prices. It's just a shame there isn't a Spanish euro to be devalued so that the exchnage rate is as good as it was when I bought in late 2000. 275 pesetas to the pound, as I recall. Or 1.68 euros, against rather less now.

During the second dramatic drop in the UK house market [1995] I had to value my house for divorce purposes. The tasador gave me one but said 'In truth, this house actually has no value right now as there is no market. Too many properties with falling prices on the market and not enough buyers. Or in the case of your house none, whatever price you put on it'. In other words, people won't buy just because the prices fall. Only when they think they have stabilised. No wonder the government wants a soft landing. Without it, prices could slope downwards as steeply as they have sloped upwards for 10 years. The writer claimed the soft landing was 2 years late in coming. And not achievable now. But, as I said, let's hope he's wrong.

Going for my kip now. This is too cerebral for 4.15 on a hot day.

El Casareño Inglés said...

I was astounded to find out that the Falange had won some local council seats (not here in Casares).

Perhaps immigration (which is what these parties feed on) will push Spain the way of France.