Someone in Vigo called in the police when they went into their garden and found a snake in the grass. Not very surprising during an election week, perhaps. Especially as it was said to be a native variety and to go by the Galician name of bastarda.
You may recall a large German energy company [EON] recently tried and failed to take over a company here. The Spanish government effectively – but illegally – did everything it could to prevent the takeover and, in the end, to forge an alliance with an Italian operator. My initial sympathy for EON waned after I read that the playing field was not exactly level back home in Germany, where a foreign takeover of an energy company could not succeed. During this long saga, I read more than once in the Spanish press that only the UK plays by the EU rules and allows free rein to international mergers. But how could they say anything else now that Spanish banks and construction companies own large chunks of the British economy? The Spanish are clearly impressed by this integrity but I suspect this wouldn’t make the slightest difference should a British equivalent of EON try to buy anything here. After all, it’s an axiom within the EU that, while your double standards are appalling, mine are fine. To give it its due, El Mundo was scathing yesterday about the political chicanery that went into preventing EON’s bid succeeding and about the government’s [unsurprising] refusal to set up a parliamentary enquiry.
According to the national office of statistics, young people in Spain are, on average, dedicating almost 70% of their income to their mortgages. If this is true, one wonders how they can possibly survive. The general assumption is this can only be via parental help. Which, of course, is very common in Spain.
Here in Galicia, our ‘young’ people [18 to 35] are amongst the least independent in Spain; only a third of them have left the nest - a statistic which is only worsted by the two African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. The reasons given are cost of housing and employment uncertainty. But, as someone has pointed out, this doesn’t seem to stop immigrants coming here. And it’s not uncommon to see young people here shrink at the prospect of leaving the good life of the Rias Baixas to seek work in, say, Madrid or Barcelona.
But here’s a strong view on this subject from a columnist on the Voz de Galicia:-
1. A mileurista is a. Someone born between 1968 and 1982 and whose monthly net wage is less than 1000 euros, and/or b. someone without a tertiary education qualification
2. Fuerteventura is an island in the Canaries and not, as I first wrote, an adventure park or city there.
3. Citroen has a large car factory of the outskirts of Vigo.
4. Majorero is [I think] the nickname of someone from the Canaries, and a local cheese.
MILEURISTAS, HA, HA!
We Galicians are naturally timid .We know that. Sitting on the fence of fear and in the middle of the road, we don’t know whether to take on a mortgage or not. Indecisiveness means we don’t leave the nest. We stay longer in the protection of Mummy’s fireplace than any other young people except those of Ceuta and Melilla. They say only one third of young people between 18 and 35 have left the parental home. Things are too good there. Food is on the table. You leave the bed unmade and come down made up. Why would you take risks in the outside world?
The same report makes it clear it’s not a question of character. Low salaries and expensive housing are the key to our leadership of the slackers’ table. To our being he alleged weaklings who can’t start their own life. Weakness has got nothing to do with the Galicians I know. The reason these don’t leave the home is they don’t have a single euro. So much is clear. Mileuristas are a luxury here in Galicia. They are all in Madrid or Barcelona. Here, many wages are less than a thousand euros a month.
Do they include in their statistics the 13,000 people who are earning their bread in Fuerteventura, for example? All these boys and girls work in hotels or in construction on the islands in the same way as their grandparents did in America or their parents in Switzerland. These kids live far from home, very far, and they don’t own a home in Galicia because they can’t. Who would be smart to take on a mortgage? Even for a couple it’s hard to buy anything decent. Do our politicians realise that sales of bread fall considerably after the 20th of each month? Do they know the number of people whose only pasta [cash] after that date is the spaghetti with spaghetti they have to eat until the end of the month?
A real case: He earns 550 euros a month. He pays 250 to share a flat. And has 300 to live on. Mission impossible. Isn’t the solution to live with his parents? But he works in Santiago and they live in La Coruña. So Mum and Dad have to supplement his miserable wage so that he can keep on working. Why shouldn’t 13,000 Galicians live in Fuerteventura? If one day Citroen decides to up sticks, there will be 130,000 majoreros more.