Saturday, June 02, 2007

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.


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.


Anonymous said...

I am clearly impressed by these British, too.

How they come to other places and pontificate about a country and a society they do not know at all!! Yes, I am impressed.

There is a lot of bullshit in this blog, but I think today’s post is too much. I cannot stop laughing. Fuerteventura an adventure park!!!!! Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands (around 600 sq. mi.).

You don’t need even to know Geography. I think that 13,000 galicians working in an adventure park is a bit too much, isn’t it? Especially if the park is not in Galicia. The adventure park would have to be huge AND full of galicians.

First, you have to learn to think in an autonomous way. Not everything you read in the newspapers or watch in the TV has to be true. People make mistakes.

Second, you have learn about the country and the society. Talking to the newspapers seller, the postman, and four guys more is not enough.

And then you will be able teach us whatever you want, and throw light into our miserable lives.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I also love your definition of mileurista.

Majorero is someone from Fuerteventura. It seems that there a lot of women giving birth in the adventure park. :D
Maybe is because of the roller-coaster. Who knows.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1: that's what the blogs are made for. People (or should I say bloggers) are free to say whatever they want. Irrelevant stuff or not, that's another issue. This applies to Colin Davies' blog as well.

Anonymous said...

If I say “I’m a homosexual and my partner is 20 years younger than me” that’s probably irrelevant.

If I say “Duardón de Albaredo is a homosexual and his partner is 20 years younger than him” that’s probably false.

The difference between both concepts is quite important.

Anyway, Mr. Davies is free to write whatever he wants whether irrelevant or not. I have not said the contrary. And he can even write false things if he pleases, as he did (although there are indeed some limits, that he has not yet exceeded).

If he’s happy making a fool of himself, nobody can deny him that privilege.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1, false or irrelevant, it's his blog. Period.

Anonymous said...

When Colin says "adventure park" I think he is being sarcastic. I don't believe he thinks it is some sort of theme park... he is suggesting the whole place is some sort of artificial theme park. This is a cultural difference between Spanish and English.

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, folks. Especially those who came to my aid. Actually - tempted as I am to cutch at Marks' kind lifebelt - I made a mistake about Fuerteventura. Comes of rushing when I have daughters visiting, I guess. And not knowing every town and city in Spain. Not to mention rank stupidity and an subconscious desire to make a fool of myself. Anway, I can live with Mr Anonymous's thin-skinned insults. What I can't live with is the thought he's a regular reader, as he must be if he's so familiar with my bullshit quotient. Is this really the sort of person I keep my nose to the grindstone for? Perhaps I should pack it in . . .

Mr Anonymous, if it's any consolation, pontificating is what I do best. On anything and eveything. Not just Spain. That's the beauty of the internet and the blogosphere, it provides a platform for soapboxers such as me. But the really good thing about it is that no one is compelled to read what anyone writes. Or to agree with it. So you are free to take your eyes elsewhere and devote them to something which amuses rather than annoys you. Or you can start a blog and show us all how to do it. Perhaps your life will be less miserable then.

Anonymous said...

*Yes. It is his blog. So he writes what he wants. No doubt. No argument.

*I'm surprised to see you again here (nothing wrong with it, though). I thought you were gone.

Marks: (In)Cultural difference. Of course! How could I forget?
Sarcasm? What's that? I'm a stupid Spaniard. Must be an English thing. These English people have so many things that we lack of!!

*Fuerteventura is not exactly a small town. It is an island some 15 times bigger than Jersey.

*Insults? I don't think I have said anything really offensive. It was not my intention to offend anyone.
It was just my comment. Don't feel obliged to read it or to agree with it.

*Anyway, if it makes you feel better I am not an usual reader. I have only read your blog this week, because I was sick at home and I had to waste my time in some way. I'm feeling much better now, so my life is getting less miserable.

*Actually, taking it with humour I have had a few laughs with (at) your blog. And it made me improve my English. So your time was not totally wasted. And you have learned about Fuerteventura.

*I won't start my own blog. It is not fair that I first laught at your pontificating from the ignorance and then I do the same thing. Besides, I normally have other hobbies.

Anonymous said...

Fuerteventura is a city in the Canaries and not, as I first wrote, an adventure park there.

Closer, but is not a city or town. It is a whole Island.
(Capital: Puerto del Rosario)

Colin Davies said...


I was just checking that that you were checking whether you got any response.

Do you really think it matters to the subject being addressed whether Fuertevenura is a town, a city, a island or whole bloody continent?

Please don't answer; it's a rhetorical question.

You come across as very chippy. Perhaps you are under the weather as a result of your illness. It will be good for all of us when you are well enough to get back to your normal hobbies and so don't have to waste your time playing at sub-editing.

Anonymous said...

Chippy... in case you didn't know, anonymous, that's a word for a certain type of English restaurant. It's also sometimes used to describe someone who is over defensive, critical, touch, irritable and generally bad tempered. Add this to your vocabulary and your English really will be coming on very well. It's good already but a few idioms always go down well with the natives. By the way, just a small thing, but you don't need to put the word "of" at the end of: "I'm a stupid Spaniard. Must be an English thing. These English people have so many things that we lack of!!" It's not quite the done thing to end a sentence with a preposition. Apart from that your English is superb. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Marks: Thanks

Colin: Yes, very clever trick.

One question about tricks, Colin, how many names do you use?
Don’t reply if you don’t want. I already know the answer, and I won’t discuss your low self-esteem and ethics.

I already feel much better, so everyone should be happy.

Con Dios!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Anonymous, you're a goddamn troll. Your criticisms are not reasonable or constructive, and you seem like a very unpleasant person.