Saturday, August 04, 2007

Well, El Mundo told us this morning that the Socialist Party executive had, indeed, rejected the pact with nationalists agreed by its branch in Navarra. To be honest, this didn’t exactly rank as news as El Pais had advised us of the decision in yesterday’s edition. But, then, it is a lot closer to the PSOE than El Mundo. There will now be a minority right-of-centre government in Navarra. I think. And we’re left wondering why, if this was going to happen, the PSOE Executive ever let the pact negotiations start in the first place.

In Spanish property deeds, it’s customary to name the neighbours on all sides of your plot. I’m told by Galician friends that, up in Asturias, it was once the custom for coastal properties to describe one’s neighbour to the north as “His Royal Majesty, the King of Britain”, adding that the sea was in between. Perhaps it’s an example of the Asturian equivalent of Galician retranca.

The federation of constructors and real estate agents has suggested the government does more to help the establishment of a functioning rental market in Spain. They say, rightly, that this is sorely needed and will help all those young people looking for a place to live. I suppose it’s possible it would also provide a return on hundreds of thousands of flats you can’t shift.

I mentioned the other day the classic Spanish commercial strategy of locking in your customers and then mercilessly fleecing them. I thought again of this when reading today of the complaint by Ryanair’s founder that the management of British airports was a national disgrace’. The strategy of the new owners, he said, was clearly to bleed the operation of profit at the expense of customers subjected to increasingly intolerable conditions. These new owners are, in fact, Ferrovial – a Spanish company which made a lot of cash in the construction boom. If the allegation is true, it was pretty predictable. If you maltreat customers when you have competition, you’re certainly not going to resist the temptation when you have a monopoly. Especially when you’ve paid top dollar for it and have a lot of debt to service.


Pedro J. said...

Hi, Ferrovial just started to manage BAA a year ago, most of the Heatrow problemes are because of the absurd security measures imporsed by British authorities. Ferrovial just enlarged the security staff in 400 more people during last year. To correct all structurals problems of heathrow give Ferrovial at least 3 years, what was wrong done during 20 years cannot be solved in few months. So I believe what you said about ferrovial is just the known british alergy agains Spanish companies managing British corporations. Look at the Abbey results before Santander and 3 years after Santander...

Colin said...

OK but the owner of Ryanair is Irish, not British.

Angel R Louzan said...

Michael O'Leary has been making quite a
name for himself for the past few years.

Take this as an example :

Casual abuse is O'Leary's stock in trade. He has described the European commission as "morons", the airport operator BAA as "overcharging rapists". Britain's air traffic control service is "poxy", British Airways are "expensive bastards" and travel agents are "Fu??ers" who should be "taken out and shot".

Ferrovial can take comfort in knowing the angst thrown at them has been shared by others before them.

Just give Ryanair anything it wants, all of the time and it won't happen again.,,1513268,00.html

Costa Blanca said...

It would be nice to be able to name one's neighbour as “His Royal Majesty, the King of Britain”, could be useful for all sorts of social climbing.

Angel R Louzan said...

Pedro, that allergy that you speak of is a response to anything that shatters the delusional belief that Britain still remains a Superpower.

A Superpower doesn't need Spain running its airports does it ?

Angel R Louzan said...

Costa Blanca :

Being associated with Britain these days can only result in one sort of climbing.

That of climbing out of a hole.

Colin said...

Angel, It's rather ironic that you accuse O'Leary of 'casual abuse'. You seem to have a knack for it yourself. Though, in his case, you also seem to be accurate about his talent for abuse. Mind you, his comments might be right nonetheless. The fact that he's rude doesn't alone make them wrong.

Frankly, however many arrogant British bastards there might be in the world, I doubt there's a single one who believes Britain is still a superpower. You might well have something to complain about as regards British attitudes but this suggestion is just silly.

As for worrying about who owns [ex] British companies, I should think the history of the last 50 years amply demonstrates that the Brits don't much care as long as the new owners are successful and create jobs. This is what is despised as 'Anglo-Saxon jungle economics' by Continental commentators. Other European commentators have been honest enough to say that it's only in Britain where the rules are obeyed. Spain's last example of ignoring them in its 'national interest' was the EON saga, of course. Are you not grateful that Spanish companies don't face the same obstacles in Britain? After all, you are being given a chance to breathe new life into an aged, toothless lion. Which, according to you, lives in a hole.

By the way, it's not Spain running [most of] British airports; it's a Spanish company. There's quite a difference. If it does a good job, no one in Britain will give a damn about its nationality. 'Nationalism' in all its guises is poorly thought of in Britain. For very good reasons.

Angel R Louzan said...

Colin, thanks so much for the (blimey) ever so long reply.
With regards to "casual abuse" this was a direct quote from the guardian newspaper, and they were not my own words.
With regards to Britain as a superpower, one ought to be forgiven for making the assumption that Brits see themselves as such since their foreign policy reflects that of superpower.
With regards to protectionism in Spain, you may well have a point, perhaps Britain should have similar policies though, if it wants things done with cultural sensitivity, and in line with its own traditional standards.

I did notice an overwhelmingly defensive slant to your wording and I appologise for gatecrashing your blog with such enthusiasm.

As a son of two Galicians, I was born in Southern England some 27 years ago and I am of dual nationality as are many Galicians of my generation.

Were I ever to criticise Britishness it would be with a sad heart having witnessed the decline of a once glorious society into what we have today. The Britain we have today cannot be spared criticism because to do so would not be acting in its favour.

Colin said...


You can gatecrash as much as you like. There's no need to apologise for that.

If you go to the British Society link on this blog, you'll see that I regularly comment on the decline of British society and say it's inferior to Spanish society, on balance. I would only defend it against what I see as unfair criticism. Just as the Spanish/Galician readers of this blog do when they think I am out of line.

The British government likes to characterise what it does overseas as 'punching above its weight'. This alone suppose that it does not have great intrinsic weight. As a matter of interest, how would you view France's foreign policy over the last two weeks, as regards Libya? That of a good member of the EU or that of an ex-superpower doing its own thing even more than you might think Britain does? With dubious morality.

But at least we share sadness at what has happened and is happening to Britain. Along with many other Brits. And, of course, we agree that it shouldn't be spared criticism. From whatever quarter.

Angel R Louzan said...

I have long had a real admiration for the Arab world, perhaps more for what was accumplished by them before Islam came along.
I don't know a great deal about Mr Gadafi, but I might just take the western governments view of him with a pinch of salt.
Since the birth of "Christianity" and the demise of Pagan religion both here and in the Arab world/Persia, there has been this great idea of "us and them".

Many westerners today might cringe at the thought that their ancestors may be buried in present day Lebanon, having been Phoenician citizens of Tyre, or under the shifting sands of Iraq!, having been the Sumerians of Uruk, and the people of Babylon, or Jericho before or after the Macedonian Alexander and the Hellenistic era that changed the Mediterranean forever.

The very roots of Science, Philosophy, and the Arts lay within this region of the world, in a period when Europe Northern Africa and the Middle East existed in partnership as one.

Contrast that to what we have today, shortly after Christianity took hold the roman empire through Byzantium at present day Istanbul began to pull back from Asia and effectively close the door behind them.

So onto present day France and Libya, well.. here we have science again in the form of Nuclear Power.
In the "right" hands it's a godsend, so long as theres trust. Trust can have a wonderful effect on a relationship and I say this with some confidence of not sounding too naive.. trusting Libya with peaceful Nuclear technology that can turn sea water into drinkable water is a massive step in the right direction to bettering life for all.

Sure the morality could be questionable.. might Libya eventually become totally dependant on France and Europe ? I'll say thats up to Libya.

What really needs to change though to improve relations is the infallable power of the establishment here in Europe (with ref to the "Christian" movement discussed earlier) and that of the MEDIA.

Laymen everywhere are having their perception toyed around with, too few of us are actually thinking for ourselves.

This might turn into a psychology and history essay though so i'll end it there.