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.