A few weeks ago, a Spanish reader wrote to highlight the success of the Santander Bank through its Abbey subsidiary in the UK. I didn’t bother to say then that the issue I have with Spanish banks is not profitability but customer service. So why am I mentioning this now? Because, passing a Santander hoarding this morning, my visiting brother-in-law volunteered there was massive criticism in the UK press of how Abbey was treating customers it had garnered via its exceptionally attractive special offers. What I’ve previously called the traditional Spanish catch ‘em-and then screw ‘em strategy. And this on the same day it’s reported BAA will probably have to sell Heathrow.
Anyway, we were, in fact, en route to the local hospital to have his painfully crocked back attended to and I have to record that the level of service there was exceptionally good. And nearly always provided with traditional Spanish charm. But they don’t need to have attractive introductory offers and then bleed you dry, do they?
Talking of comments to this blog - There was a brief exchange recently about the continuing importance of class in British society, in contrast with Spain. This is an article – albeit from a right-of-centre paper – which argues that the main problem the Labour party now has is that, between them, Mrs Thatcher and New Labour destroyed the class-basis of support for the left-of-centre party in Britain. The author writes - If we are to make sense of our political future, we must come to terms with the enormity of what has happened to Britain since 1979: class divisions, in the old sense, are pretty much dead. Social injustice is not a matter of the privileged classes exploiting the labouring ones. It is now a direct product of the manipulations of political policy - in education, in the tax and benefits system, and in the employment market. This is a truth pretty widely acknowledged by enlightened politicians of all parties. Politics is now an open contest between conflicting solutions to real problems in which parties must convince individual voters of the force of their arguments. We just might be on the verge of a triumph of reason over sentimentality. Would it be an exaggeration to say that Spain has been at this point for a long time? Or at least since 1976?
A note for dog owners: My old border collie started to stagger around last week as if he’d lost the power of coordination. But, after I’d taken off the Preventef flea-and-tick collar I’d recently put on him, the problem cleared up. So, if you have a pet which doesn’t have a drink problem but can’t put two legs in front of the others, you might want to check what chemical it’s exposed to.
The Anglo Galician Association – open to all who speak English – now has a Forum on the web. If you have a query about Galicia, why not register and post it.