Spain’s population has grown by more than 10% in the last few years, mostly as a result of pretty uncontrolled immigration necessary to provide labour for the construction boom. With this over, the government has tried to bribe people to go home by offering them lump sum payments equivalent, I think, to two years’ dole. There were said to be 100,000 people targeted, with an expectation that 20,000 would take up the offer. In fact, only 800 have so far leaped at the chance to lose their residence status and work permits. So not a huge success.
Those Czechs are real cards! If you don’t believe me, click here.
Here’s a report from someone who attended the demonstration against Andalucian property abuses on Friday. And, even more interesting, here’s an overview from the man behind it all, Lenox Napier. It would be nice to think someone important in Spain was pondering his words but I rather doubt it. Incidentally, reports of the numbers demonstrating vary from 200 to 2,000, with the lower one coming from the El País on-line report I cited the other day. My guess is they didn’t attend but called a local official who felt it best to downplay things. In official terminology, he would be known by that frequent Spanish epithet - ‘a liar’.
I may think their service is poor but there's no doubting the capacity of Spanish banks to make money. Two of them - Banco Santandar and the BBVA - are reported to be among the top four earners in the world - the others being HSBC and Citibank. As it happens, I have experience of both of the latter. And it was infinitely less irritating than that with the BBVA. But, if Spanish customers are happy, who am I to moan?
The Spanish president was in Galicia over the weekend, bolstering the profile of the local socialist party in advance of our March regional elections. He promised us the AVE high-speed train will definitely be here by 2012 and that his [central] government will help promote the Galician language. But, after the farce of the last 12 months, quite why anyone would believe a word he says is utterly beyond me.
I learn from Google Alerts that this part of Spain is known as the Costa de Marisco – The Seafood Coast. This may well be so but I have to say this is the first time I’ve heard it in eight years. Did I mention that Google Alerts never cites my blog?
And talking of our coast, I read today that yet another speedboat has been abandoned in some cove or other. A six-engined job, with the power of 300 horses, we’re told. They must have money to burn, these drug smugglers.
If you have a problem with hiccups, click here. And if you want to belong to a loose association of people with a common interest in Galicia, click here.
Finally, I accidentally zapped into the Euro News channel this morning, where I was relieved to hear that – though the EU can’t do much in Gaza or on the Russia-Ukraine border – it’s achieving singular success in containing the continent-wide problem of the grey squirrel. For this we need a superstate?