Friday, September 17, 2010

According to the Spanish government, after a couple of years in the doldrums, house prices have now begun to rise. Mark Striklin, for one, is sceptical of this. And he sees particular risk in official bodies giving credence to the data. If so, as he puts it here, “Any conclusions they might reach regarding the Spanish property market and its impact on the economy will be as flawed as the figures they are based on.” All I can say is that, as an owner of two houses and seller of one of them, I certainly hope the observation is true. But not exactly confident.

As I clock more and more shops closing in Pontevedra, I wonder how long it will be before people here stop blaming things on la crisis – which suggests something quite ephemeral – and start referring to el estancamiento. Or ‘stagnation’. I guess it depends on how well or badly the economy performs next year. On which opinions seem pretty pessimistic right now.

There’s a bit of a dialogue taking place in the Comments to this blog on the issue of whether Spain has the sort of “working class” that exists in the UK. Whether this is so or not, she certainly does seem to have a “non-working class”. These are the union officials – los liberados sindicales – who are paid by the state (I believe) to do little more, it’s said, than sit at home. Some on the Right say there are more than 300,000 of these and some on the Left say there are only around 500. Perhaps the truth will come out over the next few weeks but it’s certainly a live issue right now, as we head towards important regional elections next year. Perhaps even a general election, if the government loses the support of the Basque minority party keeping it in power.

The issue of what class divisions there are in Spain is, of course, part of the question of where power lies here. This post from Lenox down in the South suggests that, in his neck of the woods at least, it lies where the money and the patronage reside. Nothing too surprising there, I guess.

Over in the UK, it’s reported that the medical profession is in a bit of a mess, thanks to a “bureaucratic determination to impose a rigid job culture on a profession that has evolved its own ways of doing complex things. Doctors are having their work defined for them by people who have no idea what that work entails.” I can’t help wondering whether a similar sort of bureaucratic zealotry lies behind the fascinating clash between France’s president Sarkozy and the EU Commission over the expulsion of (illegal) Romanian immigrants. The EU, after all is nothing if not a zealous bureaucracy, stuffed full of people who believe they know best. And who probably don’t. But are hardly accountable for their errors.

Finally, I hesitated today before taking a flier from a man in town who, years ago, would in Liverpool have been referred to as a “smoked Irishman”. But I was glad I did so. For this is what it said:-


The solution to your problems





 Will help you solve all your most intractable problems
Amarres[????]: Whatever matrimonial problem, recover your partner and attract the people you love within a maximum of three days. Removal of the evil eye. Work. Protection. Luck. Justice. Chronic illnesses.



This, I guess, is the itinerant version of the Nigerian phishing email. Can it really be possible he’ll make money? Or even that it’s legal. Yes and No is my guess. Wonder if he’ll still be there tomorrow.

Tailnote for new readers: My elder daughter has now net-published five chapters of a novel she describes as “A fast-paced political thriller but, above all, a personal tale of pride and paranoia.” Set in a fictionalised Cuba, it’s being e-published at the rate of at least a couple of chapters a week. Click here, if this entices you. If you do go and you enjoy it, please comment. It’s tough being an aspirant novelist.

Non-Google Advert: Looking for accommodation for the ETU triathlon European championships in Pontevedra next June? Click on the Contact Me button above for details of a great place just outside the city.


jorge said...

Hi Colin,

I'm glad Prof. Suares was able to make it to Pontevedra in such a short time and is willing to share his magical powers with the needy. I met him last week in San Francisco while passing his "message" to the public and, by the number of copies in his hand, I am sure many will be better off.
SF Bay Area

Perry said...

Portugal on the cusp. May be forced to seek IMF assistance.

moscow said...

I am actually (honestly) very seriously considering the possibility of buying a flat in Spain. I am nervously considerig the options. To buy sooner rather than later, or wait another year?
I read many conflicting opinions.......

Mike the Traditionalist said...

The building next door was finished two years ago and has six apartments. Not one has been sold yet and house prices are rising?

Colin said...


1. You've upset my Dutch friend Peter, who`s asked me "What is this racist slander I read on your blog? The Dutch are vermin? They contaminated the whole world and even the capital of Holy Mother Russia?". But I think he's joking.

2. Flat in Spain. An excellent idea, of course. But, as for timing . . . I think it all rather depends on where. Prices in Madrid and Barcelona may well be rising. Elsewhere, this is hard to believe.

3. I have received some interesting comments on the working class issue, which I will post today or tomorrow.

Colin said...

Jorge, Fascinating. Must be a franchise . . . Wonder where I apply.


Alberto said...

The prices could be rising because the index covers actual transactions of property and those are happening with valuable properties, like those in the center of big cities. Crappy properties in the middle of nowere like Seseña, Ciudad Valdeluz, Marina d'Or or Polaris World aren't affecting the index since nobody would purchase them whatever the price.

moscow said...

I am starting to think that come the day there will be a considerable drop in prices. I hope so at least.

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