So, Spain's wealth tax is not now going to be re-introduced by the outgoing socialist government. Which got rid of it in the first place, back in 2008. When Spain, of course, was going to ride the crisis better than any other country. Apparently no one truly rich paid it anyway and the burden fell on the hapless middle classes. Me included, I might add.
Talking of wealth . . . Details are emerging of the astronomical salaries and pensions paid to the directors of Spain's worst-performing savings bank - the Caja Mediterráneo (CAM), whose director-general paid herself 600k euros a year and awarded herself a lifelong pension of 370k euros a year. CAM, though, is only the latest caja/caixa, or savings bank, to generate controversy around directors' remuneration. Another has been the new NovaCaixaGalicia, formed via a merger of our two major Galician caixas. Like CAM, it has had to be rescued with public funds. But only after four directors had been awarded a total of €20m in pay-outs. Which prompted our President to claim he was as “outraged as the rest of society”. Well, maybe. In case you haven't figured this out yet - "Unlike banks listed on the stock exchange, most of Spain’s cajas/caixas were opaque institutions heavily influenced by local politicians and businessmen. They lent much to property developers and homebuyers and have been hard hit by the collapse of the housing market bubble since 2007, as well as by the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis."
In Spain - as in France, I believe - one starts with a hearty "Good morning" when making an enquiry at, say, a station information desk. Apparently not here in the UK, judging from the startled-rabbit reaction of the chap I addressed at Leeds station this morning. He was rather lost for a response.
But there was something at the station that took me right back to Spain - a Romanian woman begging at the exit. Yet more convergence.