I read last week that the businesses most at risk from September's VAT increase to 21% (from only 8% in some cases) were hairdressers, opticians, cinemas and theatres. So, I wasn't too surprised to see reports of a street protest by Pontevedra's angry hairdressers yesterday. Who looked a little windswept.
Thanks to reader curiosity, I went today to the old Bank of Spain offices, to ask the price of the flats these were being converted into. I thought things seemed a tad strange when I entered to find no activity except a chap behind a reception desk, walking around in a circle, with his head bent:-
[Looking up in surprise] Good morning.
Can you tell me how much the flats will be?
Flats for rent or sale?
There are no flats. These are government offices.
And that's what they're staying?
Offices of the Galician Xunta?
No, Offices of the Spanish state.
At a guess, I'd say I was going to be his only visitor all day, despite the fact there was an X-ray machine and a security frame (though no operators) at the entrance to the offices/non-flats. And, for the life of me, I can't guess why Madrid would need a huge office block in Pontevedra, just down the road from the Town Hall and the Provincial Government offices. But ours is not to ask why. It must make sense to someone.
I mentioned an infamous Galician dynasty yesterday and another one has featured in today's papers – the Oubiña family. Basically they're big in drugs. So it was disappointing to hear that the head of the clan wasn't going to be prosecuted for money laundering because a judge had thrown out as illegal the tapping of his mobile phone while he'd been in prison. Possibly because he wasn't allowed a mobile phone. Stranger things have happened in the judicial world.
But just going back to the Vidal family – it seems that, while they were committing the overfishing crime they were heavily fined for– they were getting 1.5m euros from Brussels. I bet they don't have to pay it back.
The bankers involved in the fusion of Galicia's two savings banks have been appearing before the Spanish parliament. As is customary, each is exculpating himself, saying that he wasn't in a position – despite his salary – to see relevant documents. Or to take the questionable decisions. One wonders how they did earn their huge salaries.
Finally . . . It's 10.05 Spanish time and I'm off to watch the Olympics Opening, though not with any great anticipation. We can't all be Chinese.