Monday, June 08, 2015

(Not)Paying my taxes; Netflix por fin; The EU; Brexit?; Pretty pubs; Ponters parade; & Blatter fans.

I recently went to pay my municipal taxes. Thanks to austeridad, the cashier's booth had closed at 11, the equivalent of 9 in the rest of the world. You can tell how un-busy he always was from the fact he was one of the few idle people in Spain to have a book to hand. Seriously underemployed, then. But only La Crisis cost him half his job.

Being a low ethics sort of a place, Spain has a problem with the piracy of films, Or, rather, most people don't have any problem at all with it. This has delayed entry into this market of Netflix but all has been resolved somehow and the company will launch here in September. Though not in my house, unless I have cable wi-fi by then.

The EU has always been at heart a political project, even though it started out under the guise of an economic one. Those who have long sought full political union - especially Germany and France - have taken advantage of the travails of the last 5 years to progress this objective below the radar. Click here if you want to see the consequences of this for weaker economies such as Spain's.

As for Britain and the EU, it was instructive to see a UK government minister talking nonsense yesterday about a future new EU treaty to accommodate changes agreed with the British government. If ever there were a safe bet it's that Brussells isn't going to give the electorates of France, Holland, Ireland, etc. another chance to vote on something. If I'm wrong and there is a new treaty between now and 2020, I'll eat not just my hat but my entire wardrobe. Plus all the clothes therein.

Here's someone's idea of the prettiest pubs (pafs) in England. Knowing Cheshire very well, I very much doubt they are. The Philharmonic in Liverpool is one of several glorious pubs from the city's golden age. Viewing the Italian marble urinals of the Gents is a must. Even for women.

And here's a couple of pretty pictures from a small parade in Pontevedra yesterday, in honour of Corpus Christi, I think.
Galician pipe band
Unknown saint. Assuming it's not J. C.
Finally . . . Sepp Blatter's home village of Visp has a population of around 7,400. Hard as it may be to believe, they're all said to think he's a good egg who can't possibly be corrupt. Only everyone below him, presumably.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Hmmmm… Dangerous bet you are making there… As I understand it, under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty (which is the old EU Constitution so splendidly rejected by several electorates, and then reinvented as a simple treaty approved by the obedient national parliaments…) any new future agreement does NOT need to be approved by anyone, either through referendum or vote by national parliaments. As such, it becomes quite likely that they will put in a new Treaty, with the necessary cosmetic changes, which allows Mr Cameron to claim there's a whole new, more UK-friendly deal, deserving of an overwhelming Yes vote.

If I were you, I'd quickly change my wardrobe. Start with edible underwear!


PS For all I try, I can't seem to grasp what you mean in the first paragraph. The office in question had closed by 11 where in other places they close at 9?? Deserves a bit of a rewrite, I think.

Colin Davies said...

You ignore the fear they have that a British referendum on a (possible) treaty will lead to demands for referendums [or 'referenda', as you would doubtless say] elsewhere. Which they will never countenance.

Time: I have said many times that Spain's horario is 2 hours different from everyone else's. So 11 in Spain is equivalent to 9 elsewhere. Pay more attention! But I will revise it if anyone else is confused . . . .

Alfred B. Mittington said...

But… That British referendum will take place. I, at least, can't see how Mr Cameron could wriggle out of it. And a referendum without some sort of new treaty (no matter how anemic) is practically unthinkable, given the PM's promises, insistence, and road map…

As for 11 versus 9: I get your point, but I still do not know what happened. Was this a.m. or p.m.? And what office anywhere CLOSES at 9 a.m.??


Colin Davies said...

Yes there will be a referendum but it will be based on minor changes (bigged up by Cameron) which don't require a new treaty. So, both sides will be satisfied and there will be no need for the French, etc. to have a referendum.

In other words, everything will be fudged, under the aegis of Mrs M.

"And what office anywhere CLOSES at 9 a.m".?? Exactly. That's my point! The Spanish office closed at the equivalent of 9am. Have you got it yet, you troublesome nitpicker??????

Colin Davies said...

Will no one rid me of this turbulent pedant?

Where are a few spare knights when you need them?

Alfred B. Mittington said...

A joke.

You meant this as a wry joke…

Oh dear…


Colin Davies said...

Er, no. said...

That's St. Roch, or Rocco, in the final photo. You can tell by the fetching way he exposes his leg (to show the plague sores) and the dog with a bread roll in his mouth.
Safe to assume that at least once your town was threatened with an epidemic, and prayed to San Roch, and was not wiped out by said plague... and ever since has said "thanks" at the annual parade.
This iconography, I am told by my all-knowing neighbor Edu, is why so many Spanish dogs are named Rocky.

sally said...

You don't need Netflix....... If you have a smart tv you can download many free movie apps like ShowBox and Popcorn Time etc or just get yourself a tv box from Amazon which converts a 'normal' tv in a smart tv and comes fully loaded with everything you need to watch whatever you want and for free! Simples!

Bill said...

Is it not possible to set up a direct debit to pay municipal taxes in Galicia (I presume you are referring to IBI)? Or perhaps you don't wish to, for some reason?

In Murcia, where I have my holiday home, I set up a direct debit for IBI as soon as I could. The first year I tried to pay it in person, my property was pretty new so hadn't yet got onto their municipal computer system, so they told me to "come back next year". When I did it had, so I was able to get the invoices to pay both years, then I popped straight up to the bank to get a bank transfer done for both years. I asked to set up a DD for future years and it was done in seconds. Since then I haven't had to think about this minor administrative matter, well apart from making sure that there is money in the account, but as I always keep much more than that there for my regular visits, this is never something I have to think about much. Obviously I have DDs for water and electricity too - life is far too short to have to deal with these mundane matters in person any more.

As for the in/out referendum, I think some suitable fudge will be agreed to allow the British government to present it as a "victory" and that the referendum will result in a significant majority for the UK to stay in the EU, not that this will satisfy most of those who wish the UK to leave whatever happens. On the other hand, in the unlikely event that it goes the other way and the UK does leave, I don't believe it would be a disaster for the UK economically or politically (probably quite the reverse on both counts), nor (economically) for the rest of the EU, although it would certainly result in a loss of prestige and a break in the "ever closer union" narrative. However I think the likelihood of the UK choosing to leave is minuscule. All the same, you don't go into a negotiation presenting your final 'bottom line' position immediately - this applies both to the UK and to the EU as a 'corporate body' and indeed to the various major components, specially Germany. France under Hollande is in reality a bit of a joke and its economy isn't in a much better state than certain others such as Spain and Italy. Raw economic data would suggest that several countries (obviously Greece, probably Portugal, Spain and Italy too) need to leave the Euro for their own economic well-being; admittedly this would cause 1-2 years of horrendous pain domestically as a result of the initial major depreciation in values that would occur, but perhaps in the long run better than the slow knife-cuts inflicted by retaining it; it's dangerous to extrapolate, but the way Iceland's economy has rebounded from the brink is startling. The reality is that none is likely to leave, even Greece, because their own populations probably see it as a visible sign that they are a part of the modern [German] world of financial discipline, rather than the ill-disciplined fringes with regularly depreciating currencies they knew before. The only good thing the last British PM, then Chancellor, did was to keep the UK out of this disaster-area, but at least we only have one currency to buy when travelling across or dealing with most of Europe so in that respect we (in the UK) certainly have the best of both worlds.

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