The Spanish Banks: What an easy business this appears to be. Governments are not going to allow you to fail nor do anything about the truly obscene earnings of your top tier. And, when the dust settles after any trouble, you can simply start introducing all sorts of new or massively increased fees without telling anyone about them. Such as double ATM fees on cash withdrawals, one for you and one for the bank the money is being taken from. Or a charge for sending to someone else the money you've paid into the bank over the counter - a 'correspondence' charge, in the days of electronic transfers.
Other Easy Money: The valor catastral is the notional value of you property used, for example, to calculate your IBI or your annual 'rates'/municipal taxes. For a long time these lagged behind the real market value. But the slump of the last 8 years and the ability of local councils to increase both the base number and the percentage they apply to it have rather changed the situation in the last few years. But the proximity of your property's value to that of the market will depend on your local council. Pontevedra is has seen a 34% increase in recent years. Needless to say, this being Spain, no one ever advises you of changes. You just see them in the (small print) text of your bill. Which is obligatorily paid through your bank account. Usually.
The Socialist Workers' Party: This is a group to the (near/far?) left of Labour's new leader, Jeremy Corbyn. As I know from my own experience, if you attend an event they disfavour, the police will have to protect you, as these people claw and spit at you. So, it's a tad ironic that their favourite epithet for those whom they viscerally despise is 'scum'.
Illegal-ish: HT to Lenox of Business Over Tapas for the news that there's a useful word in Spanish - alegal - which means 'neither legal nor illegal'. Like new houses which have some permits but not all. The dictionary of the Royal Academy defines it as 'Neither prohibited nor permitted. Such as alegal radio stations'. So, there you have it. A useful nuance, I guess. Especially here.
Finally . . . A Nice Cartoon: El País's El Roto yesterday had the simple question: Can anyone wake up the president? A reference to the almost catatonic and seriousluy uninspiring Sr. Rajoy. Of Pontevedra.
Correction; Reader Q10 has asked for the source of my claim that Saudi Arabia has sacked the Spanish consortium building its high-speed train. I may, indeed, have mis-read my scribbled note. They were certainly given a 'final warning' in September but it does look like they haven't yet been given the boot. And may never be given it. Vamos a ver.