DYING SPAIN?: Discounting the impact of wars and epidemics, Spain recorded more deaths than births for the first time in Jan-June this year. The main cause is the plummeting birth rate. At the same time, many of the 7m immigrants who came here during the phoney boom that ended in 2008 have returned home, and young Spaniards have left the country in droves to seek the jobs that aren't available here, unless they want to accept quasi-slavery conditions. The net result is that Spain's population has been falling for years and is expected to lose another 5.6m by 2050. And the flight from moribund villages is predicted to accelerate. Needless to say, the population is going to age further. The short term good news, though, is that Brits are again buying properties here. That said, many are pensioners and will only contribute to the greying of Spain. At the moment it's said to have the 10th oldest population in the world but is forecast to have the 4th by 2030, with an average age of 50. But no doubt the government has got plans to deal with the concomitant problems arising. The key challenge, say the experts, is to persuade Spanish women to have more kids. Good luck with that.
CASUAL SPANISH RACISM: The general view of the Spanish is that they aren't racist, because "we don't mean to upset anyone". Not even by chucking bananas at black footballers and monkey-chanting when they get the ball. Here's the 'best' 10 comments made to a black American woman over the 5 years she's been here. She finds them odd, but easy to forgive, as there are good excuses for them. And because: "There’s no malice; just curiosity and the absence of a filter":-
- Do you sing gospel?
- Do you know how to braid my hair?
- Do all black people have such white teeth?
- What does your partner think about having black children?
- Have you been to Africa?
- Do you get sunburned?
- Can I call you 'nigger'?
- Do you use a brush and do you wash your hair?
- Isn't this food spicy?
- Why do you wear makeup if you're already brown?
Click here for her responses to these. I relate to the 9th.
BETTER SPANISH BANKING: A German company - displaying more customer orientation than is normal here - has, it says here, begun to offer the chance to avoid the hassle of long queues and awkward opening hours of Spanish banks and do everything on a smartphone - and in English. It'll be interesting to see what the take-up is. Or isn't.
FINALLY . . . ANOTHER BLOG: After ceaseless pressure over 2 years from my good friend, Fran, I've finally started another blog, for the Facebook page of Os Porcos Bravos, the local football team that plays an annual match against The Sheffield Stags, But we'll gloss over the result of this year's tourney in the UK. In deference to Fran's slight nationalist stance, it's called A Scouser lost in Galizalbion and can be seen here. Only 2 posts so far.
THE OBLIGATORY FOTO: The Pontevedra market etc.