Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 27.11.16

SPANISH LIFE/CULTURE

How things are: Yesterday I had 4 things to do in town before taking my daily tiffin, prior to a huge lunch (at 3.30) of prawns and wild boar with my Porcos Bravos friends. The first 2 shops I'd identified in a directory didn't even exist as brass plates and the third one doesn't open on Saturdays. But I was able to tick off the 4th item, mainly because this was merely taking a look at the revamped Barcelos Square. And it was still there. As I've asked, does this happen to other people, or only me?

Low Ethics: On Friday I left my umbrella on a hook below the bar in my regular bar. When I went back yesterday, it wasn't there and it hadn't been handed in. Not for the first time. And not terribly surprising. Maybe this happens in other countries too.

SPANISH POLITICS

Castro's Death: Somewhat surprisingly, President Rajoy of the right-of-centre PP party has said that Spain is united in its grief over this. Given the demonstrations on the streets, I rather doubt it. Maybe the nonsensical comment was inspired by the fact Castro's father hailed - like Rajoy - from Galicia.

Corruption: The PP government says it's going to revise the plan it agreed with the small Ciudadanos party ahead of a possible 3rd general election. Another non-surprise. You almost have to admire it's F.U. chutzpah in the face of an electorate which regards corruption as one of its top concerns. At least when they're not in the polling booths.

THE EU

The Euro: The pound had a good week but this currency is said to be looking wonky. See the article at the end of this post.

ELSEWHERE

Cuba: There's to be 9 days of mourning for Fidel Castro. Not 7, not 10 but 9. Is this a mystical or even significant number in Havana?

GALICIAN STUFF

Population: Our region has lost 190,000 people of working age in the last 10 years, the second-worst result in Spain and, at 15%, twice the national rate. And things are predicted to get worse over the next 15 years. You'd think Spain would be trying hard to attract wealthy, retired foreigners, rather than frightening them off with such measures as bureaucratising their property rentals and hitting them with tax measures such as the infamous Modelo 720. But I'm a tad biased.

Property: Prices in Pontevedra city are said to be 30% below the 2011 level and the market continues to be sluggish. So, there's still a huge number of empty properties here. But few places to rent. Perhaps someone Galician or Spanish could explain this conundrum.

LOCAL STUFF

Pontevedra Retail Again: I observed 4 more closures during my futile shopping trip yesterday morning. The first was an agricultural outlet in the middle of a the city, selling garden products, pine chips (for smoking mackerel) and live chicks, inter alia. The second was the pet shop I mentioned a few weeks ago. And the other 2 were nail bars in the mall down by the bridge. I'd been astonished when the second opened up right next to the first one but am not awfully surprised to see them both fail. My prediction for the next closure is the spices place in the mall in which I appear to represent 50% of the custom. If not more. The obvious question is - How many of these places will become money-laundering jewellers? I will report.

Stupid Selfier: A young man dropped his phone in the river Lerez while snapping himself on Burgos bridge. After trying to retrieve it, he was taken to hospital with hypothermia. I do hope this hasn't damaged what passes for his brain.

THE GALLERY

A nice comment on the recent re-appearance of the oleaginous Tony Blair on the British political scene . . .


FINALLY

A New Word: Rebufo: Snort: Draft; Air; Breeze; and Slipstream (as in Hamilton and Rosberg). Ir a rebufo: To tailgate. The beauty of Castellano.

ARTICLE

Sterling’s silver lining as euro clouds gather

Anyone who has stared in disbelief at an airport bureau de change screen offering one euro for a pound will know that sterling has not fared well. That could change, though, as investors switch focus from the political problems faced by the start of lengthy exit negotiations with Brussels to the risks facing the eurozone.

Sterling has rounded off its fourth straight week of gains against the euro, marking its best run since early last year, despite falling by half a percentage point against the single currency yesterday. With only three trading days left, the pound is heading for its best month in eight years.

Meanwhile, the euro is weighed down by politics. Analysts say that Asian investors are becoming increasingly worried about the presidential election next year in France. Alan Clarke, at Scotiabank, said that this had made the eurozone appear a bigger unknown for investors: “Given the shift towards populist-type voting, with Brexit, Trump and Marine Le Pen, the eurozone all of a sudden seems a risky place again.”

He added that markets were also focusing on the Italian referendum on December 4, which has caused a “temporary diversion to downside risks in the eurozone”. Italy is considered one of the biggest threats to the survival of the euro, with debt at 133 per cent of GDP, a lacklustre labour market and banks filled with non-performing loans.

Matteo Renzi  has pledged to step down if he loses the vote, which investors believe would cause a “third domino” in the toppling of conventional world order, after the victories for Brexit and Trump.

4 comments:

Perry said...

This is the Italian question:

"Do you approve the text of the constitutional bill concerning "Dispositions for the surmounting of perfect bicameralism, the reduction of the number of Members of Parliament, the reduction of institutional operating costs, the abolition of CNEL and the revision of Title V of Part II of the Constitution," which was approved by Parliament and published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale n. 88, on April 15, 2016?"

It apparently means reducing the power of the 95 Senators. Is that good or bad? Who knows? Obummer says "Si". WCWTFHT.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorsements_in_the_Italian_constitutional_referendum,_2016

Maria said...

I read somewhere that, after the war, Franco incentivated private home ownership. In fact, all the "casas baratas" that look like rows of barracks in so many cities, were publicly built and sold to the families that first inhabited them. His reasoning was that, if a family invested its hard earned money in the brick and mortar that they lived in, they would be less motivated to rebel against the existing situation. Since many of those who fought on the Republican side, especially in the larger cities, had been living in rented property, the assumption was that if the property had been theirs to begin with, they would have been reticent to join the fighting and possibly lose it.

Colin Davies said...

Many thanks, Maria. He had logic on his side, of course. But nowadays (multiple inheritances within ever-smaller families?), so many people seem to have several properties. Apart from those who still have none, of course. Spain has the highest first, second and third poperty ownership percentages in Europe, I believe.

Maria said...

True, many families have more than one house. I think that habit originated in the 1960's and 70's, when emigration brought in much money, along with "ir a navegar" which many men did, working on European cargo ships with good salaries. Families would build more than one house to distribute among their children. Or buy buildable properties. My in-laws have three houses. One was inherited by my mother-in-law. The two others were built by both. The three houses already have inheritors. It would seem that Franco's wish met the spirit of "minifundismo" and the financial exuberance of the 1960's to create widespread home ownership in most villages. Holiday homes are a thing of the past twenty or thirty years.

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