Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain.
As it's Thursday, I'm indebted to Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas for some of today's items.
Life in Spain:
- If you're thinking of working here, this might help a bit.
- I love the way Spaniards - not normally known for verbal brevity - reduce Anglo corporate names to one syllable only. So Facebook becomes Face(Féss) and Tripadvisor become Trip(Treep). Of course, this might well be because the words are intrinsically difficult to pronounce for them . . .
- No great surprise that 67% of Spaniards have little faith in their judicial system and even more of them - 84% - believe it's susceptible to political intervention.
- This is possibly because it's clear that the governing PP party is shamelessly doing its utmost to emasculate - or at least to narrow and delay - the parliamentary inquiry into its institutionalised corruption.
- Back in the bad old days of Spain's phony boom, 600,000 homes a year were being built here - more than in the UK, France and Germany combined. Today's rate is only 10% of this. But it shouldn't, of course, be assumed that all of the properties built in the bum are now occupied. Which reminds me . . .
- Banco Popular has been bought by Banco Santander for €1. The latter will now take over - inter alia - all the useless properties which are on Popular's books at ridiculous values. Elsewhere, Bankía is offering 4,000 homes at prices 40% below the market. Good luck with that.
- I've stressed that Spain is not the country it used to be, partly because there are not only more rules but because - in the quest for the revenue to replace the funds chucked at the banks and at public sector investments - rules are now being applied. Here's amusing news of one of the latest. I wonder how long it'll be before we're fined for parking more than, say, 10cm from the kerb. Or for putting our rubbish in the communal bins before 8pm. The latter is already a rule, by the way.
As for Banco Popular, it's interesting to know that a bankrupt institution recently passed a stress test despite having an 'accounting hole 'of around €8m. Here in Galicia, many - if not most - of its employees are expected to be laid off. And in the UK, Santander shareholders will be forced to cough up funds to buy new shares to avoid dilution of their stakes after Santander launched a €7 billion rights issue to finance its takeover of Banco Popular. As for the said shareholders. . . As Don Quijones puts it: Banco Popular’s shareholders, who’d been repeatedly suckered into handing it fresh funds in numerous capital expansions, will be wiped out. DQ stresses that this is the first time that a banking failure has been allowed to occur in either Spain or Italy whose resolution didn’t involve taxpayer intervention. Perhaps the Eurozone’s banking authorities are finally growing some teeth. The fact that financial markets received the bail-in of Popular’s investors calmly tells the ECB that investor bail-ins are the route to go. And so the rule takes hold.
As for Spain's appalling corruption levels among politicians of every rank - national, regional, provincial or municipal - El País reports that: The specter of corruption is driving an ever-greater wedge between young Spaniards and their political representatives, with 51% of the country’s so-called millennials – people born between 1980 and 2000 – saying they have no or little interest in politics. Who could blame them?
This is a long but fascinating article based on an interview with Donald Trump in 1997. Worth a read. But if you can't face this, go to 6m22 of this video for a mind-boggling example of the man's crazy brain and even crazier mouth at work. You won't be disappointed. He should be shot and put our of our misery.
Finally . . . The Galician Xunta - in its own quest for revenue - is contemplating making it compulsory to put microchips in both cats and ferrets. So they can fine us for not doing so, of course.
Thank everything it's all over . . .
Footnote: If you want to know more about Galicia and/or Pontevedra, go to my web page here. And bear in mind I'll soon get round to improving its design. As I've been planning to do for at least 10 years now . . .