Friday, July 21, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 21.7.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

Life in Spain:-
  • Spain might well be awash with political and corporate corruption but it's one of the few countries where any bankers have been jailed for offences committed before, during and after the financial crash. One of these has just shot himself, because of 'social pressure' say his friends. See here on this. 
  • Spain's Banco Santander has to find a pot of cash to plug the holes in the balance sheet of Banco Popular which it recently bought for just a euro. They're doing this via a rights issue and 1.4million British shareholders are about to find that this obliges them to make a capital gains tax declaration – via Modelo 210 - to the Spanish state by 20 January 2018. In Spanish, of course. Failure to do so would, in theory, result in one of those humungous fines that the Spanish Tax Office (the Hacienda) specialises in. Whether it will actually follow up default in this case is an open question. There might well be a limit to its vindictiveness against small folk, as opposed to the large fish.
  • Which reminds me . . . The head of the Spanish football federation has been arrested for the usual reasons. During 3 decades in charge – but especially after he joined FIFA's executive – he 'earned' enough money to finance more than 20 properties in Spain and, doubtless, to amass a fortune in offshore accounts. Technically, he'll have been obliged to report all this via his annual wealth tax (Patrimonio) declarations. But, even if he didn't, transactions through his bank during his 30 year reign – all reported to the Hacienda – surely should have led to rat-smelling and a tax investigation. But clearly didn't. So I wonder whom he's upset, to have his collar felt just now.
Every report I ever read about which European country boasts the most difficult businessmen to deal with gave this accolade to the French. So I wasn't surprised to read that, according to a leaked internal report, there's a clash of cultures between the French and Dutch employees of the Air France/KLM group. And that it's so bad the group is virtually unmanageable. See here for details of the respective insults. The EU, of course, is this problem writ large.

Which reminds me . . . Don Quijones sees the European Central Bank (the ECB) as The Mother of all 'bad banks'. See here for his rationale.

Listening to and reporting 24/7 on Twitter and other social media sites is akin to giving the idiots in your school bullhorns, letting them endlessly wander the streets and then taking their inanities very seriously. So it is that the judge in the London fire inquiry – regardless of his qualifications - is being accused of being both of the wrong class and the wrong colour and so incapable of making impartial judgements. It's easy to predict the demands that'll be coming down the line – only poor judges for poor defendants, brown ones for brown ones, black judges for black defendants, and female judges for women. And - why not? - only Christian judges for Christians, and Moslem ones for Muslims. Oh, I forgot. We already have demands for the latter - Shariah law, administered by Muslim judges. I doubt that transgender judges for transgender defendants will be the end point of this trend. How about teenage judges for teenage delinquents, far more able to empathise with oppressed, sensitive snowflakes who go off the rails? It's utter madness, of course. Mob rule, in effect. But how to stop it? The genie is truly out of the bottle.  

Yesterday I went to our central Post Office to send a registered letter (carta certificada), to find that the process has changed. You used to fill in a simple form when waiting to be served. Now, there are no forms available. You tell the clerk where you want to send the letter and this apparently determines whether you will be given the form or the clerk will then ask for details so that he/she can type them into a computer. Finally, you're given an A4 page containing the data and (far more) small-print legalese. This all takes at least 3 times as long as previously. The reasons include: slow typing, errors that have to be corrected; a need for the clerk to get up and go to the printer, and finally the inevitable need to sign one of those electric pads with a special 'pen'. All in all, more time and more paper - a bureaucrat's job-preserving wet dream. Not for the first time I noted that this is what tends to happen when technology is introduced into Spanish state operations. With the possible exception of the Hacienda. Which wants your money, of course. Immediately.

By the way, I sent the letter containing a small gift by registered mail because things tend to get lost between Spain and the country of despatch or receipt. It cost me 3 times the price of the gift . . .

Finally . . . Here in Pontevedra we're plagued by beggars, most of whom are drug addicts or alcoholics. Or both. The majority of them pass me by, well aware I'm not going to finance their life style. But there's a pair of them who, working together, still pointlessly stick their hands out at my table. This is despite the fact the last week or two has seen us exchanging insults. The latest from them being that I'm paying the women (plumas i. e. putas  = prostitutes) who chat with me. In exasperation last night, I asked each of them in turn whether they were blind. But didn't get a reply – or even an insult – from either of them. I don't expect this to mean I won't be harassed again.

Today's Cartoon:-

I'm afraid it's a mutiny.


Eamon said...

I sometimes send a letter urgent as it is often cheaper than registered and the Post Office gives the letter priority because it is usually kept separate from other mail.

kraal said...

So I have to make a capital gains tax declaration, IN SPANISH, by next January. There is not much chance of that.

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