Friday, July 27, 2018

Thoughts from Madrid: 27.7.18

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 pagehere. Garish but informative.

  • El País reports here on the latest development around the possible corruption of Spain's last king.
  • And, down at street level, Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas comments on on the growing problem of Spain squatters (okupas) here. Harder to remove, he says, than those caught in the tentacles of the banks through unpaid mortgages, the okupas are legion. One such, in Puerto Banus, started by renting a holiday apartment then changed the locks. He now runs four prostitutes from the address.
Life in Spain
  • See the article below of turismofobia. Sorry that I don't have time to tart up the machine translation.
  • Be careful if you're buying cheaper 'old' poperties in Spain, says El País here.
The EU and Brexit
  • Says Richard North here about M Barnier's response to Mrs May's latest proposals: There was an unbridgeable divide and the EU has just made it bigger. Negotiations/hostilities are now in suspense until after the summer vacations. Some folk in London might not be getting much of a holiday as they seek to untie a Gordian knot.
The UKand Brexit
  • Now, this really is serious news: It could be “illegal” to pay private pensions to many retired British expats if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal. The Association of British Insurers says pensioners who receive their payments into bank accounts in their adopted countries could be left without cashBut what if they're paid into UK accounts and later transferred?
  • Something about that buffoon Boris Johnson, who might yet become PM.
  • Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has called Trump' fixer - Michael Cohen - a “pathological liar”. Which must take the biscuit for chutzpah. Or transference?
  • Interesting point: Mr Trump’s most lasting international legacy may be the geopolitical awakening of Germany and Japan; something that US policy has long sought to avoid. Mr Trump’s tactical successes will prove to have come at the price of strategic failure.
Social Media
  • Oh, dear: Reports The TimesAntisemitic posts claiming that the Holocaust is a lie and that Jews are “barbaric and unsanitary” remain on Facebook despite being flagged to the company. Cartoons that depict Jewish people as hook-nosed cockroaches, links to a website selling “holohoax” books banned by mainstream retailers and fan pages for a convicted Holocaust denier are also accessible. Facebook’s community guidelines class antisemitic material as hate speech and the company says that it is committed to removing posts that are reported. However, it does not consider Holocaust denial hate speech
  • Coincidentally: Some $119 billion was wiped off the value of the company yesterday - the biggest one-day fall in US corporate history - as it reported growth far below expectations. Couldn't have happened to a nicer company.
  • A Times columnist this morning: Real corporate power today is wielded by technology companies not banks and the time will come, and soon, that it needs to be curtailed. 
  • This is a long and fascinating article on my native tongue. Snippets:-
- The world that is threatened by English.
- Behemoth, bully, loudmouth, thief: English is everywhere, and everywhere, English dominates. From inauspicious beginnings on the edge of a minor European archipelago, it has grown to vast size and astonishing influence. everywhere it goes, it leaves behind a trail of dead: dialects crushed, languages forgotten, literatures mangled.
- The influence of English now goes beyond simple lexical borrowing or literary influence. Researchers at the IULM University in Milan have noticed that, in the past 50 years, Italian syntax has shifted towards patterns that mimic English models, for instance in the use of possessives instead of reflexives to indicate body parts and the frequency with which adjectives are placed before nouns. German is also increasingly adopting English grammatical forms, while in Swedish its influence has been changing the rules governing word formation and phonology.
  • For those wanting to know WTH a 'retroflex consonant' is, here's Wiki on it. And here's the only example of it in English.
  • Still on trains . . .  More than 5 years after the accident, the Santiago bound trains still don't have the latest saftey system they should have had from the outset. This was deadlined for last year.
  • Another death from the Asian wasp.
  • And another kamikaze driver in his 70s causing havoc on an autopista. Are these peculiar to Galicia?
Finally . . .
  • My elder daughter flew to the UK today, where it will be hotter than it is here in Madrid. Possibly in some parts of Britain the hottest day ever recorded, at clost to 40 degrees centipede. As we kids used to put it.
© David Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 26.7.18


Tourismophobia, bullshit
!:     Raul Solis

If you report that there are waiters getting 700 euros a month for 12 hours of work per day, of which only four are declared, it's that you hate tourism, if you report that there are flat cleaners who come to work drugged up to clean 20 rooms a day for 1.5 euros each, it's that you hate tourism.

If you report that drunk guiris stay in illegal apartments and vomit up your garden, you hate tourism; if you report that your rent has gone from 500 euros a month to 900, because it is more profitable for the landlord to rent the house illegally for days than for months legally, you hate tourism. If you report that the old small shops and bars in your neighbourhood are now franchises where they pay 700 euros a month to waiters with partial contracts that become dawn-to-dusk days, you hate tourism.

If you report that you studied Tourism and have been living in two countries for several years to improve your language skills and that the hotel where you work as a receptionist now pays you 900 euros a month, it is because you hate tourism; if you report that you are tired of not being able to leave your house because the herds of tourists have blocked your doorway, it is because you hate tourism.

If you denounce that there is a tourist bubble that has replaced the real estate bubble, sustained by low salaries and the expulsion of the local population from the city, it is because you hate tourism; if you denounce that it is immoral to charge 100 euros for a hotel room, while paying 1.5 euros to clean a room to a cleaner or 700 euros to the waiter who serves you breakfast, it is because you hate tourism. If you report that the profits from tourism, a sector that didn't experience La Crisis and which is increasing its profits by more than double digits each year, must be distributed in a balanced way among workers, entrepreneurs and tourist cities, it is because you hate tourism.

If you denounce that the historical-artistic heritage of our cities cannot withstand the current pressure of tourism and that in a few years we may not be able to continue to make a living from tourism because we will have destroyed it because of capitalist greed, it is because you hate tourism.

If you denounce that tourism should be a sector of the future and not just of the present, that tourists deserve to visit authentic, real-life sites, not theme parks, and that local people deserve to be able to combine living in their city with tourism, then you hate tourism. If you report that a worker in the tourism industry can't take a week's holiday each year because his or her salary doesn't allow it, then you hate tourism.

This is the same thing that happened when it was reported that the real estate bubble prevented normal families from having access to decent housing or that construction was destroying our country's environmental heritage and coastline. Those who hate everything but their desire to accumulate profits at the expense of exploiting natural, historical and human resources have found in 'tourism phobia' their key word for not initiating a calm and serious debate after which they won't be able to get away with it and which could put a stop to the excessive anxiety about the accumulation of profits at the expense of the health of women who come to work drugged to be able to bear the pain caused by moving trolleys of dirty laundry and cleaning 20 rooms in four hours.

Tourism phobia, your father. [Bullshit, I think]


Maria said...

I, too, suffer from "turismofobia." I'm glad someone printed the truth!

Perry said...

Halfway through "Cochrane", Britannia's Sea Wolf, by Donald Thomas. What a cracking read!!!!
A brief résumé.,_10th_Earl_of_Dundonald
Highly recommended.

Perry said...

Saturday morning 8-15. Rained heavily last night. Wonderfully fresh now . Temperatures won't rise above 24 Centigrade until 2nd August (according to the Met Office).