There’s no doubt but that these rules for our well-being and protection are a bit arbitrary. They are created on the run by people who have no experience in this kind of pandemic, because no one does.
They can only do their best, no doubt worried about whether they’ve been too tough against the economy, or not tough enough in saving and protecting the public health.
We see enough Facebook articles, quoting some fatuous tripe found on YouTube or Twitter along the lines that we are being made fools of (for some reason which is either never explained, or if it is, is too stupid to waste time on. Bill Gates wants to put a microchip in our vaccine to control us like, what, robots?).
A Facebook meme tells us that we are being played, and it’s only one chance in a million we’ll get sick and die from Covid-19 (a cunning plot by the Marxist Democrats etc). Don’t wear a face-mask, they say. By the same logic, don’t wear a seat-belt either, or stop at a red light.
What could go wrong?
Many of us push against these rules, testing them to see how far they can be bent. The local supermarket doesn’t sell tinned jellied eel – can I go to the next town-but-one to buy some? Can I take my dog out for a walk after curfew? Why just six people for our birthday lunch, and not eight?
Christmas is all but upon us. The tension mounts between safety and celebration. For those of us with family back in our home country, this awful, little-understood situation has become a minor tragedy. Can’t they let us join together on this most important day?
The answer is that these rules are there to hold us in check, to keep us aware and, of course, to try and keep us safe. Another Facebook meme says ‘We isolate now, so when we gather again, no one is missing’.
‘Could Brexit signal the end of the road for second-home owners in Europe?’. An article from The Telegraph is featured by Yahoo! Style here. An excerpt: ‘…however, David’s dream could turn into a nightmare on January 1, 2021 when Schengen rules, limiting the amount of time he can spend in his foreign bolthole, come into force.
“Like me, many Brits divide their lives between two countries, but after Brexit – unless they apply for full residency in the EU country where they’ve bought their property, pay taxes there, and lose their NHS provision back home – second-home owners will be limited to stays of a maximum of 90 days,” says David, who set up Facebook group 180 Days in Greece (here) to help fellow Britons affected by the new regulations.
With no flexibility for family illness, vital property maintenance or other emergencies, the 90/180 rule could also create major practical problems for second-home owners…’. Another group, 180 Days in Spain, is here.
‘Industry insiders discuss Coronavirus impact on the residential tourism business’, Mark Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight looks at the negative impact of Covid-19 on holiday home sales.
From the Diario de Cádiz here: ‘Teleworking is here to stay. Although it has been forced to do so due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this remote work formula opens up many possibilities for both companies and workers. On the employees' side, it gives them the freedom to take up residence in a different location than the workplace. This path is already being explored by many towns with the aim of increasing their population throughout the year…’ (The article proposes the idea of living and teleworking in Cádiz).
‘It is well known that the hotel sector is one of the worst off after the arrival of Covid-19. Travel, both leisure and especially business, has almost completely disappeared. This has led to hotel closures and occupancy levels below 20% in some months’, says The Corner here, adding ‘…In the long term, the whole industry is talking about not recovering 2019 levels until 2024’.
If the vaccination plans are fulfilled, then, says Pedro Sánchez, 2021 will be a great year for tourism. El Plural, here, has the story.
The European airline industry demands that quarantines and tests be eliminated. Air travellers account for less than 1% of all coronavirus cases’. Apparently! The report comes from Hosteltur here.
Foreign visits to Spain in October were 86.6% down year on year and spending also fell by 89.6% says Hosteltur here.
El Confidencial looks at the tourist figures for 2020 and suggests the way forward here.
With the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions in Granada, the Alhambra has now reopened after a three-week hiatus (and time for some minor repairs).
‘Andalucía allocates 1,609 million for dependency in 2021, the largest budget in history for the care of people in a situation of dependency in the autonomy, says the Andalusian Ministry of Equality’. The item is from Es Andalucía here.
The BBVA and Banco de Sabadell have dropped their merger talks.
Cinco Días has the list by province of 1,033 Banco de Santander branches due to be closed shortly ‘within its plan of restructure’. In Almería and/or Alicante for example, 38% of branches will close. For your local office, best ask the manager.
From La Información here, a look at ‘taxes: differences by region. The Government wants to settle the different rates across the autonomies into a standard system. As things are now is listed in this article, from IRPFs to patrimony taxes, donations and inheritance taxes.
‘Spain enjoys something approaching stability (which is driving conservatives crazy)’ says Bloomberg here. The article begins ‘Pedro Sanchez’s budget deal will shore up the foundations of his minority government and offer the chance of some political stability in Spain after five years of division and gridlock. It’s a fragile alliance but the potential to roll over budgets and the high bar for no-confidence votes in Spain means that even if there is more friction between the parties, the premier is likely to survive at least until the next election, which isn’t due until 2023…’.
‘Vox and the PP dispute the leadership of street protests against the Government’ says ABC here, adding: ‘The struggle maintained by the Popular Party and Vox for the mastery of the centre-right (sic!) has been transferred to the street. After the rupture between the two parties following Vox’ motion of censure in the Congress on October 22, both parties are measuring their forces in citizen protests, which with each passing day demands a greater involvement of the political leaders to confront the Government of Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias. If the president of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, starred in recent protest against the Education Law; the one from Vox, Santiago Abascal, will do the same on December 6, Constitution Day…’. El Confidencial says that the new PP strategy is to ‘unmask’ Vox.
The ex-Minister of the Interior, a staunch rightist (‘His position against abortion and LGBT rights, and his hard-line stance against terrorism’ – Wiki) Jaime Mayor Oreja, has vigorously criticised Pablo Casado for his rupture with Vox reports La Vanguardia here.
Whether the policies of the coalition in Andalucía are working, or whether the crushing propaganda on the regional TV Canal Sur is having an impact, the latest poll gives the PP and Vox some welcome news – the PP would rise (two years after the last regional election) from 26 to 37 councillors, while Vox would grow from 12 to 17. An overall majority in San Telmo, Seville’s parliamentary palace, stands at 55 seats.
An ongoing squabble between ex-presidents, as José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero gives his support to the PSOE/UP coalition and warns Pedro Sánchez not listen to Felipe Gonzalez and his political partner, Alfonso Guerra. El Huff Post reports on an RTVE interview with Zapatero here.
‘Pedro Sánchez currently places his horizon on 2026, assuming that he will win the next elections in 2023. The president calls a meeting at the headquarters of the PSOE to present his project for the next five years’. El Español has the story here.
‘Brexit: How travel to the European Union from 2021 will change’. The Independent looks at the changes to Britons’ status in Europe.
‘Furious British expats blast EU's new post-Brexit travel rules which will ban them from spending more than three months at a time at their holiday home from January’. The headline comes from the highly pro-Brexit Daily Mail here.
‘EU's top court asked to rule on Britons' EU citizenship. A French barrister who has launched multiple cases on Britons' rights since the Brexit vote is optimistic over the results of a new case’. Item from Connexion France here.
From the ABC here: ‘Almost 250,000 Spaniards have registered as UK residents for the post-Brexit era’.
From the BBC News here: ‘New immigration rules will be "simple and flexible", ministers have promised, as the UK's points-based post-Brexit system prepares to go live. From this week, most foreign nationals, including from the European Union, who want to work in the UK from 1 January will have to apply online for a visa. Those seeking a skilled worker visa will need a job offer, to be proficient in English and earn at least £25,600…’.
An opinion on Brexit from The Guardian: ‘Brexit stems from a civil war in capitalism – we are all just collateral damage’.
"Saving Christmas" may condemn Europe to a big wave of COVID-19 in January says elDiario.es. It says, ‘A report from the European Centre for Disease Control based on community transmission projections and policies to tackle the pandemic infers that hospital pressure, cases and deaths from coronavirus will skyrocket in January if we relax security measures at Christmas’.
From The Guardian here: ‘Spain appeals for Covid 'common sense' after shopping crowd scenes. Minister urges people across the country to behave responsibly amid a second coronavirus wave’.
How the Covid-19 spreads:
The outside terrace that’s all glassed-in.
Crowding to see the Christmas lights (gallery).
Botellones (unscripted parties, booze-ups, raves).
Senior’s residencias (National TV with video)
Pretending it doesn’t exist (‘libertarianism’)
People who say they won’t be inoculated (now around 44% of Spaniards say they wouldn’t immediately take the vaccine).
The most common post-Covid health complaints. There’re a whole slew of them described at 20 Minutos.
One in every six Covid-19 patients has suffered thromboses.
From Público here: ‘The pay difference of the health sector in Spain compared to other European countries has always been a source of controversy and anger seen in protests such as the recent one from La Marea Blanca in Madrid (here). Differences between the public and private sectors or inequalities that can only be compensated through overtime have always been an issue in Spain. The article features a Tweet from Jennifer O’Mahony which says ‘Spanish doctor doing her residency earns €I,278 in a month. And Spain asks why all their amazing medical staff end up in Germany, Switzerland or the UK…’.
The poor journo from El País was given the business by the Vox spokesperson Ortega Smith recently on a TV show. "You’re no journalist; you are a propagandist of lies. El País journalists are at the service of the lobbies". Público has the story here (Twitter video here).
The eccentric Trumpian view of life has arrived in Spain says El Periodico here, saying ‘Ultra-conservative media groups replicate the conspiracy theories launched by the president in the US and members of Vox help make them viral on the networks’.
The bumper crop of far-right fake news ‘bulos’ for November with Al Descubierto here.
La Razón has left the official daily sales audit called the OJD after the disturbing drop in copy-sales. No one is immune, says VozPópuli here, with La Vanguardia as the largest paper at only 73,296 daily copies sold, followed by El País at 72,471, the ABC at 53,436 and El Mundo with just 45,111 (October figures).
A toast to the brand new edition of The Olive Press in Valencia and the Costa Azahar (with Andalucía, Gibraltar, Mallorca, Alicante and Murcia already in the can)... Well done them.
‘The European Commission recognizes that aviation emissions triple the official data’ says El Salto here. ‘A report by the European Aviation Safety Agency corroborates scientific research that states that the climate impact of burning kerosene at altitude is three times higher than previously believed, since CO2 is only one third of the emissions caused by airplanes. The annual contribution of this industry to climate change would thus amount to some 5.9% of total greenhouse gases’.
A TV show on LaSexta called ¿Te lo vas a comer? (You gonna eat that?) reveals that a lot of Spanish vegetables are in fact imports (generally Moroccan) with new labels. This fraud is not only illegal but it also puts local growers at risk through the unfair competition. The fraudsters are often – so says the program – agents (rather than growers) based in Almería, the leading province for the plastic farms… More at 20Minutos here.
‘Forbes: the 25 most influential people in Spain of 2020 are all women’. El Español introduces them to the reader here.
The Junta de Andalucía has endowed one million euros in aid for anti-abortion associations following an agreement with Vox, says Público here.
Some of Spain’s ‘universities’ are not ‘high-level educational institutions where students study for degrees and academic research is done’ (Oxford Dictionary). Aware of this, the Government, says elDiario.es here, ‘will withdraw the university category from private campuses that do not meet minimum research and teaching standards’. There are currently 37 (plus two more soon to open) private universities in Spain.
There is much political mumbling and grumbling among The Reserve. The retired generals don’t like the way things are going says InfoLibre here. El Huff Post says that they were found to be talking – in a WhatsApp thread – of unspeakable revolution and executions.
A young singer of Moroccan origins from Llobregat, Barcelona, fights racism through music and poetry. He is called Morad and he has become very popular with the disaffected youth of the barrios. El Mundo interviews him here. Here’s a song of his called Normal (with 17 million views!).
Ocupación S.A. is a documentary about the Western Sahara which focuses on the political and economic benefits of the status quo with Morocco and Spain. CuartoPoder has the story and a trailer here.
From Levante here: ‘Valencia is chosen as the best city to live in the world. A survey highlights their quality of life, leisure and respect for the environment’. The survey comes from InterNations, a global expat association (here) which puts the city of Alicante as Nº2.
The Foreign Citizens’ Unit from the Diputación de Alicante has a useful page in English.
From Sur in English here: ‘The British Council: Eight decades developing links between UK and Spain. The institution was founded in Madrid in 1940 by Irish fiddle player Walter Starkie to promote a wider knowledge of the English language’.
‘Misunderstandings, disconnection with the rest of the team, anxiety: the hidden face of teleworking’. Having the office at home brings challenges for which we had not been prepared, says Retina here.
The proportion of young adults (18 to 34) living with their parents in various European countries. Spain clocks in at 64.5%.
The largest Nativity Scene in the world is in the town hall square in Alicante (The Guinness Book of Records agrees). It’s a three-piece sagrada familia, built by Fallas artisans from Valencia, that’s up to 18 metres high (Saint Joseph).
Old-time residents or regular visitors to Madrid might remember Alfredo’s Barbacoa in Calle Lagasca. Poor Al passed this week says El Mundo here.
‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ Pastor Bruce's Bodacious Blog considers church bells here.
An old story of mine at Eye on Spain: ‘I briefly ran a bar in the hills and made some very nasty tapas. Urrrpf’.
A motorcyclist was fined 80€ by a traffic cop for ‘distraction’. He was looking in his rear-view mirror according to El Español here. Perhaps he was admiring his manly features.
Business over Tapas on Facebook here (new posts every day).
The Aljafería is a fortified medieval palace built during the second half of the 11th century in Zaragoza. The Aljaferia, along with the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba and the Alhambra are the three best examples of Hispano-Muslim architecture (Wiki). Thomas Oliver from Eye on Spain visits the complex here.
François Prost has a large photo-gallery of Spanish clubs here.
Letter from a grandmother to the women voters of C's, PP. and VOX ....
In olden times, with Franco, millions of women did not go (without their husband) neither to parties, nor to drinks, nor to travel, nor to the beach, nor to concerts, nor to the movies, nor out for a walk, nor gyms, nor beauticians, neither to football, nor to go camping...
They wore very long skirts, with stockings all year round, without showing legs, without showing arms, without showing cleavage or back ... No tattoos, no piercings, no tinted hair, no make-up, no waxing.
The woman was used (by the man) for sex and was a good maid for the house… If she protested to her husband, he slapped her to "straighten her out". She could not smoke, or buy an apartment, or drive, or get divorced, or shower every day, or dress too much, or protest or decide who to vote for or when and how to fornicate ... only give birth and give birth even if it cost her her life.
She dressed in black when a relative died and only in white (married) if a man "wanted" her for the rest of her life.
She would be insulted if she talked to male friends (puta) and if she didn't, why then she was ugly and a spinster.
A girl's toys were the dolls, the mop, the sewing box ... and her obligation was to learn to cook, clean, raise children, pray with the rosary and please her husband.
No ball, no video games, no bicycles, no scooters ... that was for boys (pink for you and blue for him).
Every Sunday to Mass, the holidays to Mass, Holy Week at Mass, Christmas to Mass and also upon death – at Mass. Finally she received her very own coffin and burial (forget incineration) because to be a good Catholic woman, you had to be "devoured" by worms.
In winter, a blanket or brazier (no heating) and in summer, the fan (no air conditioning).
Those women ate a lot of rice, a lot of potatoes, a lot of grease, a lot of lunchmeat, and a lot of bread with oil, garlic and salt, because pizzas, serrano ham, salmon, veal, prawns, or eating out of the home, was something for the rich.
I could go on like this for hours but why bother.
It is very easy to forget these things when you have the latest model mobile phone, with a car at the door, with a 30-inch television, with a closet full of clothes, with a full fridge and a warm house, with a visa-card in your wallet and you are plugged into the internet.
With being able to decide who loves you, how to dress, who your friends are and shouting 'no means no' when you want; to go to the festival, to the beach, to the bar and look at the time and see that it is after 10 at night and they have not yet forced you to return home.
It is very easy to talk and celebrate the past times, from ignorance, hypocrisy or lies that some want to "whitewash" to sell to the young...
Because that happy world never existed.
Thanks for reading and good morning
Isabel Gómez Espinosa.
The late Tino Casal and his hit ‘Eloise’ here at YouTube.