Racism isn’t a subject I wanted to get into here at Business over Tapas (beyond a few jokes at the expense of the Brexiteers and their comic view of foreigners), but a recent, terrible, event in Algeciras has brought the subject up once again in political conversation and, inevitably, in the social media, where we all tend to say (or write in under 280 letters) – more than we should.
Especially if we sign it with un nick (an alias).
A Moroccan left his home the other evening, armed with a machete, and killed a local priest. There’s a video of his victory strut (available on Twitter) and, encouraged, he went off and wounded a second priest before being arrested.
His photo in the media, taken at the police station, shows somebody who is clearly pleased with himself.
The reaction was perhaps obvious, as we’ve all seen it before.
The local Muslim community showed horror at the tragedy and they acquitted themselves, as they always do, with sympathy, kindness and honour. “This is very sad, and it tarnishes our image. Our holy book says that no one can kill. For us God gives life and no one has the right to take it away. That is what Islam says, Islam is peace. The boy who has done this does not know Islam, he is yet another victim, the culprits are the leaders, the jihadists, who brainwash people like him," a 36-year-old Moroccan who has lived in Algeciras for most of his life told reporters.
Elsewhere, we read that the Muslim community in Algeciras are receiving threats: ‘we are being warned that the guns are loaded and ready’.
There are some 883,000 Moroccans living legally in Spain, plus many from other Muslim nations. One family from Casablanca lives next to me in Almería, and I am close to them. On the other side, we have several young Africans who have crossed the Mediterranean in dangerous conditions. One of them lost a brother on such a crossing. They are friendly, too.
Maybe, of course, for them as much as for me, it’s hard being a racist when you’re a foreigner.
No doubt the Secret Police keep an eye on all of us foreigners, which makes me think – until three years ago this week, didn’t I used to be a European?
And talking of the police, a chief inspector from Valencia, recently sacked for racist comments, is now patrolling the churches there with (a gang of ruffians) a group of concerned citizens.
But then, others also keep an eye on us, especially if we can’t vote. Take the Vox party and its followers. ‘You open the doors, and in they come’ says Santiago Abascal bitterly.
The PP’s Núñez Feijóo meanwhile was unable to express himself adequately after claiming that ‘We Christians for centuries have never killed for our religion’. Really? Never?
We read that ‘…Although the atrocity met with swift condemnation and revulsion from Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups, the reactions of the leaders of the conservative People’s party (PP) and the far-right Vox party have been denounced by members of the country’s Socialist-led coalition government and by migrant and anti-racism NGOs…’
ECD runs an opinion piece: ‘…You don't have to be a Vox sympathizer to recognize that our first concern should be the anti-Christian hatred reflected in this attack and others of the same type that are taking place in Europe. Before the imaginary victims of possible Islamophobia, we should think of the real victims of a deadly Islamist ideology…’
And that silly fellow in the police station. Smiling.
Spain’s largest landlord, Blackstone, accelerates their sale of housing in the face of legal uncertainty. The vulture fund has gone from buying brick through renting it to selling its properties on the open market to reduce their Spanish portfolio. Government approved rent-controls seems to be the problem. LibreMercado has the story here.
Moving to Spain – an article at Spanish Property Insight here – begins: ‘As British citizens are well aware, moving to Spain post-Brexit has required a visa, whose conditions are often expensive or challenging to fulfil. However, the recent approval of the Spanish start-up law has transformed the scenario with the introduction of the Digital Nomad Visa. As a result, British citizens now find themselves in front of an open door to easier living in Spain…’.
Málaga Hoy brings us the cheapest town in the province to buy a home. It’s Sierra de Yeguas (wiki) at 562€ the square metre. The cheapest pueblo in Spain is Alcaudete de la Jara, in Toledo (wiki) – at 284€m2.
Castles for sale in Spain, says 20Minutos here, ‘some of them cost less than an apartment!’ Rather an expensive apartment, but still…
The official government webpage La Moncloa says: ‘The President of the Government of Spain predicts that 2023 will be "the year of the great boost" for tourism, which will return to record figures in terms of arrivals and spending’.
UK regional airline Flybe ceases trading, cancels all flights says Reuters here.
From The Majorca Daily Bulletin here: ‘Britons are spending more on summer holidays despite finances being hit by the cost of living, according to some travel companies. Several holiday companies and tour operators said demand was high with bookings surging in early January. Average spending per holiday was £3,104 this week (about 3,500 euros), up about 5% on last year, said the Advantage Travel Partnership...’
‘Regional President Juanma Moreno wants Andalucía to become the leading 'gamer' destination in Europe’ says 20Minutos here. He made the claim while visiting the OXO Museo de los Videojuegos in Málaga (here).
‘According to data handled by TK Home Solutions, in Spain, close to a million people over the age of 80 live alone while only 400,000 people live in residences. In our country there are only four places for every 100 people over 65, when the WHO recommends that there should be five. In addition, 3 out of 4 centres are private, which means that many people cannot afford a residence or wait until their turn in a public one, and this is without taking into account that they may not meet the various requirements to have the right to enter an institution of this type…’ InfoGeriatría has more here under the title: Nine out of ten seniors don’t want to live in a residence’.
The self-employed (‘los autónomos’), are seeing some changes in their status. We read that ‘Self-employed workers have started 2023 with various changes that directly affect them, and one of them is the new flat rate (‘la tarifa plana’). On January 1, the new contribution system for the self-employed based on real net income came into effect. This model will be rolled out progressively over the next three years -2023, 2024 and 2025- and establishes 15 sections with minimum and maximum bases, for which quotas of between 230 and 500 euros are applied, depending on the yields. One of the welcome novelties is that a flat rate of 80 euros is included, but this can only be enjoyed by some of the 3.3 million people subject to the Regime for Self-Employed Workers (RETA)…’ The article at La Información is here. *See your asesoría fiscal for personal advice.
'The Economist talks about the economic situation in Spain. "The numbers keep coming in."’ El Huff Post enthuses here. ‘The prestigious British magazine reports that annual inflation in Spain "is the lowest in the euro zone" and that "the unemployment rate is the lowest since 2008, when the financial crisis burst the construction bubble. Tourism rebounded strongly last year". The Economist defends that the economic data arrive "at the right time for the government led by the centre-left socialists of Pedro Sánchez", for the May elections and the general ones at the end of the year…’. The Economist article is here.
‘The IMF has published its first forecasts for the world economy for 2023. A projection exercise that places Spain as the country in which GDP will advance the most in 2023 and 2024 among the large European economies (Germany, France and Italy) with an expected growth of 1.1%. The Spanish Government’s own prevision – as per the General State Budget for 2023 has an expected rebound of 2.1%...’ Item from 20Minutos here. ‘The IMF confirms that Spain will lead economic growth in the euro area in the next two years. The international organization forecasts that activity in our country will increase by 1.1% in 2023 and 2.4% in 2024, compared to 0.7% and 1.6%, respectively, for euro partners as a whole’. Headline at elDiario.es here.
Pedro Sánchez announced on Tuesday that the minimum wage will soon be raised to 1,080€ per month. The story at El Salto Diario here.
From Catalan News here: ‘Inflation in Spain slightly increases to 5.8% in January 2023. Prices raised coinciding with first month of lifting 20-cent discount per litre of fuel’. The article also notes the price-rises in the supermarkets.
Pedro Sánchez is in Rabat Thursday to discuss various issues with the Moroccans. With him are eleven PSOE ministers (although none from Unidas Podemos). The news from 20Minutos, is that the Moroccan king is away, but instead has talked with Sánchez at length on the phone.
Is Andalucía’s Juanma Moreno against abortions? From InfoLibre here – ‘The PSOE accuses Moreno of applying the same plan against abortion as in Castilla y León only, with "less noise". The Socialists ask the Andalusian Government for explanations in the regional parliament regarding the concession of 270,000 euros to the anti-abortion group ‘Red Madre’ (here) to advise pregnant women in compliance with an agreement with Vox’.
El Mundo brings us the story behind El Yunque – the ultra-right catholic sect that’s said to be a firm supporter of Vox. ‘Without them, Abascal wouldn’t be the party leader’. The first rule of El Yunque, says the article, is that nobody talks about El Yunque.
From The Guardian here: ‘More than 140,000 EU citizens in UK may have wrongly received benefits. The Independent Monitoring Authority is concerned by the Home Office error and impact it could have on those affected’.
From Magnet here: ‘The UK already mostly regrets Brexit. No surprise: this year it will grow less than... Russia’. Graphics show the areas of most ‘bregrets’ in the UK.
The Government has approved the removal of masks on public transport as from February 7th, but they will still be compulsory in all medical centres, including pharmacies.
The PSOE-A complains that Canal Sur TV silences in its regional news the union protests undertaken throughout Andalucía due to the deterioration of the public health services says Europa Press here.
A British gang is charged over mass bogus food-poisoning complaints going back to 2016 and 2017 involving hotels in Mallorca. Details at The Olive Press here.
Where’s Pablo? Seriously, the Court wants to speak to Pablo Casado…
‘Newspapers face a serious crisis as the price of paper triples along with supply problems. Each ton of pulp has gone from costing 400 euros to 1,200. Factories have started to give priority to cardboard production’ says ECD here. The article says that apart from subscriptions and paywalls on the digital side, newspapers are lowering the number of pages and print-runs. It seems unlikely that particularly the free newspapers (who can't even earn a regular – and healthy – income from ‘institutional advertising’) can keep up with the same number of copies as they claim.
Madrid’s Isabel Díaz Ayuso plans to spend 25 million euros in institutional advertising between now and the municipal elections of May 28th says Público, explaining that the conservative media will be encouraged to attack Vox (as well as, er, anyone else) in exchange for the bountiful public promotions.
Informativos Telecinco reports in a Tweet that a man in prison for sexual attacks was released early and promptly killed a ten-year old girl during a failed rape. The reaction to this can only be imagined. The horrible event may have occurred, yes, but it was in Colombia (a detail the ‘news-service’ failed to mention, leaving readers the impression it had occurred in Spain, no doubt following from the recent ‘Only Yes means Yes’ law). The details at Maldita here.
Miguel Charisteas is Spain’s nearest thing to Jon Stewart (snarky political commentary) – here on YouTube, he looks at the Corrupción en Marbella.
Nasty Velolásers can check your speed and send you a fine. What are there, and how are they hidden? 20Minutos has a map of where these pesky new traps are located.
From Sur in English here: ‘Amid the news that close to 17 per cent of Málaga province was foreign residents at the start of 2022 came confirmation that the British are still the largest non-Spanish community of residents. And, despite Brexit, British was the nationality which had grown the most year on year. On 1 January last year there were 56,019 Britons on town hall 'padrons' in Málaga province, (which includes the Costa del Sol), up from 53,500 at the start of 2021 and representing an increase of almost five per cent…’. The EPA here says that there are 282,124 Brits living in Spain (Jan 2022). From 20Minutos, we read: ‘Spain registers an all-time high of inhabitants... and foreigners now account for 11.7% (Jan 2022)’. As figures rarely tally in Spain (painstakingly exact as they may be), the British contingent is given here as eleven thousand more at 293,171.
An article at El Confidencial asks why it’s colder (in the winter) indoors in the south of Spain than it is outside. Poor old-fashioned construction? Tiles and marble? Brrrh!
‘One of the main neo-Nazi leaders in Europe will lead a semi-clandestine event in Madrid. The Hitlerite activist Simon Lindberg (Swedish), noted as one of the most dangerous extreme rightists on the continent, will participate this Saturday in the "Día de la Sangre", a National Socialist apology rally organized by Devenir Europeo’. Público has the story.
A joke sticker for those who have an old clunker and soon won’t be able to drive around the down-town, on Facebook here.
A large number of notable ancient buildings are at risk of collapse, says 20Minutos here with many photos of distressed castles, offices, churches and properties.
From Mapping Spain here: ‘Many people get confused by the geography of Spain. What is an autonomous community? What is a province? Is the “Costa del Sol” either? How about comarcas. What are those?’
La Razón tells us that Spanish is the preferred language to learn for the British (according to data from The British Council).
Vikings in Spain? Let’s have a fiesta! Eye on Spain brings us the festival of the annual Viking Romaría de Catoira (Pontevedra) here.
The ABC brings us the history – as far as one can find it – of how the Gypsies came to Spain, and where they probably came from.
From Rare Historical Photos here: ‘Robert Capa’s Falling Soldier: The story behind this iconic photograph, 1936’.
7El Español takes us to the abandoned Monasterio de San Juan de Duero, in Soria here.
The BBC waxes lyrical here: ‘One of Europe's largest sand dunes has already revealed a necropolis and an entire Roman settlement. As the dune continues to shift, who knows what more may be discovered. Near the southern tip of Spain's Cádiz province, where Europe lunges into the Strait of Gibraltar as if reaching out for the North African coast, the Duna de Bolonia is one of the continent's largest sand dunes…’
A couple of emails abruptly bounced last week’s BoT for reasons best known to themselves (me.com and mac.com). The issue has now been sorted (hopefully).
Los Secretos and their late singer Enrique Urquijo with Ojos de Gato on YouTube here. An hour-long documentary on Enrique at RTVE is here.