Women's rights is a subject which should be treated by a woman.
But, hey ho.
March 8th is a key date for women, it's the International Women's Day and also, as 8-M, the big day in the Spanish calendar for women to take to the streets and remind us all of their value (and their numbers).
However, it's all a question of Power. We men must hold the keys, whether with the help of a male God (and his Pope) or a male Caesar. We are after all, stronger and better fitted to hold command, and anyway, don't we treat the women well?
This is the background to our (male) right to manage women as we wish. To oppress them at our will. We invent endless laws about their bodies, their possessions, their clothes, their sex and even their minds.
So it was a disturbing time for us when women got the vote. Gracious! That was half the electorate right there - and the women, banded together, would undoubtedly no longer allow any nonsense. Throw in equal education, full working opportunities (when will women receive the same wages as men?), and equal numbers in the boardroom and the government, and we find a world where the apparently weaker, smaller half of it has the same (well, it's getting there) rights as the menfolk.
Most of these advances are down to the women themselves, because, undivided, they can move mountains. Sometimes, they get help. This from Pedro Sánchez: "This Government puts feminism and equality at the centre of all political action".
The 8-M is the time when Spanish women take to the streets, to demonstrate for their rights and to remind the more conservative males of their strength. But what happens if they can be split in some way - into two different groups, as happened in the latest demonstrations earlier this month? Specifically, the Unidas Podemos - backed Confluencia 8-M (here) and the Movimiento Feminista de Madrid - a group found favourable in the eyes of the PP.
The rights of minority groups such as the prostitutes and the transsexuals have muddied the waters; purposely so, perhaps.
One right-wing news-site says that more than half of Spanish women don't identify with the feminist movement. The notorious Ana Rosa Quintana from Tele5 being one of them.
Now, isn't that a good thing for a conservative to hear?
From Spanish Property Insight here, 'Spanish home sales near record in January, but the trend is clearly down. The monthly home sales figures paint a picture of a market coming off the boil but still near record levels. There were 44,569 home sales witnessed by notaries in January, a decline of 7% on the year before, according to the latest data from the notaries' association.'
The Corner brings us 'Doubts over the Housing Law, which aims to cap rent rises, paralyses investment by large funds in Spain'. The vulture funds, specifically.
A recent piece in BoT considered the possibility of converting a shop or an empty ground-floor local into an apartment. The drawbacks are evident - not as much light or privacy as one might like - but there are advantages too: location, price and opportunity. 20Minutos tells us what requisites we need to convert a local here. Much of this, of course, is paperwork.
From Canarian Weekly here: 'Spain only issued 136 Golden Visas by real estate investment in 2022. Data provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows that only 136 residency permits were issued on the basis of a real estate investment in Spain in 2022, which is 72% lower than the 497 visas issued by the Spanish consulates worldwide a year before, in 2021.'
From Sur in English here: 'Spain's subsidised holidays for pensioners scheme to feature more destinations and high-speed trains as well as coach travel. For the 2023-24 season there will be an increase in cultural destinations and nature routes on offer, as well as more rooms for single use, as part of the Spanish government's Imserso programme.
Pension reform. The Government has outlined a system that once again breaks the mantras of the most orthodox economy: instead of cutting back, more money will be generated from those with the highest incomes. It is a reform that is acceptable to both the PSOE and Podemos and - most painfully for the PP - which has the support of Brussels. Both links come from elDiario.es. The hope is to have the pension reform passed into law by Easter says El Español here. elDiario.es says that 'Feijóo rejects the pension reform before even reading it. The PP leader describes the new system agreed between the coalition government and the European Commission as a "patch" and regrets that Sánchez has not called him to negotiate, although he says that he will try to make proposals in the parliamentary process'.
La Gente de Bíen. The good folk. Feijóo was talking about the good folk the other day. Not the commies or the feminists or the transsexuals or those who wish to offend them, but the honest ordinary folk. The silent majority, perhaps. Javier Gallego writes 'The right has always liked to divide Spain into two classes: the good people, who are them; and then the bad Spaniards, who are the reds, freemasons, transvestites, separatists, atheists and other degenerates.'. So we come to the Minister of Transport Raquel Sánchez who says, 'It's the PSOE who works for la gente de bíen, those who pay their taxes and those who don't transfer their wealth to a fiscal paradise or to the Netherlands (in a veiled reference to Ferrovial's Rafael del Pino).
Ramón Tamames, at 89, is the oldest candidate for a vote of no confidence in the history of democracy says El Huff Post here. 'For this reason, due to his advanced age, the Congress of Deputies has sought a solution so that the candidate of the far-right Vox party does not have to go up and down the steps to the podium in the coming days March 21 and 22, the dates chosen to celebrate the motion. Instead, they will set up a space in the centre of the chamber from where he can address the deputies.' From El Mundo here: '.The Vox spokesman in Congress Iván Espinosa de los Monteros has stressed once again that Ramón Tamames "is not from Vox", but he agrees with them that "the government of Pedro Sánchez is a disaster, and that it has to be dissolved and elections must be called".
It should make interesting viewing!
The Public Safety Law (known as La Ley Mordaza), introduced by the last PP government, was due to be largely repealed this week, but two of the regionalist parties (ERC and EHBildu) sided with the opposition because the issue of rubber bullets for the forces of law and order wasn't dealt with and neither was a problem concerning illegal immigration. 'An opportunity for the protection of human rights in Spain is lost', says an article dramatically. Here, in English, is a piece from April 2021 explaining what the gag-law was (and is).
There's undoubtedly a struggle between Podemos and the Minister of Labour Yolanda Díaz - a candidate who can count on the support of the IU leader Alberto Garzón - for the leadership of the Izquierda. So what does Podemos want before it agrees to back Sumar? Protagonísmo says 20Minutos here. The official presentation of Sumar will take place in Madrid (no date as yet), and Podemos '.threatens not to attend that event if Díaz does not sign a pre-coalition agreement with them "beforehand", a legal formula that would confirm a certain pre-eminence of Podemos within the alliance and would also guarantee resources and access to the electoral subsidy after the elections.' El Mundo says here that the PSOE deputies are meanwhile sick and tired of Podemos and are just waiting for a ministerial reshuffle '."They deeply offend us every day, there are things that cannot be let go. And they cross the line every day. It is unnecessary to remember, because everyone knows it, that the vast majority of socialist leaders and ministers would celebrate in style if the Prime Minister, one day early in the morning, made a couple of dismissals of UP ministers"....'
From La Vanguardia we read that the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, is quitting her position to stand in the forthcoming local elections as the PSOE candidate for the City of Madrid. Another minister, Carolina Darias, is leaving her post as Health Minister to run for the city hall of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Their substitutes (plus some others?) may be announced next Monday in the Council of Ministers.
From El Huff Post here: 'Handelsblatt, the leading economic newspaper in Germany, considers the work schedule controls that Yolanda Díaz has undertaken in Spain to be the way forward in Germany. The newspaper explains that Spain's labour minister is enforcing working hours through "strict controls and harsh penalties". Handelsblatt explains that now in Spain there is already an obligation to record working hours and highlights that "Germany can learn" some lessons from what the "pioneering" country of Spain is doing.'
A piece from The Guardian treats the historic Catalonian slave issue: 'The government of Catalonia has said the wealthy Spanish region must confront "the past racism" of its slave-trading history, after a documentary revealed how Catalan industrialists and seafarers profited from the transatlantic slave trade when the British abolished the practice in 1807.
It has long been acknowledged that many Catalan fortunes - including that of Antonio Gaudí's patron Eusebi Güell - were made on the back of slave labour in the tobacco, sugar and cotton plantations of Cuba and, to a lesser extent, Puerto Rico.
Far less well known is the fact that Catalan magnates and mariners spent decades growing rich from slavery after filling the void left by Britain's decision to abolish slavery and exit the trade.'.
How are things going in The Vatican after a decade of Pope Francisco at the helm? Clearly, it depends who you ask. El Confidencial interviews Vicens Lozano, a journalist close to the Pope, who has just published a book titled 'Vaticangate', described as 'The far-right conspiracy against Pope Francis and the manipulation of the next Conclave' (Amazon). Unsurprisingly, Steve Bannon's name comes up a few times. The article is titled "The conspiracy against the Pope is underway and continuous".
The Mediador Scandal centres around a Tenerife 'fixer' (the mediator), a national politician and a Guardia Civil general. Something, as it were, for everyone. Now the Guardia Civil have come in for a larger part in the scandal, the interest has either dropped or grown, according to taste. From Europa Press here: 'According to the investigation, the 'El Caso Mediador', allegedly headed by former Socialist deputy Juan Bernardo Fuentes Curbelo, nicknamed 'Tito Berni', benefited from bribing businessmen. The General of the Guardia Civil Francisco Espinosa Navas is said to have been in charge of the extortion. Now, two other senior officers of the Guardia Civil are reported to be allegedly involved in the plot.' As things now appear, it would not be an appropriate moment to order a parliamentary commission into the affair. La Voz de Galicia claims here that the case is 'only the tip of the iceberg' and says that other senior Guardia Civil figures are under investigation 'regarding more than 200 improper contracts'. elDiario.es also covers the story here.
'Spain's government joins legal action against F.C. Barcelona over referee consultant cash' says The Olive Press here. The story goes that the football club had given a company owned by a senior referee called José María Enriquez Negreira around 8.4 million euros since 2001 for (they claim) 'video reports related to professional referees'.
What one needs to bring about a case of lawfare to sink one's political rival.
1. A fabrication. 2. A sympathetic judge. 3. The mercenary media. The story of Martínez Almeida versus Sánchez Mato. Told by Miguel Charisteas at YouTube here.
From Público here: 'The Prosecutor's Office requests two years and ten months prison-time for Xavier García Albiol for prevarication. He is accused of continuous violations against urbanism and the environment. The former leader of the Catalan PP is the party's candidate for mayor of Badalona and since January he has been part of Feijóo's campaign team'.
The far-right TV channel 7NN has pulled out of the TDT system in all of Spain less Madrid to save on costs. The long-term goal of the channel, says ECD here, is to become something similar to the US Fox News channel.
From elDiario.es here: 'The ecologists demand that the PP reveal which are the 650 farms in Doñana using illegal irrigation that they intend to pardon. The WWF requests an urgent meeting of the council in charge of the Doñana park's interests in the face of the "attack" of the PP and the Junta de Andalucía which, they say, are motivated "solely by electoral interests". The Coto de Doñana (wiki) is an area of protected wetlands, famous for its breeding and visiting birdlife. The water is often pumped illegally to serve agricultural interests, including the local strawberry industry.
'Fraud in Almería', says Público, which it describes as 'the Orchard of Europe'. 'More than 14 million euros so far in fines and 11,000 workers affected. In the last five years, the Labour Inspectors have discovered 1,640 jobs without a contract and unpaid social security contributions worth 7.8 million in the agricultural sector of Almería'. More on Almería's plastic farms over at Spanish Shilling here.
'Quiet down! Spain's ombudsman calls on major cities to do something about excessive noise levels'. The Olive Press reports that the noisiest cities are Barcelona, Madrid and Bilbao - in part due to the relaxation of the rules regarding sidewalk cafés.
Just in passing, but it's reported that Ferrovial will increase the salary of its CEO after the move to Amsterdam - 'for the higher cost of living' found there. VozPópuli reports that 'Ignacio Madridejos will go from a fixed remuneration of 1.15 million to 1.45 million for the change of company headquarters. With variables, his total salary will rise to 5.8 million'. Gosh, Amsterdam must be expensive - he's getting an extra 800? a day to live there!
British residents in Spain who have UK driving licences will be pleased to hear that they may now drive again after the Spanish Govt finally agreed to recognise the validity of the doc (for the next six months) and they can now effect an exchange for a Spanish licence. Here's the statement on video from the British Ambassador on the subject.
An article from El Confidencial (paywall) begins: 'Journalist Bárbara Barón worked for many years for the Moroccan foreign secret service when her father, Enrique Barón, was the General Commissioner of Information of the National Police, a position he held from January 2012 to December 2017. Today he is the provincial chief in Málaga in the Police.' One wonders what she achieved. The Moroccan press is unconvinced - from L'Observateur here: 'The journalist Ignacio Cembrero has published an article in line with what he knows how to do best, that's to say, attacking Morocco. Among the stream of assertions he exposed, he claims that the Spanish journalist Bárbara Barón worked for years in Spain for the Moroccan intelligence service...'.
It's no secret that Barón is a journo for both L'Observateur and Pouvoirs d'Afrique.
El Huff Post brings us Spain's highest-voted Parador hotel. It's a converted Tenth Century monastery, the Parador de Santo Estevo, in Orense. El Español prefers a castle converted into a Parador - this one is the Castillo de Cardona (Barcelona), built in 886.
An article on the modest Kingdom of Viguera, a village in La Rioja (Pop. 382). King García Sánchez I de Pamplona created the reino for his son Ramiro in around 943 for no-doubt-sound Palace reasons. The article on El Reino de Viguera is at Noticias de Álava here.
And since we are in the north, here's a train-ride to enjoy from Sur in English: 'The Cantabrian coast in style: eight days exploring the north of Spain by luxury train. An elegant way to travel. We climb on board one of the most extraordinary and beautiful hotels in the world and visit the places along the 667-kilometre route between San Sebastián and Santiago de Compostela'.
Tito Ramírez is undoubtedly a handful. Here he is with Yadda-Haddabadoo on YouTube.