The Moción de Censura - the peculiar vote of no confidence brought by Vox - was debated and voted down (to no one's surprise) this week. Vox had brought it (their second) with the presumed hope of being able to criticise the Government at great length, as the rules insist. For the other leading parties, the tactic brought consequences. The PP (the future senior partner in a right-wing PP/Vox government) would be abstaining, as they sucked their teeth and looked faintly embarrassed, while hoping that some of the less star-struck Voxxers would perhaps consider returning to the PP fold. Due to parliamentary rules, Feijóo couldn't speak for the PP (he isn't a deputy), so the task fell to their acerbic (or 'forthright', depending on one's point of view) spokesperson Cuca Gamarra.
The PSOE appeared pleased, as it showed up the silliness of the Vox proposal - to say nothing of its candidate for president (a man practically in his nineties). Pedro Sánchez also felt that the debate would underline the two different approaches to politics in Spain, link the PP to Vox, as well as unifying the governing coalition in a common cause.
Yolanda Díaz (who will be announcing her candidacy for Sumar for the December general elections on April 2), defended the government from the Podemos/IU benches.
The show began on Tuesday with Santiago Abascal, with his usual exaggerations and fibs.
A very tired looking Tamames, for his part, neither offered a program during his lengthy opening remarks (beyond a proposal to call for fresh elections) nor answered any of the many criticisms brought against him by the other speakers.
Guy Hedgecoe, writing in The Irish Times on Sunday, described the whole sorry tale as a '.motion, engineered by the far-right Vox party, likely to end up being just a bizarre footnote in Spanish history...'. Indeed, even some of the Vox deputies appear sheepish.
Last Thursday, elDiario.es had obtained a copy of the thirty-one page opening speech from Ramón Tamames (he'd sent it out to some of his friends as one does) which they promptly printed in full. He had already admitted in an interview earlier this month with El País that he didn't agree with some of the Vox doctrine. While Vox has described Sánchez as a criminal and a sociopath (sic), Tamames admitted last week that he holds the prime minister in tolerably high esteem.
The reaction from the far-right was the usual: it's not a scoop, they said, but a leak made on purpose by the eccentric Tamames, who used to be (back in the 1950s) a member of the then-illegal Partido Comunista de España. He passed it to elDiario.es - a 'communist, podemite, far-left daily' - simply to vex Vox says Federico Jiménez Losantos, a long-time broadcaster along the line of Glenn Beck. The larger question was raised - had Santiago Abascal made a terrible miscalculation by choosing Tamames as his Champion?
We all hoped so.
The debate lasted through Tuesday and into Wednesday, including some good speeches from Gabriel Rufían (ERC) and Aitor Esteban (PNV) before the final vote.
A few bon mots to take away:
Sánchez to Abascal: "Pase lo que pase, el dictador nunca volverá a su mausoleo"
Sánchez to Tamames: "No creo que esta haya sido la mejor idea que ha tenido en su vida"
Yolanda Díaz to Abascal: "Solo se han dirigido a las mujeres para reprocharnos la baja fecundidad"
Patxi López on the program of the PP: "Está tan clara, que está en blanca"
There are an extraordinary number of short-term tourist apartments available along the coast, notes Sur in English here. No doubt, we can all use a little extra pin-money. 'Tourist flat rentals in Spain: the 'boom' after the pandemic. Some areas have 30 per cent more tourist homes than before Covid-19, such as the archipelagos and the coast, inland and northern regions'. As any hotelier will tell you, these short-term lets will push up the price for regular apartment rentals. Oh - and we hotel-owners will suffer right along. The article has a calculator for the number of tourist-lets in each municipality. In Mojácar, por ejemplo, there are 708 of them - which is over 8% of all local homes.
From VoxPópuli here: 'The European Union has approved its new energy efficiency plan for residential and non-residential buildings. A regulation that will be applied equally to all member countries, regardless of their residential stock and their per capita income. This will mean that in Spain, 80% of the apartment blocks, especially the older ones, will have to carry out a series of reforms - paid for with money from the community itself - in order to meet the new community requirements.'. By 2029, the buildings should be fully converted to solar energy says the article.
From Spanish Property Insight here: 'The Balearic regional government's idea of excluding foreign buyers from the housing market has not been warmly embraced by Brussels . Madrid recently dismissed the idea as illegal under EU law, and it comes as no surprise that Brussels has also pointed this out, which is another way of saying that the idea is a non-starter.'
'Produced by Age in Spain, a Spanish charity which has supported English speakers in Spain for more than thirty years, Moving to Spain: a complete guide takes the reader step-by-step through all that is involved in making the move. It describes how Spain works: how to apply for the right visa, what to do when buying a property and how to bring your car or pet. The guide also explains why it is essential to plan ahead, especially for health care and social services that might be needed later.' From The Majorca Daily Bulletin here. The useful guide can be found here.
The Olive Press has an article about how the Catastro works, measuring (and adjusting) boundaries between properties. It's the official record of one's land expanse. The older escrituras sometimes talk of an olive tree, or a wall or a ravine. In some places, there's a stone (un mojón) to denote the edge of one's land, but, hey, it's easy enough to move.
'Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, world-renowned festivities, and great vacation savings when you buy or rent a Spain timeshare'. Is timeshare - multipropiedad - still a thing in Spain? We read from TRR (quoted above) that 'When you buy a Spain timeshare, you won't have to stress about booking overpriced hotel rooms. Plus, you'll guarantee your family comfortable accommodations in this exotic destination year after year...'. Indeed, Google is full of timeshare adverts, advice and warnings. Andalucia.com brings us 'In Andalucía, particularly on the Costa del Sol, there are both respected and highly "questionable" companies offering a variety of products. If you are considering a purchase in this sector, be advised of your rights under EU legislation, which has been incorporated by member states'. Here's comic John Oliver (on YouTube) on the woes of timeshare-ownership and how hard it is to sell/remove/unburden oneself.
An intriguing headline from ECD: 'Sotogrande curbs the occupation of luxury homes by drawing up a 'blacklist' of foreign squatters. Abusive tenants pose as high net worth millionaires, pay six months in cash, and then stay in the homes until they are evicted' (They are often Brits, says the article helpfully).
Will the problem with the failing banks eventually impact on tourism? An article about this is titled 'Tourism season facing new uncertainty' at The Majorca Daily Bulletin here.
'No surprises in the Cortes, where the ultra-right has once again failed in its second motion of no confidence in the legislature. This time, with Ramón Tamames as a candidate, Vox has seen how only its 52 deputies (and that of the former Ciudadanos deputy Pablo Cambronero) have voted in favour. On the bright side, they managed to get the PP to go from 'no' in the 2020 attempt to abstain this time around' says El Huff Post here. "This is a motion to stop Spain moving forwards; to make it go backwards," Pedro Sánchez said in summary, "In the PP's case, that's 10 years. In Vox's case, that's half a century" as reported by The Guardian here. Some sour grapes from The Corner here as it criticises Sánchez: 'No new idea and no attempt at a proposal with a chance of agreement.'
ECD runs the (slightly obvious, yet sinister) '.plan by the PP to govern without counting on Vox: reach 160 seats and thus hold more seats than the entire left. With that number of deputies, Sánchez will have to decide between facilitating the investiture or forcing a pact between the PP and those of Abascal'. From 350 seats in the Congreso de los Diputados (wiki), 176 is a proper majority. The suggestion here is that it would be the PSOE's fault if the PP were obliged to seek a pact with Vox to govern (!)
The CIS poll is published (before the influence on the voters of the moción de censura) giving the PSOE a five-point lead over the PP. The poll, often considered to be biased towards the PSOE, gives PSOE 32.7% against PP at 28%. Público has the story.
The former general secretary of the PP Teodoro García Egea (and staunch ally of Pablo Casado) has quit politics.
Useful info from HMGov here: 'Living in Spain. Information for British citizens moving to or living in Spain, including guidance on residency, healthcare and passports'. (H/T to Jake)
Apparently, blasphemy is still a thing in Spain - Mongolia (a satirical magazine) is facing a court-case for blasphemy ('ofensas a los sentimientos religiosos') brought by Abogados Cristianos and Hazte Oir (and one other undisclosed party) for their admittedly rather dire Christmas cover. The story, plus a crowd-funder, is here.
Ana Rosa Quintana, 'the veteran presenter on Tele5', has won a case brought against her by Pablo Iglesias after he complained that she stated in her TV show that the many people who had died during the Covid crisis in the residencias in Madrid was the fault of Iglesias rather than the president of the regional government who had (and has) responsibility for the upkeep of the old folks' homes. The judge, see, says that Ana Rosa has the right to the freedom of expression or to 'give an opinion'. The story at FormulaTV here (and here).
A radio show on the impact of fake news on Spanish society at Carne Cruda here.
Spain has been short of water for the past decade. From Xataka here: '"If it does not rain in the next two months, the consequences will be catastrophic": Spain, the drought and a critical spring'. With the article, a young journalist brings us a video of her time with two 'caza-tormentas' working with the AEMAT (national weather agency) in Castellón.
From The Independent here: 'EU warns Spain over expanding irrigation near prized wetland. The European Union has warned Spain that it won't tolerate renewed plans by regional politicians in the country's south to expand irrigation near its endangered Doñana wetlands'.
Seville: 'The buses of the future will run from biogas obtained from orange juice. The city takes advantage of the fact that it has the largest urban orange grove in Europe, with a harvest of more than 3,000 tons, to test a system with which to extract biogas for engines and generate electricity. From 500 litres of squeezed fruit, there's enough energy for the average uses of a home for five days'. elDiario.es has the story here.
From Deutsche Welle (in English) here: 'Why most plastic can't be recycled. With only 9% of annual plastic waste recycled, the myth that we can recycle our way out of a mounting plastic pollution crisis doesn't add up'.
From The Local here: 'Spain gave citizenship to more people than any EU country in 2021 with 144,800 people'. That said, it can take anything up to twelve years to get nationality.
'Why the rural world doesn't understand the 'Law of Animal Welfare': "We do not have a doctor in the town but they force us to hire a veterinarian to care for the cats". In Navalpino (Ciudad Real), with 220 inhabitants, an example of rural Spain and a sanctuary for hunters, they receive the new regulations with disbelief'. El Mundo brings the story.
El País brings us the list of unforgivable remarks by Isabel Díaz Ayuso in the Madrid assembly. 'From "Kill them" to "Podemos is worse than the coronavirus": Ayuso's seven great outbursts against the opposition'.
The general director of the Guardia Civil has resigned says Electromanía here. 'María Gámez, who has made a statement accompanied by the leadership of the Guardia Civil, has justified her resignation from office "after having learned" that her husband "has been summoned in the framework of a judicial proceeding".'
The official news-source from the Moncloa (the President of Spain's official residence) in English, is here.
ECD brings us an article about the organisations out there to the right of Vox. These 'neo-nazi' groups consider Vox as traitors. The article names some of these (international) groups.
elDiario.es runs a piece about Ian Gibson and his autobiography 'Un carmen en Granada. Memorias de un hispanista dublinés' (Amazon). Un carmen is a house with an ample garden, typical of Granada (wiki). Gibson has researched and written books about Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, and the poets Federico García Lorca and Antonio Machado.
'Good food, good meat. Why wait? Let's eat!' A piece at Eye on Spain here.
The Chorizo Chronicles with 'Women's Day in Spain, and Spanish feminism's great divide', here.
From Fascinating Spain here, 'The most common tourist traps in Spain and how to avoid them'. A few worth-while points here.
Nerva, the town in Huelva known as the 'Land of Artists'. Huelva Información shows us around.
España Fascinante takes us to Teruel - what to see and where to stay.
From Molly at Piccavey here, 'My list of 50 things to see and do in Granada, including daytrips from the city and other interesting sights to see'. Molly has been living in and writing about the city of Granada for fifteen years.
It's probably time for this one. 'The shady dame from Seville' with Robert Preston from the film Victor/Victoria on YouTube here.