On Sunday, a large protest was held in the Barrio de Salamanca in Madrid led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo and joined by his two predecessors Mariano Rajoy and José María Aznar. How many people were there? Sixty thousand says the right-wing press; maybe 30,000 says the left-wing sites. This despite organising free buses from the provinces (plus a bocadillo), and assurances from Isabel Díaz Ayuso to expect a crowd of 200,000.
The subject (so dear to the PP) was nothing less than: ‘that there is no room for both first and second class citizens’. Feijóo stood in front of the crowd like Bruce Springsteen (says an article unkindly – he has trouble pronouncing the name of the singer). ‘I’ll defend the equality for all Spaniards’ (he’s referring to the Catalonian issue) ‘even if it costs me the presidency’ he told his supporters.
The demonstration was, in a sense, a giant group hug – plus a reminder of the common enemy and the hope for another election soon...
And maybe too – a message from the top, that Ayuso’s time is ‘not yet’.
From Barcelona, Pedro Sánchez had this to say about the event: “They are demonstrating against a socialist government, but I'm sorry to tell them, there is going to be one”.
While it was a Partido Popular protest, other fellow-travellers were welcome to join in, and one news-site at least found an entrepreneur selling Francoist items (flags, mugs and caps).
The protest was against the supposed deals that Pedro Sánchez would be making to gather enough votes to be returned as president later in October assuming that Feijóo were to lose the vote for an absolute majority on Wednesday.
Which he duly did (172 for – 178 against).
And then a second vote, for a simple majority, to be held on Friday.
The Madrid protest was a bit disorganised, maybe a little pointless, but it reminded Spaniards across the country that Madrid for the conservatives is not only the capital city of Spain, but also the only city of Spain. There’s a comic map of SW Europe I saw somewhere that shows the borders but only features three names: Portugal, France and, er, Madrid.
From Spanish Property Insight here: Where did foreigners buy property in Spain in 2022? It answers with ‘…demand is reasonably diversified by nationality in the Valencian region, Andalucía, and the Canaries, but the French dominate in Catalonia, the British in Murcia, the Germans in the Balearics, and the Chinese in Madrid’.
The latest blow for the luxury Isla de Valdecañas urbanisation in Cáceres is a court-order to demolish all unfinished buildings on the site says elDiario.es here. The President of the Junta de Extremadura María Guardiola is to appeal the ruling.
Cartagena voted best-value place in Spain for foreigners to live says Murcia Today here.
‘Anti-squatter insurance. After the alarms, come the insurance. It was about time. The insistence of the right on the (extremely exaggerated) problem of home occupations in Spain has generated a new business niche: insurers offer an assistance service that you pay for in case one day your house is occupied’. Extract from the bulletin from Juanlú Sánchez.
‘A couple who illegally occupied a home in Gijón have accepted one year in prison and 6,000 euros for moral damages. They were tried for trespassing (allanamiento de morada). They changed the lock cylinder and lived in the house for seven months’. El Comercio reports here. The two forms of okupación are allanamiento de morada (somebody’s private home) and ursupación de vivienda (empty bank-owned homes) – plus, if you like, a third: the non-payment of rent or rent-arrears (‘inquiokupación’). La Ser claims here that the first two forms of squatting are down 29% and 36% respectively in the past five years. There are just 230 active cases in Spain of okupas in somebody’s home (2021 figures).
Infobae notes the high number of British retirees in Spain (following Brexit) – those over 65 years of age – now stands at 72,755 residence permits.
To avoid charging a regional wealth tax (Impuesto de Patrimonio autonómico), three PP-controlled autonomies in Spain – Madrid, Andalucía and Galicia – have lost themselves 595 million euros which have gone instead to the central tax authority as a special tax on large fortunes (Impuesto de Solidaridad a las Grandes Fortunas), as paying the former relieves any wealthy tax-payer of paying the latter. From El Salto Diario here: ‘Data for the temporary Solidarity Tax on Great Fortunes has now been released. 12,010 high net worth individuals, each one exceeding 3 million euros, have paid 623 million euros in respect of this tax. This number barely corresponds to 0.1% of the country's taxpayers and who must pay an average of 52,000 euros.
El Mundo says that ‘Four out of every 10 new residents from another country neither work nor are looking for work’. Beyond the headline, the article admits that the new arrivals include an indeterminate number of minors and retired seniors, plus a number of Ukrainian refugees – mainly women and children. The readers’ comments are unsurprising.
ABC reports that ‘The British fund Zegona is negotiating the purchase of at least 50% of Vodafone Spain, valued at around 5,000 million. The fund has confirmed that there are "conversations" with Vodafone to acquire the operator's business, but that "there is no certainty" that the operation will be carried out’. Zegona is, according to their site, ‘an operating company that has been established with the objective of acquiring businesses in the European telecommunications, media and technology sector with a ‘Buy-Fix-Sell’ strategy to deliver attractive shareholder returns’ (thanks to Jake for this).
The debates – two hours of Núñez Feijóo (here) followed by Óscar Puente (here) – a party spokesperson (Sánchez didn’t want to speak so sent a companion instead). Then came Feijóo again, Abascal, Feijóo, Sumar and so on… taking up all of Tuesday and most of Wednesday. Feijóo stressed his preparation for the job as president and proposed many ideas, as the other speakers – except his ally Santiago Abascal from Vox – went on the offensive. An odd situation, as the presidential candidate assumes from the first minute that he is not going to win. His main opponent decides he’s not going to talk and sends along a companion instead, and then Yolanda Díaz also foregoes the opportunity.
El País says that ‘Feijóo transforms the investiture into a motion of censure which Sánchez chooses to ignore’. elDiario.es looks at ‘A documented review of the lies, inaccuracies, falsehoods and omitted data by the PP candidate for the presidency of the Government, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, in his first speech in Congress’. But then, they all lie, don’t they?
How accurate is the CIS poll? It leans to the left says the right. Anyhoo, here is its latest findings ‘if an election was held today’ from El País: ‘…The socialists would obtain 33.5% support if the elections were repeated today, compared to the PP with 31.7%’. Sumar has edged out Vox to take third place in this survey.
BoT contributor José Antonio Sierra writes at RTVLifestyle of: ‘Spanish languages and hidden ear-phones’. He writes: ‘Parliamentarians will now be able to express themselves in the co-official languages of Catalan, Galician, Basque and Aranese in plenary sessions, committees and other areas of the Congress of Deputies of the Cortes Generales of Spain. It is something that until now, although it was not explicitly prohibited, was the subject of calls for attention and, in case of insistence, meant the politician concerned would be disciplined…’. The article then explores the Spanish Constitution and its rules regarding ‘las lenguas españolas’. Elsewhere, Atalayar reports that ‘Pedro Sánchez: "Linguistic plurality is a unique value that defines us and, quite simply, makes us who we are". The acting President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, took part on Monday in an event to mark the European Day of Languages at the Cervantes Institute in Madrid.
Under the right for freedom of expression, Sumar plans to call for the repeal in the Penal Code of any law that prohibits criticism of either the Monarchy or the Church.
Gibraltar holds its General Elections on 12th October says Wiki here.
‘The Petitions Committee of the European Parliament has unanimously approved a resolution urging airlines to guarantee that passengers can carry cabin luggage free of charge. The Ciudadanos MEP Jordi Cañas has managed to have the text include an express request to the European Commission and the Member States to develop a ruling from the CJEU, which considers hand luggage as an "indispensable element" of the passenger and, therefore, cannot be subject to an extra cost…’. The item comes from El Economista here.
‘The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), initially scheduled to be launched in 2021, has likely faced yet another delay. It has been reported in the media, based on disclosures with a few EU ministers, that ETIAS implementation has been pushed to 2025. This setback comes as a result of a combination of unforeseen challenges and complications stemming from the Paris Olympics and the delayed EU Entry/Exit System…’. Item at Etias.com here.
‘Brexit called ‘a huge mistake’ by protesters at rally in London. The National Rejoin March culminated in a demonstration in Parliament Square calling for the UK to rejoin the EU last Saturday’ says The Guardian here. A similar story appears at El Mundo here: ‘Thousands of Britons demonstrate in London against Brexit: "We will return to the European Union!"’. The article notes that – ‘…The demonstration broke out in the early afternoon in front of the British Parliament and received more coverage in the international media than in the local ones. Conservative newspapers, such as The Daily Express, described the protesters as "desperate Rejoiners" while the GBNews TV channel claimed an "epic fail" and minimized the number of attendees’.
An hour-long video about Rodrigo Rato, ‘Portrait of a Gangster’, is on YouTube here. Rato’s trial is set to start on December 12 and the accusation is asking for 70 years prison.
The former director of the Faffe (a public employment agency) who spent over 32,000€ of public money from the Junta de Andalucía in a number of brothels in Andalucía between 2004 and 2010 is sentenced to six years in prison says 20Minutos here.
From Maldita here: ‘Beware of advertisements on social networks of an alleged Government program to install solar panels: they seek to obtain your data fraudulently.
Advertisements on Facebook and Instagram claim that the Government is giving subsidies of up to 10,000 euros to install solar panels in certain autonomous communities’.
Violent pick-pockets and raiders on electric scooters – the crime-wave in Valencia here.
A journalist for elDiario.es decided to spend a week in the fachosphere (sic) to catch up on memes, bulos, misogynists, insults, racist tweets, trolls, right-wing commentaries and videos. It sounded like fun, he writes, but it wasn’t and furthermore, he says, he’d never go back there again. He is used to getting lots of insults whenever one of his articles is posted by his news-site, so he must be fairly thick-skinned. He says: ‘I mean that the fachosphere is gaining ground on all digital fronts and it is poisoning the internet. There are the YouTubers with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and the Telegram channels or Twitter accounts which often have a major following and cause the greatest impact, but then there are the infantry of trolls who, as soon as they smell blood, dive in, and who will sometimes practice bullying or harassment, until the attacked person closes the account. Or thinks twice before giving their opinion…’ It’s a sobering article about how the far-right attempts, with considerable success, to manipulate above all the young-folk: white, male and heterosexual. Here, by the way, is one of the legion of far-right YouTube agitators – he’s called Infovlogger – in full flow, and here’s El Plural with a revealing piece on him.
A view on the right-wing’s use of Telegram (in English) is here.
Generally, if I see something improbable, I check with Maldita, the fact-finding site.
‘…Dozens of journalists were covering the demonstration, including a team from RTVE, which suffered jeers and rebukes from a large group of protesters, who booed and insulted them with shouts of "Get out, get out!" among other words, which has made their work impossible, according to a video posted on Twitter by journalist Almudena Ariza. "My complete support for my RTVE colleagues who were treated like this at the event called by the PP in Madrid. Journalists who were just doing their job"...’. The El Mundo/Twitter story is here.
From The Guardian here: ‘Five siblings (four brothers and a sister) have been jailed for more than three years for illegally extracting water from an aqueduct feeding a Unesco-listed Spanish nature reserve that is threatened by desertification, a court ruling showed’.
More on compulsory dog insurance (still yet to be ratified) at 20Minutos here. Which companies, how much and what do they cover?
Spain has agreed with Brussels to drop the tolls on motorways – at least for 2024 according to El País here (or here).
‘Spanish Children’, a 1948 educational film made by the Encyclopaedia Britannica here.
Two towns from two different countries have been twinned together due to their unique history and heritage. Hospital in Ireland’s Limerick and Hospital de Órbigo in the north of Spain were linked together in a twinning ceremony held in the Limerick village this past Saturday. Hospital and Hospital de Órbigo both share a similar name which is derived from their shared history of the Knights Hospitaller…’ Item from Limerick Leader here.
National Geographic (España) brings us ‘The 50 World Heritage monuments and landscapes of Spain’. NatGeo always has the best photographs.
Reader Jake (on Segovia): The joke about the American who went to Segovia and writes home ‘It’s a great place to visit – the castle! Those medieval walls! The cathedral! Amazing food! Only one problem – someone’s built a dirty great aqueduct right through the middle’.
A useful place to go to open a paywall - www.archive.ph (Thanks to Anon)
All I can find for this is ‘Una de las Canciones más Gallegas del mundo’. A kind of farmer’s song… Good, though. It’s on YouTube here.