Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 6.5.21

 

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’ 

NOTE: If you want to know more about Galicia or read my Guide to Pontevedra city, click here.

Covid  

The UKFlu and pneumonia overtake Covid-19 as causes of death, with the Covid death rate being the lowest in 7 months. So, why is the rollback so slow?

There’s info on Ivermectin from Don Quijones here. It’s a useful off-patent, anti-parasitic that has been discovered to have powerful anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s being used in more than 20 countries, with ‘promising results’.

Cosas de España

Bad news for motorists, always an easy target:-

1. There’s to be a new CO2 tax from September,

2. Spain will be ‘going Portuguese‘ soon. Inevitably. 

It would be nice to think our local toll would reduce from more than 10c/km to 4 but this is  never going to happen, I suspect. 

Mark Stücklin has an article here explaining the Spanish non-lucrative visa. This allows the applicant to live, but not to work, in Spain.  Excellent for retirees and students and a good option for those who want to test the waters and are considering living in Spain long term.

The limits on expats in Spain may breach human rights. See the 1st. article below.

Fiona Govan of The Olive Press explains, in the 2nd article below, why Madrid has rewarded the anti-lockdown Right.

Cousas de Galiza

María’s Level Ground: Days 31&32. María’s view of the Madrid developments. 

France

Circumstances change principles, they say. M Macron needs right-wing support. So . . . Macron’s speech – to commemorate the death of Boney – followed weeks of anguished debate in France over the merits of commemorating a divisive figure hailed by the right as a pillar of national history but denounced by the left as a warmongering despot draped in racism and sexism. Presidential advisers had briefed the media that he would seek to find a middle ground between the conflicting visions of the emperor, remaining faithful to his centrist instincts. Instead he delivered a distinctly positive appraisal of the soldier who rose from humble origins in Corsica to proclaim himself emperor. How does one say ‘to tack right’ in French?

The USA

No, it’s not a spoof or a parody – Trump’s ‘retroactive’ blog page. Here and here. A real barrel of laughs. Such as  this one: We know that our rights do not come from government, they come from God, and no earthly force can ever take those rights away. That includes the right to religious liberty and the right to Keep and Bear Arms. And how about a Trump Freedom hat for only $40.00? Or a Don’t Blame Me I Voted for Trump mug for a mere $30.00? 

English

A British term which came up in conversation with a friend yesterday: A ‘dogsbody’: Someone who does menial or drudge work. A rough American equivalent would be a package-handler, gofer, grunt, or lackey. I wouldn’t have thought the last cited was particularly American. Anyway, the history of the word is said by Wiki to be: In the early 19th century, the Royal Navy used dried peas boiled in a bag (pease pudding) as one of their staple foods. Sailors nicknamed this item “dog’s body”. In the early 20th century, junior officers and midshipmen who did jobs avoided by senior officers began to be called “dogsbodies”. The term became more common in non-naval usage c. 1930, referring to people who were stuck with rough work.

Quote of the Day

Meghan Markle’s fun-free children’s book may put an entire generation off reading.

Finally  . . .

Not exactly what I was expecting. . . 

Perhaps it’s the pH.

THE ARTICLES

1. The limits on expats in Spain may breach human rights. Allowing Britons who own property to stay in the country only half the time is unfair: Leon Fernando Del Canto

Hundreds of thousands of British expats living in Spain face increasingly unfavourable tax burdens and discrimination over their pre-Brexit immigration status.

Before the UK’s departure from the EU, most British citizens living in Spain failed to register their residence and have been flying under the radar — until now.

British homeowners in Spain must now comply with rules that mean that non-EU nationals can stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days in every 180. They face potential deportation or a ban from the country should they outstay their welcome. There is zero leeway for emergencies, whether family crises, attending to property issues or any other urgent matter. Border control data systems mean nobody will go unnoticed.

The so-called golden visa seems to be the only solution offered to those not wanting to become residents, but obtaining those documents in London incurs consulate fees of more than £1,600. It is imperative that the Spanish government resolves this problem.

Those who acquired property in Spain before December 31 last year should be provided with a free residence permit. Failure to grant such permits would lead to a breach of their human rights.

The European Convention on Human Rights states that individuals have a legal right to “peacefully enjoy” the possession of their home and deprivation of possessions by states should be subject to certain fair and equitable conditions. It is worth noting that in addition to the UK being a member of the Council of Europe, the ECHR applies to any foreign citizen in Spain.

State rules preventing people from peacefully enjoying their property, independently of whether it is their main residence, are likely directly to violate that convention right. However, to begin legal proceedings all remedies that could provide redress in Spain for the alleged violation must have been exhausted, a process which could take years.

To make matters worse, from the beginning of this year, as a result of Brexit, British citizens who own property in Spain or generate income in the country have been classified as non-resident taxpayers and they must pay 24 per cent income tax compared with 19 per cent for EU nationals. In addition, Britons renting their properties are not able to deduct any costs or expenses, significantly increasing their overheads.

As a result, it would be no surprise if there were soon an onslaught of UK residents litigating in Spain. And with EU freedom of movement laws no longer applying to Britons, this issue goes far beyond Spain as well: more than half a million Britons own second homes within the Schengen zone.

2. Why Madrid has rewarded the anti-lockdown Right. Lockdown isn’t always a surefire vote winner – just ask Madrileños, who won the latest elections with a landslide: Fiona Govan 

A group stands in the doorway of a newly opened sushi restaurant in downtown Malasaña chatting loudly as they smoke cigarettes, their masks resting on their chins, while waiting for space to open up within. In the plaza outside, a waiter frantically clears a table to seat a young couple who are already perusing the menu via an app on their mobile phones. Further up the street, traffic has been diverted so that bars can place tables on the cobbles to cater for the crowds of Madrileños meeting their friends for an aperitivo in the warm spring sunshine.

This is Madrid, a city in the grip of a fourth wave where the Covid-19 infection rate consistently ranks as the highest across Spain’s regions but where, over the last six months, restrictions have been the most lax.

From lamp-posts that line the streets and from giant billboards across the capital’s metro stations, is the smiling face of the woman who has made this state of semi-normality possible, the self-styled patron saint of the hospitality industry, Isabel Diaz Ayuso. On Tuesday, her gamble paid off, confounding the international political consensus that lockdowns are overwhelmingly popular with the public and securing a landslide win for her conservative Popular Party (PP).

Under a state of emergency imposed last October by socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, regional authorities were given the power under broad national guidelines to determine health policies and impose their own restrictions. Since then, Ayuso has steadfastly stuck to the belief that there was no need to kill the economy, too. While regions including Catalonia, Andalucia and the Balearic Islands shut down all non-essential businesses including shops, bars and restaurants, Madrid was determined to keep them open, defying Sanchez, health chiefs, and quite often common sense.

With Ayuso at the helm, for Madrileños the fun, though curbed, didn’t stop. On the evening that England went back into lockdown, I commiserated with my mother over the phone before rushing out to the opera, then joined friends for a glass of wine and tapas just in time to get home for the 11pm curfew (although admittedly that was an early night by Madrid standards).

Traumatised by the strictest lockdown in western Europe, when for six weeks Spaniards were confined to their homes, unable to go outside even to exercise as the coronavirus raged, Ayuso’s determination to keep things open won support even from those who wouldn’t traditionally buy into her Right-wing political ideology.

The well chosen word libertad (freedom) for her campaign slogan hit a chord and on Tuesday she increased her party’s share of the vote by 20 percentage points, doubling the number of seats in the regional assembly from the last election in 2019.

Although the PP still fell short of a majority and will need the support of the Right-wing Vox party to govern, this isn’t likely to prove a problem for Ayuso, a woman who started her political career tweeting on behalf of a predecessor’s dog. In a defiant response to Left-wing critics during campaigning in March, she said: “When they call you a fascist, you know you’re doing it right … and you’re on the right side of history.”

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