8 July 2022: Suffering entrepreneurs; Travel tips; The solar option again; Boris Johnson; Rude Spanish: Globish; & Other stuff.

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Awake! For, Morning, in the Bowl of Night, has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
And, Lo, has caught the Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Possibly because the Tax Office believes absolutely everyone is lying/cheating, Spain has long penalised the entrepreneurial self-employed by charging them a high social insurance tax from the day they start their business, regardless of income and profit. The minimum contribution is currently almost €300 a month, with no UK-type option to avoid/reduce this burden by postponing or reducing social security cover. But there are apparently plans to reduce the early burden on new entrepreneurs, while progressively increasing it for the rest of them. But I doubt this will stop folk failing to declare income until they have some profit to pay the tax from. The nettle has not been grasped.

Here’s someone’s idea of the 6 things you need to consider when planning a trip to the Iberian Peninsula. Pretty commonsensical and not much specific to Spain and Portugal, it seems to me.

I’ve been wondering – again – about solar panels, especially since we’re forecasted to get more sun up here in Galicia. Years ago I and my neighbours were put off this by an astonishing change of strategy from the right-of-centre PP party, which suddenly switched from subsidising private installations to penalising citizens who’d been encouraged to invest heavily in them. But in 2018 the socialist PSOE cancelled this ‘sun tax’ and is now heavily promoting solar energy. Which is hardly a surprise. Even north of Andalucia and Murcia.

I recently wrote about the negative attitude of most Spaniards towards gypsies. So I was interested to read that there’s to be a new anti-discrimination law – la Ley Zerolo – aimed at ensuring that no one is discriminated against for reasons of birth, racial or ethnic origin, sex or religion, belief or opinion, age, disability, sexual orientation or identity, gender expression, illness, health status, socioeconomic status or any other personal or social circumstance. Lenox Napier cites the opinion of Público that, while all-encompassing, it’s really aimed at el antigitanismo

The UK  

Boris Johnson: The most accurate post-resignation comment: He’s not gone yet. . .

Boris Johnson has only promised to resign in the autumn: he has not resigned. What Johnson has actually done is buy himself a couple more months in office. A promise from Boris Johnson . . . . Based on decades of experience, not exactly worth a lot.

And, interestingly enough, one of his ex-paramours wonders whether his (non)resignation speech indicated that he’s expecting to be forgiven and allowed to bounce back. As he always has been in the past. I can’t see it myself but who knows? Dominic Cummings – someone who possibly knows the real Johnson even better than this lady warns: I know that guy and I’m telling you – he doesn’t think it’s over. He’s thinking ‘There’s a war. Weird shit happens in a war. Play for time. I can still get out of this. I got a mandate. Members love me. Get to September’. If MPs leave him in situ, there’ll be CARNAGE.

At the moment, one thing that certainly can’t be said as regards the office he still holds is that: Nothing became him like the leaving of it. 

On the theme of what he’s achieved . . . Johnson has left his country in the most appalling mess. A mess clearly to be symbolised by the manner of his leaving. But did he actually go so far as to ‘break Britain’? The evidence on this can be found here.

As for his (non)resignation speech, Richard North points out that: In many ways it typifies Johnson, a man lacking in shame or the slightest hint of self-awareness to the extent that it was devoid of contrition and blamed others for his downfall.


As my South American friends attest, mainland Spanish can be rather robust, coarse even. The Spanish and Gallego words for the English C word – coño and cono – are regularly heard in daily discourse here, even between kids and adults. Strangely, though, the worst thing you can call a male is ‘billy goat'(cabrón), because it also means ‘cuckold’. As I lay in the shade on a beach yesterday, I heard a husband on one side of me call his wife coño and a daughter on the other side call her father cabrón. Can’t see this happening in the UK or the USA. Or even in, say, Colombia or Argentina.


Ever heard of Globish?

Finally  . . .

What I see every time I get off the train at Vigo’s Urzaiz station:-

I have to refrain from shouting – as I mount the stairs – When you reach my age, you’ll all be bloody obese!

For new readers: If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there.


  1. I am one of those ‘new entrepreneurs’ and was dumbfounded by the high monthly social security payments. I still am… angry about it, especially without any income


  2. My partner 15 years ago went to the Hacienda and was told what she’ have to pay. When she said she couldn’t, the taxman said. “Well, don’t tell us about your business until you can.” So she never did . . . Pargmatic the Spanish. At times.



  3. Is the social insurance tax deducted from the taxes that are to be paid to the Hacienda when the earnings are declared by the accountant? When my youngest son started as a self employed improver bricklayer at 18, he worked as a subcontractor & 20% of his earnings were retained by the project or principal contractor & detailed in his pay slip. He paid/pays National Insurance separately, by DD.

    From 6th April of the second year of working, his accountant took those pay slips & produced the tax return for the first year, which contained all the deductions from income that were available to a self employed person. These included tools, clothing, travelling to sites, meals & overnight accommodationif applicable. By June, my son received a substantial income tax rebate.

    Had he been employed directly by a company, his total deductions would still have amounted to approximately 20%. Being subcontracted, he goes where the pay is highest. He is now 31. He pays for his own accident & public liability insurances, because much of his work is building extensions, which he gets by word of mouth. He is part of an informal group of tradesmen who all trust one another & work together, as necessary, during the project. I would think that all qualified tradesman who work in the UK are self employed subcontractors & are never short of work.

    When I purchased my own off-the-shelf limited liability company, to treat creamic floor tiles to improve slip resistance when covered with standing water, the cost was £100. I was MD & my brother was Company Secretary. We took no salary until I had completed a few contracts. I used an accountant for all the tax returns & we traded very successfully for 14 years until I retired in 2009. I would not have started my company, if it had been unlikely to immediately earn profitable income, but as soon as I saw the opportunity, I trusted in my abilities to persuade others to buy the service. Most of the work came from recommendations.

    The only criteria for starting a company that I can think of, is, will it make me richer? If it won’t, don’t!


  4. Without looking it up, if my memory series me well, I started a company in the UK for about 15 quid. My account charged 500 quid a year.

    Here in Spain, opening a business takes about 800 euros. The cheapest accountant will be 1500 euros a year. And although you may own the business you must still register as autónomo, and depending on your business activity will pay from just under 300 euros up to 500 euros as an autonomo. This is regardless of income.

    The self employment scheme may have changed, but last time I looked it was 50 euros a month 1st year, then 2nd year a 50% reduction on full charge, and in the third year a 25% reduction.
    Why on earth they don’t use a system based on percentages and/or profit beggars belief. No wonder 25% of the GDP is dinero negro


    • Perry. The short answer to your question is NO.

      But a good accountant, will probably get you some kind of refund, as in Spain we often overpay. Once expenses are considered it usually leads to a rebate. But you went be getting any of your social security back. Refunds are against declared tax earnings


  5. It would mean fewer bureaucrats to employ.
    Disguised unemployment/subsidised employment.
    A hangover from the 1950s and 1960s, when Spain was poor and officially a ‘dedveloping country’.
    This sort of structural inefficiency is hard to get rid of.


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