15 December 2022: Quite a bit of stuff.

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

Below is a brief VdG article on how the category of self-employed worker(autónomo) is abused by companies here, reducing their costs and depriving employees of benefits. But the Hacienda is on the case, they say, using sophisticated tools.

The shine seems to be off the Gallego leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo. He might still be in charge of it for next year’s general elections but the slightest slip will certainly be taken advantage of by the further-to-the-right Madrid President, Isabel Díaz Ayuso. Who’s possibly a bit more photogenic.

Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas points out that you’ll very often see institutional ads in Spanish national and local newspapers – to help keep the editorial focused on what is to be safely reported, he suggests. Here in Galicia, the papers are kept alive by these ads and by ‘ghost subscriptions’ paid for by the taxpayers. My suspicion is that they’re used to pressurise the papers to print more and more articles in Gallego.

And a HT to Lenox for this article on: ‘Ten Crazy Facts about the Spanish Inquisition.

The national rail carrier, Renfe, has a system of discount vouchers (abonos) for local travel. It didn’t take long for someone to work how to abuse the scheme, involving not tuning up for your (compulsory) reserved return seat. The company is now chasing abusers for refunds. Details here.

The UK 

The Guardian’s estimable John Crace mocks and fillets the un-estimable (Door)Matt Hancock’s Pandemic Diaries here.


The Irish, in the face of rising energy costs, are returning to their traditional burning of peat. Not good for the environment but: The financial factor is a much stronger motivation than saving the planet. People are facing an immediate crisis. More here.


Tragic. There were indeed riots in French cities last night and A teenage boy died in Montpellier after being hit by a car during clashes between France and Morocco fans. Violence also erupted in Paris and Nice. So, it wasn’t ‘just a game’, after all.

The EU

An odd defence from the EU MP accused of accepting at least €1.5 in bribes from Qatar: “The EU is already so cosy with Qatar that there was no need for bribery to encourage closer links”, she claimed. The money was allegedly to be used as bribes to extend Qatar’s influence before EU decisions on visa liberalisation and an aviation deal last year.

The Way of the World

As Xmas approaches, the price of shellfish rises here in Spain – alongside that of tripe around the world . . . Boris Johnson has been paid more than £1m for 4 speaking engagements since leaving office less than 3 months ago.

A documentary called Adult Human Female has – inevitably – led to ructions in the UK, as it deals with the clash between women’s rights and trans ideology. It might never be seen in cinemas or on TV but right now you can get it on Youtube here. Or you could early this morning . . .

An Iranian footballer who took part in protests against the regime is facing execution, despite pleas for mercy from a former national team captain and other sport stars.

The World Cup

Hats of to the Moroccans for a terrific performance against France, who certainly look beatable by Argentina. Roll on Sunday evening, when I hope we’ll be cheering a final (?) Messi triumph. Not that I’ve got anything against the ‘surrender-monkey’ Frogs, of course. All fine folks. Some of whom can really play football. An article in point. . . At times it was tempting to ask a ridiculous question: are France slight favourites going into Sunday’s final with Lionel Messi’s Argentina, actually any good? Is someone going to work them out?


Disyóquey: Disc-jockey?

Did you know?

I saw the surname Fitzmaurice in an article on Ireland last night and I recalled something about Fitz being associated with royal bastards. I checked with Wiki and got this: Fitz was a patronymic indicator used in Anglo-Norman England to help distinguish individuals by identifying their immediate predecessors. Meaning “son of”, it would precede the father’s forename, or less commonly a title held by the father. It came ultimately from Latin ‘filius’. Its use during the period of English surname adoption led to its incorporation into patronymic surnames, and at later periods this form was adopted by English kings for the surnames given to some of their recognized illegitimate children, and by Irish families when anglicizing their Gaelic patronymic surnames.

Finally . . .

Knowing how clever/cunning/deceitful they are, I did my utmost to avoid getting entangled with Amazon Prime this morning, when ordering something, but still got an email confirming I’d subscribed to a month’s trial. This despite requesting, I thought, ordinary delivery next week. I’m left wondering what I should have clicked or not clicked . . . I will, of course, cancel it after the product has arrived. Which will doubtless cost me something.

For new readers:-

1. 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.

2. Should you want to, the easiest way to to get my post routinely is to sign up for email subscription. As opposed to using a Bookmark or entering the URL in your browser.


How many false self-employed are there in Spain?

The activities where they are most abundant: health clinics, offices, transportation and construction. The Union of Professionals and Self-Employed Workers (UPTA) estimates that more than 300,000 people work under a false self-employment regime in Spain. The Social Security data reflects an increase in registrations under the Special Regime for Self-Employed Workers (RETA) during 2022 and UPTA attributes this to a greater volume of hiring of supposedly self-employed workers who work in employable conditions.

What are the activities where they most abound?

Most cases are usually detected in health clinics and offices, but also in transport and construction. UPTA blames professional associations for “knowing and consenting” to these illegal practices and recalls that there are sufficient mechanisms to easily unmask them.

Toughening the sanctions

“We clearly support the Government’s intention to toughen the sanctions on employers who carry out this type of fraudulent contracting,” said the president of UPTA, also calling for more exhaustive regulation for the figure of the economically dependent self-employed worker (TRADE). UPTA has already proposed a procedure to automatically identify companies that have the services of self-employed professionals in working conditions, differentiating these cases from TRADE workers.

How to spot a fake freelancer

There are several signs that the Inspectorate takes into account when assessing whether a professional is working under conditions of false self-employment. One of them is the fixed salary, that is, that a company pays a periodic amount to the professional, regardless of the assignments and the activity carried out in the month.

Another indication has to do with the use of facilities or material resources of the company, in addition to the participation of the professional in training courses of the same.

A false self-employed person is also considered to be someone who depends exclusively on a single client and agrees with it their work or vacation schedule. The judges may choose to recognize in such a case the work of a professional.