Three Spanish National Aritcles

New President

Mariano Rajoy, as was predicted, has become our new President thanks to his party’s crushing victory in the November 20th elections. And now that he is officially in office, he has finally revealed his plans to save Spain from the Euro’s vicious rules.

He plans to cut public spending up to 16.5 billion euros, place a freeze on civil service hiring, and ramp up the pressure on banks to come clean about their financial affairs. Spain must accept austerity, he added (without adding that austerity measures have already been in place for nearly two years).

He also wants to eliminate many companies and organizations associated with government. Rajoy is also impatient with the stalled talks between labour and management which former president Zapatero never managed to sort out; he wants a new agreement to overhaul existing labour practices such as hiring and firing and types of contracts. A Spanish tradition called the Puente, which means ‘bridge,’ involves the loss of two working days as, say, when a holiday falls on a Tuesday, employers also take the Monday off. Although this tradition is highly enjoyable for fiesta-loving Spaniards, at the same time it represents a massive loss of money. So now the puente is officially illegal.

Amidst all the talk of cuts cuts cuts, he did confirm his campaign promise to be fair to pensioners, and as such they will see their pensions rise with inflation. Concerning Zapatero’s raising the retirement age to 67, Rajoy has decided to leave that law in place for the time being, and added that early retirement will no longer be so easy as it has been.

Spain is in a new transition, similar to what the UK experienced when Cameron took over the reins from the exhausted Labour party. Of that election, one commentator quipped that it would be a good election to lose as sorting out the problems would be an almost Sisyphean struggle. The same could be said about the last Spanish election. Be that as it may, whatever one’s politics, we must root on this new government. Spain is in the poo, and it is high time we got our country back from the financial terrorists (pace Max Keiser).

Dire Straits

The desperate keep arriving. Tough economic times mixed with dubious politics force numerous of our African neighbours to risk arrest and death by crossing the waters from North Africa to southern Spain, usually in over-crowded, ill-equipped boats (or excuses for boats). These people pay outrageous prices in their bid for new lives in European countries, but alas, sometimes the cost is life itself.

Recently four sub-Saharan men were picked up by the Guardia Civil in a children’s inflatable boat not far off the Moroccan coast; they were taken to Algeciras where they were treated for hypothermia. Too often people die out on the waters, and sometimes there are instances of mothers giving birth or carrying new-borns. Spain of course is still in economic meltdown, so either these people didn’t get the memo, or else they know that life in a European country is still much better than in their country of origin.


Lorcan Earthquake Re-visited

You may remember the earthquake in Lorca back in May, which caused extensive damage to this small town in Murcia, as well as killing nine people. Well another quake of a much smaller magnitude, 2.9, caused buildings to shake and people to wonder if the May days were returning.

Fortunately it turned out to be nothing more than a scare, but after the May quake, local authorities still were on high alert and ready to act if necessary. The earthquake was also felt in Cartagena, Almeria and Alicante.

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