International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Spain and its Present
Its been a while since Ive written about my present
place of abode. If you use Hacks search engine
youll find many an essay written over the years by yours truly
about this country. From politics to anecdotes, from personal experiences
to simple short stories Ive probably touched every subject
under the sun regarding Spain. But we live in difficult times and
to try to write objectively and with a touch of old fashion optimism
is not easy.
In fact, this applies
to almost everything for a present day writer, amateur or professional.
To come up with anything new except for a state of the nation
report without sounding gloomy or boring is almost impossible. The world
is in a mess. We all know that. Just turn on the television, read the
news either in print or on the web or wander down to the local pub and
chat with your neighbour and its the same old story: The
Crisis. So, to wrap it up in a nutshell I confirm that Spain and
the Spaniards are in the same boat as the rest of the world, except
for one thing. As Spike Milligan would say, theyre walking
backwards to Christmas!
Heres a rough synopsis. Unemployment is record high, above all
other nations at over 20%, the national debt is soaring way above the
Maastricht treaty limits, the housing bubble not only burst but it shat
all over the place leaving literally millions of people, construction
companies and housing estates rotting in the wilderness with a surplus
of dwellings nobody wants or cant afford. But who cares! The Spanish
government is having a ball handing out money to everyone. From old
dears who cannot take care of themselves to town councils for the repair
the roads, from abortion clinics to assist young sixteen year olds whove
had too much of a good time over the weekend, to the usual unemployed
that have now reached the 4 million mark.
The banks on the other hand, although they are rolling in lolly and
still making a fortune continue to refuse issuing any credit. If
you want to start a little tiny business, go and ask the Government.
Were closed for the season, is the usual answer from the
countrys financial institutions.
Heres the hilarious side. Our president spends his time at party
political broadcasts with speeches that are no different to those of
Peter Sellers fifty years ago, keeps telling us that all is in hand
for a bright future and to keep taking the tablets that no one is going
to be left in the gutter. He has told the trade unions that they are
the best thing since sliced bread and that the champions of industry
are all a bunch of hoodlums for trying the change the labour laws.
Hes also a great friend of Obamas, so he says, Bush was
a bastard, and is pushing for his Alliance of Civilisations
program at the United Nations; loves his photo parade at the G20, especially
with Sarkozy and Merkel. He wants all Westerners and Muslims to live
side by side and live happily ever after. He has the support of Hugo
Chavez, Fidel Castro, Gaddafi and Morales of Bolivia. He looks the other
way when his Defence Minister announces troop increases in Afghanistan.
The largest opposition party is in a mess because of fraud scandals
and other dubious activities. It keeps accusing the government of spying
on them. This came about because the president of Valencia, an autonomous
region was accused of laundering money. He couldnt find the receipts
for some suits made by his private tailor! The judicial system is bogged
down and up to its eyeballs in outdated cases. The judges cannot find
the papers in time to put criminals behind bars so many have got off
scott free. One judge is actually chasing after the whereabouts of Francos
death certificate. Hes convinced the Spanish public that the previous
dictator who ruled Spain for 40 years never actually died!
I believe Spain is the only country that has a Ministry of Equality.
Every entity, organisation, shop and bar must have an equal number of
male and female employees! Men are scum because they continue to be
male chauvinist pigs. Another great comedy act is what I
call ministerial announcement confusion. The Minister of
Finance talks about roads, the Health Minister talks about taxes and
the Minister of Industry talks about swine flu to give some examples.
When the president comes back from his numerous trips he adds more confusion
by refuting what his ministers have stated previously.
But lets revert to the bright side.
Tourism has dropped by about 10% but that is good news because it means
less British hooligans. The hotels and restaurants are grumbling, but
no problem! They just get rid of their excess illegal immigrant waiters.
The shops are worried because sales are down but the government keeps
telling them the fantastic news that the cost of living has dropped
to zero and that consumers are living the best moment of their lives.
So shut up! The kids continue to enjoy the night life over the weekend,
boozing to their hearts content. The number of daily football matches
on the telly are soaring keeping masses happy in the evenings after
theyve picked up the dole money, and the old retired folk, who
incidentally are not yet affected by the so called crisis, sit around
in the parks playing cards and dominoes until its din-din time.
Spain enjoys a resurgence of undercover moonlighting employment. Plumbers,
electricians, accountants, vendors of smuggled goods, wheeler dealers
of all kinds are making mince meat of the situation. No social security
payments, no income tax, no bureaucratic paperwork, no receipts whilst
life goes on. But the government is not stupid. Theyve come up
with a scheme to combat this evil. Theyre going to raise taxes;
for the suckers who are still able to scratch for an honest living!
Ah! But heres the catch! Nobody really knows what taxes are going
to be raised or by how much. Thats the beauty of living here.
Life is always a guessing game and you dont really know what is
going to hit you next!
Crisis, what crisis?
© James G. Skinner. October 2009.
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