Política, Brexit, turismo, actualidad, finanzas, Cataluña, ecologismo, medios o corrupción son algunos de los temas que trata este boletín informativo

12/07/21. Opinión. El periodista Lenox Napier repasa la actualidad española en su boletín semanal Business Over Tapas, al que puede suscribirse por 60 euros anuales. Puede obtener más información en su web (AQUÍ) o en su perfil (AQUÍ). EL OBSERVADOR / www.revistaelobservador.com ofrece este contenido tres días después de su lanzamiento...


We can now (in certain circumstances) take off our face-masks outside, but I am not sure that all of us are going to take up that offer.

In my case, it’s good to be able to breathe properly once again after eighteen months behind the gauze, and the mask is without doubt an uncomfortable garment to wear (women say that now we men finally begin to understand the discomfort that the ladies must undergo from a brassiere). It also fogs up my glasses when I’m trying to read the tiny words on the screen of my mobile phone. The mask tickles, too.
However, there are some good reasons to continue to wear one while outside the house.
The obvious one is that the Covid is still around. Youngsters seem to be catching it more than the elderly – probably because they ‘party’ harder, and also because we’ve had our shots. Nevertheless, there are new variants and, perhaps in our ignorance / perhaps in our wisdom, we don’t want to mess with them.
Enough people have gotten sick from this dreadful virus.
Enough people have died.
I find a few other good reasons to wear a face-mask:
I can privately smile or even laugh at some of the outfits worn by people that I cross paths with: the ill-chosen tee-shirt message, peculiar haircut or the tattoo.
I can confuse those intrusive face-recognition cameras which were filling up the streets just before the pandemic started.
It keeps the hot Spanish sol from burning my sensitive nose, a regular victim of sun-burn.
It has been easier for me than for many others – I live in the country on a horse-farm, so when other people weren’t about, or during the worst of the quarantine, I could spend time outside, and better still, without a mask. It must have been terrible for those who live in tiny apartments, locked away from the outside. No wonder they’ve had enough.
We must remember that wearing the face-mask isn’t really to protect ourselves from infection, as much as protecting others from catching something that we might be carrying – so it’s simply a question of good manners and responsible citizenship.
All this, plus I had bought 144 face-masks at a great price in the local market only last week and it seems a shame to waste ’em…


From Spanish News Today here – ‘Registrars confirm return to pre-pandemic levels of activity in the Spanish property market’.

Tenant eviction in Spain, by A Lawyer here.

From El País in English here: ‘Why young Spaniards are taking longer than other Europeans to leave home. Some 64% of people between the ages of 25 and 29 still live with their parents in Spain, double the figure for France and Germany, while those who have moved out are spending a large chunk of their salary on rent’.

From Texas News Today, we read ‘Spanish teenager spends six years digging a hole in the garden and turning it into a house’. Somewhere in Alicante apparently. At least his parents are relieved…

‘Why the luxury homes market is booming on the Costa del Sol’ – A commercial article found at Spanish Property Insight and written by The Property Agent here.

Much is written about okupas, squatters. From Spanish Property Insight here, we read ‘Squatter problem much bigger in Catalonia than in other Spanish regions, latest figures confirm’. Squatters are a serious problem (there are any number of bank-owned properties lying empty) and the alarm industry, such as Securitas Direct or Prosegur, is keen to attract customers, often through tied newspaper articles. This site says there are 100,000 homes in Spain currently ‘okkupied’ and provides some protective suggestions. One solution is a step outside the law with Desocupa, an agency of toughs who persuade squatters to leave using threats and force.

From elDiario.es here: ‘The false alarm over squatting: the law already guarantees express eviction following a "break-in" at one’s habitual residence or second home. Jurists criticize the unjustified scare-mongering and say that the phenomenon occurs mainly in empty properties owned by banks and investment landlords’.


The following may/will be subject to change, but as of this past weekend, Those Britons with vaccinations from the Indian-made AstroZeneka (called ‘Covishield’) are not allowed into the EU, as this version of the vaccine has not been passed by the EU health authorities.

The Guardian says: ‘From the UK side, most of Spain remains off limits to British visitors, with only the Balearic islands on the UK government’s “green watchlist”, which means Britons can travel there but the islands may be moved at some point on to the amber list with the rest of the country. The UK government says Britons should not go to amber-list countries. If you do go, you have to take a test before leaving, quarantine at home when you return to the UK, and then take two more tests.
Under Spanish rules, British travellers to mainland Spain and its islands are allowed to enter the country only if they can prove they have been fully vaccinated against the virus at least 14 days prior to arrival, or can show a negative PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR test.
Until this week, the Spanish government had planned to allow British tourists into the country without a PCR test, but concerns over what the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, termed “the negative evolution” of the Delta variant of the virus have prompted a rethink.
Masks need no longer be worn in outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained, but they remain compulsory in enclosed spaces…’.


‘Brussels raises its growth forecast for Spain in 2021 to 6.2%. The European Commission improves its forecast for the recovery of Spanish GDP by three tenths’. El Huff Post here.

It seems odd that those foreigners who move to Spain don’t tie up their finances beforehand. Thus, some of us employ independent financial advisers based locally, who may not always be entirely honourable (or even honest). As one IFA, writing in The Olive Press points out, it is common for financial advisers to sell schemes that are more notable for their high commissions than they are for their returns for the customer.

From El País in English here: ‘Spain sees record fall in unemployment in June as fallout of pandemic eases. The lifting of coronavirus restrictions and the progress of the Covid-19 vaccination drive saw jobless numbers fall by nearly 167,000 last month, while 233,000 new jobs were created’. The Corner says that ‘The data published last week by the Social Security records an average of 19,500,277 people affiliated during the month of June in Spain, which is the highest figure in the entire historical series…’.

The average commission taken by the bank on a plain savings account these days is 140€ per year. Nius Diario looks at the ones who charge the most and those who take the least.

‘They said that it wasn’t going to cost even one euro to rescue the banks. In the end, it cost €58,000 million’ says Magnet here.


A Madrid Court supports the recent Vox electoral poster against immigrant minors: "They are an obvious social problem", it claims. El Mundo has the story here (an alarming poster used during the recent regional elections shows an old granny and a young immigrant. One apparently lives on 426€ a month, while the other is said to get 4,700€).

From The Corner here: ‘Sánchez tries to see President Biden on his first official trip to the USA. The Spanish lobby in Washington still hopes the President of the United States will finally meet Pedro Sánchez. But for now, Joe Biden has no plans to meet the head of the Spanish Government at the White House on his first official trip to the United States, from the 20th to the 24th of this month…’.

El País in English reports that ‘Spain approves sweeping sexual violence protection bill: ‘We don’t want any woman to feel alone’. The future ‘Only Yes Means Yes’ law will consider sex acts without explicit consent as rape, and provide financial assistance to victims of abuse’. El Comercio notes another part of the proposed Ley Orgánica de Garantía Integral de la Libertad Sexual – which is that puticlubs will be closed down and their owners jailed for anything up to three years. The bill should become law by this time next year following its passage through the Senate. According to a 2018 story in El Español, there are an estimated 45,000 prostitutes in Spain and at least 1,100 bordellos.

The IU leader Alberto Garzón has angered the meat industry by calling on Spaniards to eat less meat and more vegetables – to help protect the planet. El Mundo has the story here.

The incoming leader of the PSOE for Andalucía, Juan Espadas, has offered the outgoing Susana Díaz a place in the national Senate. Susana has accepted says El País here. This elegant solution beings the two ‘sides’ in the PSOE-A closer together…

The mayor of Granada (Ciudadanos) resigned last week and the ayuntamiento has now sworn in Francisco Cuenca (PSOE), with the support of two soon-to-be-axed C’s councillors. El Huff Post reports here.


From El Plural here: ‘Years promoting hatred: a list of the most homophobic statements that Vox has made so far’.

Vox points out in a Tweet to their 400,000 followers here something to do with El Jueves, the satirical magazine that often takes a poke at the party: "His name is Ricardo Rodrigo Amar and he is president of RBA, the group that publishes El Jueves. His magazine spreads hatred against millions of Spaniards every day. It is likely that many of them will wish to demand responsibilities when they see him leave his office on the Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona". Immediately, another satirical site, El Mundo Today, tweeted what they thought of this dreadful behaviour. The subject is discussed by The Guardian here saying, ‘…The former Spanish health minister Salvador Illa offered his “most forceful condemnation” of Vox’s actions, while his fellow Socialist MP José Zaragoza tweeted: “They hate humour. They hate intelligence, they hate, they hate, they hate...’.  A number of examples of the scandalous El Jueves anti-Vox gags are here.

Things could be worse (maybe). Here’s the latest news from a fringe party to the right of Vox: ‘The leader of the Alianza Nacional is arrested for praising Nazism and insulting the Army’. VozPópuli has the story here.


From ECD here: ‘President Sánchez says that the pardons are already beginning to have their effects and warns: independence is from the last century’.

Western Sahara:

The ABC says that the policy of Joe Biden is to ‘maintain the recognition of Western Sahara as the sovereignty of Morocco. A decision made by the previous president, Donald Trump, which his successor does not seem willing to change’.


‘Santiago Abascal signs a declaration on the Future of Europe with Orban, Marine Le Pen, Georgia Meloni and Salvini. The document is committed to joint action to stop "the federalist drift of the European Union"’. El Mundo has the story here.

The Coronavirus:

From 20 Minutos here: ‘The fifth wave is being noted in the health centres and health workers are already asking for restrictions: "The wrong message has been given", they say.

From La Vanguardia here: ‘Spain is once again at very high risk of Covid. With uncontrolled cases in some communities - Catalonia has registered more than 7,000 positives this Wednesday -, the accumulated incidence at 14 days across Spain currently exceeds 252 positives for coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants…’.

The autonomies are prudently recommending that we continue to wear face-masks when outside our homes says ECD here.

Cases are rising disturbingly fast particularly amongst the young, says elDiario.es here (with map).

Catalonia Covid: From Catalan News here (Tuesday): ‘The Covid-19 outbreak risk is at its highest level ever. Over 100 points in this indicator is deemed to be high risk, and today the figure reached beyond 12 times this limit. Authorities ordered indoor areas of clubs to shut from this Friday for at least 15 days. Outdoor areas can still open’ (with video).

From Spanish Views from a Small Town here: ‘Not So Fast, You Can Take It With You. It had seemed we were going into the final stretch of the pandemic, with vaccination going up, and infection going down. So much for wishful thinking. Right now, though vaccination is now coming along smartly, at least in Galicia, contagion is also going up strongly…’.


RTVE showed a special on their Informe Semanal last Saturday on the Operación Kitchen. You can see it here.


Are the courts politically impartial? elDiario.es looks at two recent rulings here.


Pablo Iglesias reappeared in public presenting a summer course at the Madrid Complutense University called ‘Political advice to governments and public administrations’ (with thanks to Google Translate). This agreeably dull item receives an interesting headline from ECD in reference, perhaps, to the ex-Podemos leader’s recent haircut: ‘A disfigured Pablo Iglesias reappears in a Complutense course’. Quite!

Headline of the week. ‘Police bust gang in Spain that extorted sex website users and threatened them with pet crocodile if they refused to pay up’. Bliss!


Something for your mobile phone: ‘Identify flowers and trees with this open source mobile app. PlantNet combines open source technology with crowd-sourced knowledge to help you become an amateur botanist’.


A heat-wave is on the way says La Sexta here (temperatures up to 50ºC). elDiario.es says that the south of Spain can expect ‘episodes of extreme heat’ in the coming days.

‘Expats from countries with a patronymic or gendered surname system (such as Russia) can now register their children's names in Spain when they are born as they would be able to in their own nation, the national ombudsman has revealed…’. More at Think Spain here.

Hybrid and electric cars now have to make a certain noise while they are running, to alert pedestrians of their passage. Motorpasión has the news here, direct from Brussels.

From El País in English here: ‘Abandoned Dutch bikes get a second shot at life in Spain. Spanish cycling enthusiasts have launched Quierounabici.eu, an initiative that imports Amsterdam-style bicycles to their home country’.

The wild-west Americans use some interesting vocabulary pinched from the Spanish (or rather, from the Mexicans). We can think of odd words like the cowboy term for prison, hoosgow (juzgado) and canyon (cañon) and ‘go away’ (vamoose!).  El País (partial paywall) has some others  collected by the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute and their ‘Language Curiosities: How American English Has Been Shaped by Spanish’ with the introduction in both English and Spanish here. These include mustang (mesteño), alligator (el lagarto) and stampede (estampida).  Trusted Translations has more examples here.

Ignacio González, the predecessor of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, attempted to register on the Internet the name Podemos Madrid a few years back it has emerged. Anything to confound the rival parties, eh?

A cautionary tale from The Olive Press here: ‘Expat Dad discovers his vintage Petrus (wine worth €3,000) was used to make sangria by daughter’s friends at house-party in Spain’.

The smallest municipality in Spain is Emperador in Valencia. It’s just 0.03 hectares in size. 20 Minutos walks around the block here.

I write silly stories elsewhere at Eye on Spain. Here’s one from this week called ‘A Day in the Life of Lenox Lenoxovitch’.

See Spain:

El Español takes a look inside the Torre de Hercules lighthouse in La Coruña here (with video). A site in English tells us more: ‘The Tower of Hercules is the only Roman lighthouse which, since its origins up to the present, has been performing its original function: being an aid to navigation for ships crossing the Atlantic corridor…’.

Piccavey visits Campello (Alicante), an ideal holiday destination here.

Forbes brings us ‘Spain’s nine dreamiest hotels’ here.


Raffaella Carrà (Wiki) was an Italian singer, model and TV personality who lived and worked in Spain for many years. She died this week in Rome from cancer at the age of 78. Here on YouTube she performs her inimitable nana na nana song: Rum