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

08/07/24. 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 have elections in the UK, where no one will talk about Brexit. In France, there’s elections as well – with a chance of the far-right getting in (dare we ask: ‘Frexit’?). In the USA, following that dreadful televised debate between Mr Biden and Mr Trump (talk about Jekyll and Hyde) the chances for us all surviving to 2030 appear to be receding by the hour – unless someone pulls the plug on Brandon (Biden’s nickname) and they can find someone a fraction younger for November 5th. You saw – by the way – that the Supreme Court, packed with Trump appointees, just gave the Orange One presidential immunity?
Over here, we are about through with elections for the time being – the Europeans are over, the Basques and – hopefully – Catalonians are sorted (although they may have to try again in October) and the deadlock with the CGPJ (the judges’ citadel) is finally resolved, five years past its ‘best before’ date.
So let us tiptoe down to Castilla y León, a quiet and un-touristy bit of Spain run by the PP and Vox doing what they do best.
There are nine provinces in this unwieldy autonomous region (the largest in Spain): Ávila, Burgos, León, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid and Zamora. Before it was gathered into one administrative chunk in 1983, it was understood that León, Salamanca and Zamora were in one region and the other six were in the other (a bit like the Kingdom of Granada being the eastern half of Andalucía: Jaén, Granada, Málaga and Almería). Then (since we are on the subject), there’s the Basque Country with three provinces, which claims Navarre and its capital Pamplona as its fourth province… plus three more currently located in France: the Greater Euskal Herria (they’ll keep the capital in Pamplona while they are about it). And for variety, don’t forget Catalonia…
Back in the early eighties, León was also looking to be a uni-provincial autonomy (like Madrid), as indeed – apparently – was Segovia (and don’t even ask about the provincial city of Cartagena which has spent the last 150 years trying to remove itself from Murcia – another uni-provincial autonomy). León likes to think that it has three provinces (counties maybe) which are Ponferrada, Astorga y León, while ‘Greater León’ might be as many as seven provinces (the other four being Zamora, Toro, Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo).
As for its larger and not entirely welcome senior partner, Wiki says that ‘Castilla is a historic region of Spain with imprecise borders located in the middle of the country’ (mind you, there’s also a Castilla-La Mancha down the road with Toledo and other fine cities and provinces). And anyway, don’t we all speak castellano?
Still, easier to lump all the 14 provinces into two regions: Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha, and how many autonomous regions do we need anyway (there are currently 17 plus Ceuta and Melilla)?
Heading north again, we discover that CyL doesn’t have a recognised capital, but its government offices are in Valladolid.
And so to the issue of the day.
The leoneses want ‘out’. Not just out of Castilla, but preferably out of León as well. That’s right, ‘Lexit’ is a thing. Their plan is two separate entities: León being one, and Castilla y the Other Bits of León We Didn’t Want or Like being the other. Do you think it could fly?
By the way, it’s Llión in Leonés (Leonian as it were).
We wonder why – well, it all goes back to a king in 910 who moved the Asturian court to León (giving the good people of that city presumptive airs). And yes, La Constitución Española allows for changes in the regions (although, they might not have foreseen this particular proposal). A plenary vote in the provincial diputación last week favoured the idea of a three-province Léon, with the PSOE and local party in favour and the PP and Vox voting against (while – for what it’s worth – the other two provinces, Zamora and Salamanca, remain unimpressed by the idea). The mayor of the City of León mostly agrees, but thinks the single province of León should join up with Asturias (yet another uni-provincial autonomy).
The government says it would accept an eighteenth region of Spain (if it comes to this), made up of León, Zamora and Salamanca, but notes that there are not enough votes (they would need a two-thirds majority) neither in the three León provinces nor in Valladolid.
Scotland take note!


From Sur in English here: ‘Spanish government clamps down on unlicensed tourist rental adverts on booking platforms such as Airbnb. The department of consumer affairs in Spain is calling on local councils to help identify unlicensed properties more swiftly and then hit owners with fines of up to 100,000 euros’. Anything up to 90% of these apartments are illegal says the Government. Málaga Hoy says: ‘The Junta de Andalucía deregisters 435 tourist apartments in Málaga for failing to comply with regulations. In Andalucía, the licenses of 2,445 tourist apartments have been revoked so far’.

elDiario.es reports that ‘The Ministry of Housing is to limit seasonal rentals and allow  communities of owners to prohibit tourist apartments. The ministry will modify las Leyes de Arrendamientos Urbanos y la de Propiedad Horizontal – the Urban Leases Law and the Horizontal Property Law – to limit the use of this type of leases that are powering price-increases in rentals. The news-site also notes that some three million families in Spain have an income of one sort or another from renting property.

‘Chalets on rustic land for millionaires are devouring Mallorca’, says elDiario.es here. ‘A study by the environmental group Terraferida reveals that, between 2015 and 2023, a whopping 2,943 buildings have been built or approved, which represents an increase of 263% compared to the previous study from the platform. In Idealista, plots can be sold for more than 2 million euros’.


‘Spain received 11.5% more foreign tourists in May than last year with nearly 9.3 million visitors, spending almost 20% more. 33 million foreign visitors in the first five months says 20Minutos here. Catalan News says that Catalonia welcomed over two million foreign tourists in May’.  At least, the shops, hotels, bars and apartments welcomed them. Probably not so much the people who live there.

‘35 million visitors will visit Andalucía this summer despite the tourist-fatigue among the native population’ says Andalucía Informa here.

From La Voz de Galicia here: ‘Bustle, shouts and flags: July starts again with the uncontrolled entry of pilgrims into Santiago’. With video. Compostela Resiste is on Instagram here. As we have often seen in Colin’s Thoughts from Pontevedra blog (here), the one or two Caminos de Santiago have now expanded to better than forty of them, with everyone jostling for a piece of the action.

The Olive Press takes the luxury Al-Andalus train across southern Spain here: ‘Sipping on a flinty glass of ice cold Albariño as the last few rays of sunshine drench endless sunflower fields somewhere near Jerez, I wonder how life could get any better. If there is a secret recipe to happiness, the organisers of the Al-Andalus luxury train must know it.  This is the most exclusive way to tick Andalucía’s renowned cities off your bucket list…’

Headline from ABC here: ‘Turismofobia puts 19,000 million euros at risk on the Costa del Sol alone. “Tourism is our way of life. We don't have another industry," warn the owners of the Málaga small businesses’.

Video from Deutsche Welle (in English) here: ‘Spain: Thousands of Málaga residents protest mass tourism. Similar demonstrations showing how tourism has driven regular people out of the property market have taken place in several Spanish cities.

The Majorca Daily Bulletin again: ‘Over two million tourists in the Balearics stayed in private homes and "unregulated accommodation" last year. Illegal holiday lets are currently under scrutiny for contributing to overcrowding’.

‘There’s one place in Spain that hasn’t turned against tourists’. An article in praise of Benidorm at The Spectator here.

From The Majorca Daily Bulletin here: ‘There is to be a reorganisation project at Palma Son Sant Joan Airport that will create the largest security control area at a European airport. There will be 44 scanners and new security filters will have the most modern technology, which will speed up the entire process’.


Support in Spain, a guide for British nationals over 50 (and other residents in Spain who may need extra help and advice)’ here.

From the Government’s Imserso page: ‘The submission period for the 2024-2025 season has now started and continues through Monday, July 22, 2024’.


‘Unemployment falls under 2.6 million in a June of record employment with almost 21.4 million affiliates. There are 71,095 new jobs and unemployment falls by almost 47,000 people’. El Economista has the details.

PR from Cinven here: ‘International private equity firm Cinven (wiki) announces that it has reached an agreement to acquire a majority stake in idealista, the leading online real estate classifieds platform in southern Europe, for an enterprise value of €2,900M’.

Each year, La Agencia Tributaria (Hacienda) publishes a list of the major tax-debtors in Spain. The headlines may mention a few names, but the full list runs to over 100 pages.


El Huff Post interviews Pablo Iglesias and his wife the MEP Irene Montoro over the remarkable absolution of the far-right activist Miguel Frontera, who spent seven months in the second half of 2020 outside their home making a fuss (including playing fascist hymns at full volume on his boom-box) and even climbing over the wall into the garden. And of course frightening their small children.
Iglesias: “The fact of knowing what a good part of the judiciary represents does not change a feeling of indignation at an injustice”.
Montero: “They want to punish those who go into politics to change things”.
Frontera (on Twitter): ‘Do you know who they have acquitted of all charges in the trial against the Bolivarian from Galapagar and the cashier minister? Me! A shame that they have not been sentenced to pay costs’.


El Independiente begins its explanation with: ‘If we look for León on a map of Spain, the first reference we will find will be the autonomous community of Castilla y León. This, the largest in the country, covers a territory larger than Portugal, and includes nine provinces. León is one of them, and occupies the northwest corner. The name of the autonomous community itself tells us that we are faced with an atypical case: thanks to the existence of the copulative “and”, it is easy to deduce that we are facing a double, or dual, autonomy, composed of two regions (at least theoretically)...’ León, it says, is the name of both a region and a province (and a city too). A map shows that at one time, back in 1072, about a third of Spain and Portugal was called the Kingdom of León. (I couldn’t resist keeping the ‘copulative’ in my translation).

Constitutionally-speaking, says LaSexta, they can create their own autonomous community.

El Mundo here: ‘León, we’re the poor relation’.


From La Razón here: ‘The planned tunnel that will link Spain and Morocco under the Strait of Gibraltar will cost 6,000 million euros. This infrastructure will facilitate the travel of 12.8 million travellers per year and will be ready in time for the 2030 World Cup’.


From elDiario.es here: ‘Spain formally joins the judicial process opened against Israel for genocide in Gaza. Spain has presented a declaration of intervention in the procedure of the International Court of Justice, according to Article 63 of the Statute of the court, that is, it will not participate as a plaintiff’. From AA (The Turkish News Agency) here: ‘Spain intervenes in the International Court of Justice case on genocide prevention in Gaza. The country pledges to uphold international law and to contribute to peace efforts in the Middle East by intervening in the case against Israel’.

The French political system might appear a little strange, with its two rounds of voting and a president chosen every five years, but they also have eleven MPs (called députés) who represent the French citizens abroad (not like the British system where we can now -with difficulty- vote for an MP from our last roost in the UK, who would do absolutely nothing for his expatriate supporters). Since 2021, Stéphane Vojetta has represented French nationals living in Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Monaco. Video of him speaking here.


From ECD here: ‘The EU suspends the sale of 35 generic medicines in Spain due to lower effectiveness. Among them, anti-diabetics, pain relievers and cancer treatments. Brussels has detected that the bioequivalence tests of hundreds of drugs marketed in Europe are “insufficient”’.


It long been accepted that the Big Pharma pays commissions to doctors who recommend their products. Now, one cardiologist has been found to have been rewarded with half a million euros in the past five years from the pill-makers. From El Confidencial here: ‘Five years in the bank account of Dr X, an elite medic in the public health system. An oversight exposed the accounts of this senior official at a public hospital: more than €100,000 a year in payments from the pharmaceutical industry. Spain is one of the countries where they pay out the most money’.

The conservative judiciary may have lost a battle over the CGPJ being reformed (overdue by five and a half years), but otherwise, it appears to be business as usual.

From CadenaSer here: ‘A judge acquits Miguel Frontera of harassing Pablo Iglesias and Irene Montero in their Galapagar chalet for months. The former vice president of the Government himself has confirmed it through his social networks’. For seven months, Frontera harassed and threatened the family from outside the gate. The prosecution had asked for three years jail.

From El País here: ‘Junts per Catalunya, on the Supreme Court's refusal to observe the amnesty for Carles Puigdemont and two colleagues: “It is a political decision that violates the norms of democracy”. Puigdemont is currently being accused of ‘High Treason’ and embezzlement (while he is free to wander around the rest of Europe). In his defence, he dismisses the Spanish justice system as ‘La Toga Nostra’ (here). From an elDiario.es opinion piece: ‘A political decision of the Supreme Court against the amnesty. The Supreme Court order is political. To defend its concept of the unity of Spain. And to denigrate a Parliament that the people have chosen to be controlled by progressives and nationalists. The judges have decided to make it clear that the only ones who truly rule are them’.

A video about the pufo that was Tierra Mítica. From Menéame here:  ‘August 9, 1992, Spain held the Olympic Games in Barcelona, ​​but a few days before a fire in Benidorm had destroyed the largest pine forest in the Mediterranean. Despite the efforts of fire-fighters, three fires devastated 400 hectares, which raised suspicions of intentionality, especially after the recent arrival of Eduardo Zaplana to the mayor's office. Later, Terra Mítica was built on that land, a controversial amusement park associated with excesses and corruption’.


‘The Spanish competition authority CNMC has fined collecting society SGAE €6.4 million for anti-competitive practices in its licensing deals with radio and TV stations. The issue lies in the SGAE’s use of flat-rate licensing fees for the use of its musical and audio-visual repertoire. The CNMC said in a press release last week (June 26) that the SGAE designed its rates in a way that forced most radio and television operators to accept an “averaged availability rate.”’. Music Business Worldwide has more.

The Constitutional Court has reduced some sentences for the EREs of Andalucía – where senior members of the PSOE (including two presidents, Chaves and Griñán) were jailed for embezzlement of public funds. The appeals continue says El Confidencial here.

The comedian Quiqué has been denounced by Abogados Cristianos (another ultra group) for calling on the Valle de los Caidos (Franco’s giant war memorial) ‘to be exploded’.

The amnesty brought by the Government for the events around October 1st 2016 in Catalonia have already seen one success – the 46 police who attacked the voters during the illegal referendum have now been pardoned says La Cadena Ser here (Cartoon here).


Institutional advertising is where public bodies support certain news-sites by placing generic advertising with them (you see these adverts in most newspapers every day – Eat Andalusian foods, Visit Cantabria, Don’t Drink and Drive). These adverts, in extremist hands, go to support extremist publications (Spain has a number of these). El Huff Post reports here that ‘President Sánchez proposes establishing a public funding limit for the media. The President of the Government will present his battery of measures for the regeneration of democratic quality in Congress on July 17’.

La Razón reports of a ‘New attack by the British press against Spain: "What there is is disgusting"’. There are ‘giant cockroaches’ says The Mirror and "Spain 'cuts off the water' for British tourists, leaving them in 'third world conditions'”, says the same tabloid.


‘How Spain's tourism industry is dealing with water-shortages. From drought alerts at the airport to innovative water-saving technologies in hotels, Barcelona's tourism industry is being reshaped in the midst of its worst drought in centuries’. Item from Deutsche Welle (in English) here.


Some lost and forgotten Spanish provinces from the past at Mapas Milhaud here.

From The Guardian, some hope for migrants. ‘With the Euro 2024 under way, much of the world will be turning its attention to football this summer. But while the focus might be on the big stadiums and national teams, the game continues to be played every day on street corners and in parks across the globe. In Spain, the southern gateway to Europe, football can play a transformative role in migrant communities, bringing hope and opportunity to many of the thousands who arrive each year from South America and Africa…’.

From Murcia Today here: ‘A British film company called Stage Fifty, in partnership with Universal Studios, is planning to construct the largest film and television production centre in Europe, right in the heart of Murcia’.

For some reason, the best way to stop children accessing porn on their cell-phones is to add a widget making all those who wish to visit those sites will need to register with an official body and prove they are over 18. A kind of list that many would rather not appear on – for one reason or another. From September, things will be different.

El Diario de Ibiza quotes The Daily Mail as saying that the prices in the Ibiza discos are crazy – a drink can cost up to 24€ in the best joints. Oh, Mama! ‘…Taking these prices into account, for an average salary, spending a week's vacation on the island, knowing both its daytime and night-time offerings, requires having a few thousand euros to spend’.

elDiario.es criticises the far-right for their racist opinions (and sometimes threats) against Black Spanish athletes.

Some fun at El Huff Post as we are introduced to ‘The five greatest traitors that changed the history of Spain’. Fascinating.

La Razón has taken to producing articles about ‘what they say’ in such a place. Here in my pueblo we say ‘¿étoque-é?’ as in ‘whassat then?’ Anyhoo, in the Canaries the (rude) word for a mainlander is ‘un godo’ – it comes from visigodo apparently. Do you want more of these?

See Spain:

From Eye on Spain here, ‘Seville by kayak, a new kind of city tourism’.

Since we got this far, we had better visit León. From Spain Info here. At Wiki here.


National Geographic say that ‘Peru's Quechua rappers have the world taking notice. In the Andean country, young Indigenous musicians use hip-hop as an expression of their language and culture’. An example taken from the article is the Peruvian Cay Sur here at YouTube with Próceres.