News, opinion, essays and links for residents and friends of Mojácar, Almería.
This site, started in September 2002, is called The Entertainer Online to continue The Entertainer name, the name of a weekly newspaper started by me in 1985 which ran without interruption throughout southern Spain until 1999 when a three year option to buy was taken by staffers. They never concluded the deal, or paid me, but changed the name when the option expired in April 2002 instead. Que vamos a hacer.
Overview of this site (Sections at bottom of page)
*Rambeau’s Diary – a blog *Freebie-Jeebies® – Some relaxed comment on the poor quality local free-press *Fallout – quotes from other sites *National News Certain pieces that catch my fancy *Local News Certain pieces that catch my fancy *Essays: Various imput *Links about Spain (see top of page) about 200 useful links, including my other blog Spanish Shilling *To e-mail me - write to email@example.com. I don't always answer or open attachments.
'unemployment' is a sticky subject in Spain, and there are two completely different agencies, with two utterly different conclusions (provided by teams of diligent public bean-counters) who supply the information. Furthermore, while the number of unemployed has come down, so, apparently, has the number of hours worked, thanks to part-employment and other clever tactics from the 'patronal'. So, yesterday's EPA (La Encuesta de Población Activa) figures show that Andalucía has an unemployment rate, as of Dec 31 2014, of 34.2%. Nationally, it's at a still scandalous 23.7%. Almería itself enjoys a level of unemployment of 35.7%! It was 36.2% at the end of 2013. Cádiz is still ahead in the Regional Stakes at a heady 42.3%! Málaga is the best Andalucian province at just 30.9%. Madre mía. So, Andalucía, with lots of people with lots of spare time, perhaps. In reality, many have left, with South Americans going home, Spaniards searching for work in Northern Europe and Britons being - for whichever reason - carved off the padrón. The President of Andalucía is Susana Díaz, a pleasant looking blond and career-politician from (inevitably) Seville. She was granted the job by her predecessor Juan Antonio Griñán without the formality of an election, but is nevertheless very popular with PSOE supporters and is tipped as the future leader of the Party as the current leader (and Mojácar home-owner) Pedro Sánchez falters in party support. Susana, now three months pregnant, is planning - apparently - on calling a snap election in Andalucía, possibly as early as March, to keep the PSOE-hold on the Region against the future threat of the newcomer party Podemos. The PSOE partner in the Junta de Andalucía is the IU, and relations are beginning to sour. So, the issues in our region: unemployment, a collapsing government, a pregnancy and the threat of Podemos. Plus, perhaps, the worry: Will Susana (she'll no doubt win these elections) then remove herself to Madrid to lead the PSOE nationwide...? and, then again, we wonder: who will she then appoint for the leadership of Andalucía?
An interesting, if somewhat tardy proclamation from the Mayoress of Mojácar appears in this week's Weenie on Page Seven: 'All non-Spanish nationals registered in this municipality are required to confirm their residence to remain enrolled on the Municipal Register'. The Notice continues with a review of the laws regarding foreign devils and then returns with this: 'These confirmations of continued residence are very important to all non-Spanish citizens of Mojácar, since if it is not done, the Mojácar Town Hall has the duty to remove them from the Municipal Padrón'. No mention of the parallel removal of your name from the voting register and, if you return to the fold, then - will your voting rights be immediately re-instated, or will you have to wait six months (as the law requires)? The municipal elections in Spain will be held in five months time, on May 24th. How many of us will, ahh, not be voting?
The AUAN Goes Political to Solve the Problems of 'Illegal Homes'
Monday 19 January 2015 - 20:13:10
There are not so many foreign politicians in our Town Halls that a new one doesn't raise an eyebrow - especially when it is the President of the AUAN, the association that fights to protect foreign-owned homes from summary demolition by the Junta de Andalucía. The news today is that Maura Hillen is to stand as an Independent 'Number Two' on the PSOE list of Mayor Rogelio Mena in Albox, a town with severe 'illegal homes' issues. These homes, as Mena will tell you, were given the green light by the previous town hall, run by the PP. Maura, who says that the AUAN remains as an association 'above politics', has joined the proposed PSOE list for Albox (local elections are on May 24th) since, in her opinion, the PSOE has made much more effort to resolve these problems than other groups. She may be right on this, as things in Spain always need political muscle to move forward.
There are a lot of new triangular traffic signs around in our area, apparently warning of deer crossing the road. They must have been put up at the insistence of the ecologists. But wait, there aren't any deer around this area, and if there were, the ecologists would be screeching about 'invasive species'. Perhaps they aren't for the deer, since we don't have any – or then again, perhaps we have! Has the Tourist Department brought them in to improve our rather uninhabited hills and plains, make them a bit more interesting for tourists? They are very barren after all, with just a few weeds and scorpions at the moment. Some photo opportunity could bring fresh visitors to the area and we could add stewed venison to our ajo colorao. But what about... maybe the Junta de Andalucía raised the signs, to justify not allowing the British to build their houses in the province (bringing in foreign exchange and creating jobs). After all, it's an important nature reserve, like the Kruger National Park. But you know, perhaps these traffic signs are a useful service to drivers, and they are not the silhouette of deer on the signs, but simply rather badly-drawn tourists. That might make sense. No, that can't be the answer, not now, when there aren't any tourists around either. So, back to where we started: if they were placed, at tax-payers expense, by the ecologists, maybe they should be culled (the deer, I mean, not the ecologists. Heh. Oh, wait a moment...). I was told that the signs about the deer, which are everywhere, aren't for the deer, since there aren't any, but for the wild boar. And, Best Beloved, they are much harder to draw.
Helen and Len Prior lost their home in Vera to politics seven years ago today. The PSOE Junta de Andalucía demolished their house (apparently to spite the Partido Andalucista-run town hall) on January 9th 2008 and have always refused any guilt or obligation over the infamous act. The foreign media still talk about this although the Spanish media never do. In consequence, Almería has lost billions of euros and many jobs (the unemployment in the Almanzora Valley, the spiritual home of 'illegal houses', is said to be at 70%. The province as a whole is at 36%). Like something from the Spirit of the London Blitz, the Priors have lived ever since in their garage, which escaped demolition. For seven long years.
'While the majority of the traditional media complain about the cost for their transition over to digital, some editors have already realized that there are tools whose efficiency is demonstrated within the reach of everyone. The news-letter arriving as an email to subscribers gets good traffic and, above all, creates a community of loyal readers. The editor of the news-letter chooses the news which will interest his readers, thus saving them valuable time'. Found at Media-Tics. Business over Tapas - the weekly news-letter for foreign home-owners in Spain.
According to La Voz de Almería and quoting numbers from Kelisto, the province of Almería gets about the worst wages (those with a job, of course), the highest unemployment and the highest municipal taxes in Spain. The average wage of those who work here is 21,290€ per annum (compare Madrid at 25,720€) making the province 49th in the statistics. Unemployment here is 'over thirty per cent', says La Voz primly (actually, it's at 37.5% as of September 2014) and the IBI for Almería City is the 4th highest in Spain. Mojácar's rate, by the way, makes it in the top one percent. The province also enjoys a place in the Top Ten for petrol prices... At least, the sunshine is free (it is, right?).
Canal Sur Buggers Up New Year's Celebrations (The Grapes of Wrath)
Friday 02 January 2015 - 13:05:14
Canal Sur is the hugely expensive and unwatchable TV for Andalucía. All part of the regional political despilfarro we enjoy here. Anyhoo, on New Year's Eve as we were all playing with our handful of grapes ready to down them during the ringing of the twelve campanadas on the cathedral bell - unfortunately filmed from Almería this year - the two shivering presenters introduced viewers to the 'last advertisement of 2014', which went on rather longer than hoped, returning us to the signal as the tenth bell was being struck, leaving Andaluces to gobble their twelve lucky grapes in just two seconds. Gulp. Since I don't like fresh fruit, my twelve grapes had been served in crushed and vinous form, so I think I just about made it... Apparently, the head of programming has quit over the debacle.
This year's prize - a cold Mahoo when I see him - goes to Paco Haro for his book about the early foreigners who stayed - mostly - in his Dad's hotel in Mojácar Pueblo back in the sixties and seventies. The small hostelry, the Hotel Indalo, only had about a dozen rooms, together with a large upstairs restaurant - the only game in town in those days - and the famous if rather ugly bar which was the nerve-centre of town. The whole thing was flattened in the early eighties to make way for a shopping gallery. Paco's fully illustrated book was released this summer and presented at the Centro de Artesanía by José María Martinez de Haro. The book is called 'Mojaqueros de Hecho'. Paco, felicitaciones por tu labor.
Working for the interests of the customer (ahem), the Nation's taxi-drivers like to bandy words about such as 'profesionales', 'intrusismo' and 'taxi pirata'. Phrases like 'competencia desleal'. They aren't so fond of such words as 'cheap', 'gremio' (guild) or 'proteccionísmo' however. The new rules to protect the industry include immobilizing any 'illegal taxi' that is denounced by the boyos, until a fine of around 2,760€ is paid (plus tip). They've already seen off the Uber people in Spain...