As Ira Gershwin wrote in the verse of ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’ – Things have come to a pretty pass here in Spain.
The political situation is – well the best word might be ‘fluid’, and economically, the general populace is doing pretty badly – mainly due to short-sighted politicians who are more intent on fulfilling their own ideological ambitions, than helping their country.
For example, it is probably no longer viable to start a small business in Spain. I have seen small shops open, and within six months, they close. The same with other businesses. It’s certainly true that my own business here, which I started a little over two years ago is still limping along – and that might be stating the situation over-generously.
The biggest problem is the excessive Social Security payments demanded both for the self-employed and employed workers. A person starting a business is charged €319 monthly, as a self-employed worker, from day one. Add to that lawyer’s fees, rent, electricity, phone, internet connection, water (at commercial rates), and payments to the local, and regional authorities for permissions and permits, and you wonder why anyone even attempts to start a business.
I know that I ask myself that very same question when doing my monthly accounts and find I’ve made a profit of less than €100, and that’s working from 9:00 am to 10:30 pm (or later) every day except Sundays.
The politicians, who, of course, enjoy reasonable salaries and inflation proof pensions, don’t seem to understand what running a small business is all about. They can’t – they have probably never done it.
But that doesn’t stop them complaining about unemployment (20%+), especially among the youth (27%+ depending on region – here in Cadiz it’s nearer 60%)
How can a small business employ workers if it is not making money? Most hardly make enough money to survive.
Other things are equally disastrous: airports that are constructed, but never used; tram systems that disrupt traffic for years while being built, but are not put into service because they are not viable (leaving local governments to foot the bill for their upkeep); hospitals that are built, but not completely equipped and, or staffed … … the list goes on. And all these disasters have one thing in common – bureaucratic bungling.
And this bungling is reflected in the current political situation here. At present, no one political party is capable of forming a government, so what is happening? The parties, their leaders, and other members are behaving like spoilt brats – arguing, complaining, protesting and generally making a pig’s breakfast out of the whole mess, which is the situation in Spain.
Not one of them has anything equivalent to STATESMANSHIP in their make-up.
Most of them just want power: to keep on milking the cow that has, in the past, given them so much milk. That was, or course, until some of them were caught with their hands in the cream!
Nowadays, most people in Spain neither respect, nor believe in politicians.
And they are right not to do so.
So why don’t we call the whole thing off and start again from the beginning?
We might even get it right a second time around.