"Pronto llegará la hora,
2015 is Going to be the Year to Live in Spain.
Oh yes, and why's that? Well, funny you should ask, because it's not because the housing boom is coming back. Hopefully not anyway. The unfettered expansion and unsustainable growth of the tarmac and concrete industries will hopefully never return. Yet 2015 is going to be a special year, but not because Spain has a new young king with a 300 Spartacus Beard, nor (speaking of beards) because the Partido Popular have declared Spain to be now "crises free", thanks to their transparent and honest example of good government.
- In Feb came the Greek elections that showed the world that not everyone subscribes to the politics of austerity. Feta sales soared as people across the globe expressed their solidarity with the posturing of the new govt.
- In March comes the early Andalusian elections that will be the first real challenge to the bipartisan approach to Government that has shackled Spain to its bureaucratic past this last 30 years.
- In May 2015 comes the local elections and although the newly emerging political force in Spain - Podemos - is not officially standing, local variations are springing up everywhere in preparation for the vote. And of course, in Madrid, where Podemos IS standing under a united ticket, EVERYTHING is up for grabs.
- Finally, sometime in late autumn, the general election will be called and although the last polls show a decline in support for Podemos and an increase in support for the Partido Popular, this merely reflects a temporary distraction from a government, that, history will show, to be the most corrupt organisation since the export of the Sicilian Pizza Chain.
NORTHERN PUNCTUALITY VERSUS THE SOUTHERN RHYTHM
There is a lot of theories doing the rounds right now, but one I like to focus on is that the further south you go, the less pedantic your thought processes becomes. What for the North is set in Stone, in the South is up for negotiation. Why? Well, read on....
When North Europeans arrive in the South they initially react very positively: What a great climate, Jose, they say. What magnificent fiestas, what healthy food, what a relaxed and laid back to attitude to life...
But then they hang around for a while and try to get something done in an officious and queueing sort of way and quickly realise that there is a big difference in pace of work here and attitudes to efficiency. As cultural understanding is not big on the North Europeans agenda, (unlike austerity, punctuality, scarfs, mittens and thigh length marching boots) Northerners quickly condemn the south as being unproductive and unable to adhere to the tight schedules, queuing lines and conditions of work lapped up by the orderly obsessed North.
Endless surveys show that in fact Spaniards work harder and longer hours than pretty much any other species in the known Milky Way, but they work according to their own rhythm and not that of North Europe. And when it comes to questions about efficiency there is no convincing a North European - it's a bit like questioning gravity or Copernicus. Such an alternative perspective would instantly constipate the Northern thinker and require them to take time off work, which would of course be unthinkable an unrhythmic.
Yet the Mediterranean rhythm enables Southerners to not only work according to a different timetable, but to reconsider priorities (not always successfully, but they do try bless them), and to rethink priorities and directions. This is because people here work to live, and not vice versa. What possible attraction is there to extra time at work, if it means time away from your family, your friends or a weekend trip to the grandfathers cortijo to collect some pimientos?
For the Northerner, this is tantamount to hari-kiri. A Work life has precedence over all else, as does punctuality, the wearing of nicely ironed suits and ties and the troika.
Fortunately all this may now change, if another country votes for an end to austerity this year. In fact, not just once, but next month, and then again in May, and in the autumn etc.
If this should happen, well we might just have to have a fiesta to celebrate. Maybe take time off work, invite the abuelos obviously and their pimientos and let things sink in for a bit, before re-structuring society from the bottom up.
Well, thats my take. Thats why I believe Spain is going to be the place to live in 2015 - the year the Tortilla turns.
And to celebrate the flipping of the Tortilla:
To celebrate this YEAR OF CHANGE and the turning of the tortilla, the Journey that sparked the tortilla-flip has been relaunched. And to accompany this launch, comes the long-awaited WAY OF THE HOUND that is being sent out to all subscribers this week. Not subscribed? You can do it here.