12 Changes in the Law You Need to Know About
1: If you photograph security personal and then share these images on social media: Up to 30.000 euros fine (particularly if photo exposes violence being used against a member of the public). It is possible that this fine may be increased depending on the number of Instagram followers you have.
2: Tweet or Retweet information or the "location of an organised protest" can now be interpreted as an act of terrorism as it incites others to "commit a crime" (now that "demonstrating" in many ways has become a crime). Sounds 1984-ish? Read Orwell and his time in Spain.
3: Snowden like Whistle-blowing is now defined as an act of terrorism. If you write for a local rag, careful what you print, who you speak to and whether the budgie is listening.
4: Visit or Consult terrorist web sites - even for investigative purposes - can be interpreted as an act of terrorism. Make sure you use “Tor" browser, reject cookies, don’t allow pop-ups, and don’t post it on your FB timeline! Hmmmm. Is Speaking of Spain a terrorist website?
5: Careful with the royal jokes! Any satirical comment against the royal family is a new crime “against the Crown”. For example, "What did Leticia and the Bishop have to say after they...(SORRY CENSORED)
6: No more hassling elected members of the govt. or local authorities - even if they do say one thing in order to be elected, and then go and do the exact opposite. Confronting them about this hypocritical behaviour - if you see them in the street chatting to that street cleaner , dining at their favourite expensive restaurant, or having their shoes shined by that physics graduate who can't find a decent job in the country - hassling them about their behaviour is now a criminal offence.
7: Has your local river been so polluted by that plastic factory along the edge that all life has been extinguished. Well, tough! Greenpeace like protests are now finable from 601 - 30.000 euros.
8: Protest in a spontaneous way outside Parliament - for example if Parliament passes a hugely unpopular bill, or are debating something extremely important to you or your community - is now finable from 601 - 30.000 euros. TIP: Use Google Maps to protest "just" round the corner - only don't tweet the location!
9: Obstruct an officer in the course of their business (evicting someone from their house for example), or "resisting arrest", refusing to leave a demonstration when told to do so or getting in the way of a swinging baton - are all now finable offences from 601 - 30.000 euros.
10. Showing lack of respect to officers of the law is an immediate fine of 100 - 600 euros (Answering back or asking a disrespectful question, making a funny face, showing your bottom to an officer of the law or telling him/her that their breath reminds you of your dog's under-parts is now, sadly, not advisable)
11. Occupying or squatting or refusing to leave an office, business, bank or other place until your complaint has been heard as a protest - 100 - 600 euros fine (No more flashmob demo’s).
12. Digital protests: Writing something that could technically “disturb the peace” is a now crime: Bloggers beware, for no-one had yet defined who's peace you could be disturbing.
Of course a lot of this is impossible to enforce (yet), but, nevertheless, should you be out and about and see a commotion in the street - a dog disrespectfully peeing up the tyre of a police patrol car, a lost tourist doing a quick selfie with a Civil Guard in the bar - think twice about snapping an image on your mobile phone and posting it to your FaceBook timeline. It could an expensive post.
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Over the last 20 years I have lived in at least 12 different houses or flats in 6 different provinces in Spain.
Some people ask what have I learnt from all that experience of moving around, and my reply is always: "not a lot". However, if you were to ask me surreptitiously about where best to live in Spain, I might be tempted to pass on the GazpachomOnk’s 5-Point Warning List for Buyers in Spain
Of course, not all Estate Agents are carnivorous, some I've met personally* and can vouch for their high standards and honesty. But I've also had dealings with a dozen others, none of which I would feel safe to leave my budgie with.
So here it is - the Property-Speak Nonsense that needs deciphering: Print it out and keep a copy tucked down your socks at all times. Ready? Steady? Go...... (read on)
You may be forgiven for thinking that the terms in the title of this short post are mutually exclusive. Particularly if you have been listening to any of the absurdities spouted by politicians these last few days.
In the aftermath of the 2015 local elections, it appears everything is up for grabs - including truth - and the sight of politicians salivating publicly in their lust for power, or resorting to defamation and libel as they see power slipping though their podgy fingers, is enough to make one despair and turn aside. But hold on, the story is not over yet...
A Clash of Values
The fanatic struggle for power in Madrid is bringing out the best and worst in people. With Espe Aguirre's ego dented and the threat of being ousted by a group of what she calls "bolsheviks micro-funded online and renting cheap offices in the capital", her once rock-steady boat in the centre of Spain has been dutifully upturned.
And its precisely the figure head of Manuela Carmona that appears to be doing the rocking, merely by offering herself up as a candidate free from corruption, as someone that cycles to work rather than rides in a limousine, someone free from any manipulation of the media, no history of dismantling public services and no history of speaking without thinking first.
But it's not just what Manuela has not done that is important, it's what she has done. Manuela Carmena - has always been a defender of workers rights. As an active lawyer she was arrested under Franco, fighting for the rights of the oppressed. She co-founded the lawyers office in Madrid that fought for workers rights - the very same office that went down in history as Black Monday
On the 27 jan. 1977, as the transition to "democracy" limped painfully forward, the office of Manuela Carmona at Calle Atocha 55 was invaded by right wing armed militants. They shot nine people. 6 died.
2015: May. Espe Aguirre - sinking in her own pile of excrement - accused Manuela of being part of a threat to "democracy" and offered to lead a coalition of all other parties to save Spain from the biggest threat to western democracy: Manuela Carmona and her political party - Ahora Madrid.
It is difficult not to conclude that Espe is - once more - playing the manipulative politician here, or - like Thatcher in her final days - she is mentally unstable. As someone who once worked in a psychiatric institution, my professional opinion is that were she to be brought to me for diagnosis, I would have her incarcerated immediately and placed in an isolation ward - for the safety of the general public.
Democracy in Spain
So what do we mean when we sling the word "democracy" around? Well, it would not be unreasonable to define it as a form of political representation that encourages participation from citizens, rather than passivity. That it means giving all people a voice rather than always speaking for them, and it means honesty, transparency and accountability. Perhaps most important of all, it means speaking from an informed point of view as opposed to making up facts on the spur of the moment to suit your own agenda.
When Aguirre was questioned where she got the idea that Ahora Madrid would be establishing "soviets in the barrios of Madrid", she had to admit she had never read their political program at all.
As an old an venerated politician once reminded us, the questions we should ask when talking about democracy are: "What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?"
I would add to this just one more: And have you been taught to read?
Take out 5. Stick the Kettle on. Dig out the bourbons. Stick Granddad on the allotment. Slide off those thigh length boots and put your tired footies up on the dog, for today, the GazpachomOnk not only talks about how the past is shaping us today, but, he's giving it away too. Yup, free today, a bite-sized chunk of yesterday - this 1930's Photobook on Spain that may just be as old as that cardigan your Granddad has on. READ MORE....
Look beyond the sandy beaches and you will find that Spain has another dimension. As the fourth largest economy in the EU it has a diversity and vision that goes beyond the costa mentality and the construction industry - though you'd be forgiven for thinking differently. Yet despite the end of the concrete era, the question of building is still very much alive away from the abandoned Urbs of the Mediterranean. In these other circles - amongst the La red de arquitecturas colectivas - talk is of sustainability and an alternative future that serves the needs and ideals of the present generation. One man playing a part in constructing this new future is Santaigo Cirugeda from the deliciously titled: Recetas Urbanas. READ MORE...
Don’t get me wrong. I love Semana Santa. Or did anyway. Especialy the first time I saw it, even the second and third times I thought it was pretty surreal. I've seen it in big cities like Seville and Malaga. I've seen it in small towns like Almunecar, and Loja. I loved the anonymity, the incense smell, the costumes and the sheer physical exertion from everyone from the nazarenos to the costeleros. In fact, I wrote a chapter on what I believe is really special about Semana Santa in Inside the tortilla. You can check out the photographic version in this weeks free ePub and PDF give-a-way: An Agnostic in Semana Santa and get a FREE CUT OUT DOLL'S at the same time too! See below for links.
But you see, after a few years things tend to change. Some people in town - that I had previously thought to be afficionados of all things religious - turned out to be Semana Santa haters and one evening, they sat me down and gave me 5 persuasive reasons for fleeing Spain during Semana Santa.
Why Orwell is essential to understanding Spain today. More here - Forgotten Stories From Spain
Find out More about the ebook and audio
Forgotten Stories From Spain Book HERE
And Watch The Tortilla Intro Video here...
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