Having lived in Spain for over five years now I am one of the first to acknowledge what is wrong with the country and the difficulties people can experience living here or buying a property here.
I was asked the other day if I would ever consider returning to England to live. My response was that of course I would. It’s not that bad there. I was actually quite happy living and working there for many years and I don’t remember it as a horrible place to live. Nowhere is perfect and the UK has much going for it. However, for the time being I am quite settled in Spain and don’t have any real reason to leave yet. Who knows what the future may hold though.
The main difference that I can see between the Spanish and the British is that the British are very quick to complain about the UK, whilst the Spanish are very proud of their country and tend not to find so many faults. The main problems our Spanish friends seem to be frustrated about are more to do with the current unemployment situation than anything else. They are generally very contented and satisfied people.
There is a very good programme on the main Spanish TV channel TVE1, called “Españoles por el mundo”, where they visit Spaniards living in other parts of the world. If there is one thing that all these Spaniards living in other parts of the world have in common it is their love for their home country. They all dearly miss Spain and talk passionately about it. The food, their families, the lifestyle and so on. None of them ever say anything bad about Spain. In fact it’s the total opposite. They talk about their home as “mi tierra”, which means “my land” and speak as though they are marketing their town abroad.
As a total contrast to this, the British expats in Spain seem to absolutely detest their home country and would rather die than return there. This seems a bit extreme to me but that’s how so many feel. The majority of British expats really do love Spain very much although most struggle to master the language and can probably count the number of their Spanish friends on one finger. Each to his own I suppose and everyone has a reason behind their choices and decisions in life.
Therefore, the Spanish love their country and the expats here love it just as much if not more.
So why do so many people still knock Spain and persistently put it down?
It’s not just the UK press and TV channels that love to paint a very bleak picture of life in Spain and the property market here. It just seems that there are so many people that will no longer give Spain a chance.
Here are some examples of what I’m referring to…
Three weeks ago we released our shock report: “The Resurrection of the Spanish Property Market – Proof that it’s finally here”. If I may say so myself there is some excellent data and analysis in that report. I spent weeks putting it together and it shows a very interesting trend, a very positive trend, a trend that goes against what everyone else is talking about. I knew it would be controversial but the data in the report speaks for itself.
When I sent the original email out to our subscribers about this I wasn’t quite prepared for the bashing that I got.
Without having even read the report many people were calling me all sorts of names and saying that this was the most ridiculous report ever! Those people, who I’m sure will be reading this article, just could not entertain the fact that there is some positive news on the horizon. They have spent so long bashing Spain and putting it down that when someone publishes anything remotely positive they are branded a heretic.
And remember, these people hadn’t even read the report! And incidentally, the majority of these people that sent me those nasty emails….live in Spain. This stinks of hypocrisy to me.
Let’s take another example.
The recent “Spain: Paradise Lost” programme on ITV. My heart went out to the guy on this programme who was having to finish off the development where he had bought. For most of the others, many had taken a gamble, in terms of property investment or setting up a business, and the stories would be the same anywhere in the world.
In fact, I was so annoyed at the way this programme was edited that I wrote a whole report on this alone. You can read that free report here.
And here’s a much more recent example which is what truly drove me to write this article.
Last Sunday, 18 October 2009, the Guardian newspaper published an article titled “Condemned Spanish apartments advertised to UK buyers” written by Graham Norwood. You can read this article here.
This is the biggest load of rubbish I’ve read in ages. It seems that the UK press must be getting very desperate for something bad to write about Spain and especially the Costa del Sol.
This article talks about the infamous Banana Beach development in Marbella. It’s infamous because it is totally illegal and even in the new PGOU plan for Marbella, it needs to come down. There are people living there, Spanish as well as expats, but the development is earmarked for destruction as the original licence of first occupation was later revoked following the Marbella corruption scandals. I do feel very sorry for those caught up in this mess, and similar messes elsewhere and I hope there is some positive news for these owners very soon.
However, in the Guardian article, Graham Norwood refers to the fact that some websites are still advertising Banana Beach for sale and specifically mentions the agents, Interealty and a couple of related websites.
Firstly, Interealty has been out of business for years! They screwed over hundreds of people but have been out of the scene for a few years now.
One of the websites he mentions belonged to Interealty and has not been updated in about 5 years and the other has also not been updated for several years too.
These websites are NOT selling property at Banana Beach…they just haven’t been updated. It’s as simple as that….and I know because I know who runs them!
So all this scare-mongering by the newspapers goes on but maybe they need to check their facts a bit better. How can they publish such inaccurate articles? It beggars belief.
I’m sure the Spain bashing will continue. ITV achieved some astonishing viewing figures for its Spain programme and I’m sure the newspapers enjoy publishing the negative side to Spain but wouldn’t they be better off actually doing something to help those who have been caught up in the corruption scandals who stand to lose thousands?
Why doesn’t the UK press do something to try and get the EU to take a very serious stance over, for example, the fact that many Spanish banks are NOT honouring bank guarantees, for which the law in Spain should have protected these people?
Surely it’s time for a change in direction for those who think just bringing Spain down is actually going to achieve something? Over to you….you know who you are! Do something positive, don’t just send me nasty emails!