Why Do So Many Still Put Spain Down?

Published on 20/10/2009 in Your Spanish Home

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.

Black clouds over SpainI 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…

Spanish property market reportThree 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.

Banana Beach MarbellaThis 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!

Written by: Justin Aldridge (EOS)

About the author:

Justin has been running Eye on Spain for over 5 years and recently with his partner Susan launched their popular moving to Spain video guide, Spain Uncut.

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Pedro ibarra said:
09 December 2009 @ 08:19

wow you no what
soy espanol the best place to live here this old country
i live and usa I have many people from london
here my workers the people so nice
both i have beutiful bussines whit then
so what ist the problem
i from islas canarias

patrick malmsteen said:
15 November 2009 @ 16:00

I too am fed up with these tv programmes continually knocking Spain. We have a home there and have some great Spanish friends.
It's about time the TV companies do a programme on SUCCESSFUL and HAPPY Brits living in Spain.

Ken Ackers said:
10 November 2009 @ 21:06

I feel sorry for anyobody caught up in the corruption scandals.
I put a deposit down on the Villenueva del Rosario golf complex. in 2004( Palmera properties and Grupo Mirador )

That has disappeared, fortunately it was not my life savings, like some poor people. The director of palmera properties Gotardo Rodrigues actually phoned me and stated quite aggresively that my deposit had gone and forget it, the only offer was a house with the outstanding mortgage ie the deposit had been paid.

I will not take him up on his offer as I only want my deposit back, Due to the fact I have bought another property ( a fully legal one on the Valle del este golf resort ) in 2005.

I admire the new people in charge determined to end the corruption but it is diabolical that honest peope are going to see their houses destroyed.

I tried not to let the experience get me down, put it behind me and now look forward to our bolt hole, I try to get to Spain as often as possible, because when I sit on the patio with my sundowner letting the setting sun bathe me and the rioja mellow me, overlooking the pool, the fairway and the mountains beyond, I think life is good.

Could I live permanently in spain? I don't know is the answer.

grahunt said:
21 October 2009 @ 23:33

I have read your report Justin and it is truly eye opening and that for an estate agent here in Spain. I would recommend it to anyone as the research is impeccably done.
I am snowed under with visits and things at the moment and many of them are Spanish buyers. If the banks would play along a bit things would start moving even more.
Example: I have clients here on Thursday, Friday x2, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday next week. Am I busy you bet. If you have properties at the right prices then you are busy and working.

tolbert said:
21 October 2009 @ 09:44

People put Spain down probably because like us they've invested in an off plan development, supposedly with bank guarantees etc in place, only to be told the developer has gone bust, there is no bank guarantee, and we can't get our deposit back. Diabolical, underhand,shady bastards

minty said:
20 October 2009 @ 19:27

Well done some sense at last

Pitby said:
20 October 2009 @ 19:06

Excellent article, Justin.

neels said:
20 October 2009 @ 18:23

Very well said Justin! Well Done! I love the costa and no matter what, one day I will realise my dream to build my family home in Marbella and semi retire there.
I really do not care what the press in the UK say. I think it is up to an individual to decide as to where they want to live and then enjoy the very best that place has to offer.

John Wolfendale said:
20 October 2009 @ 18:21

Hi Justin,

Great article and I agree with your sentiments.

Look you don’t sell newspapers by giving a balanced view. Its as simple as that

Editors will attest to this if they are being frank with you. I count amongst my personal friends the editor of the ITN lunchtime news and the foreign news-desk editor of Channel 4 news (a married couple) and talking to them round the dinner table is truly frightening. What is and isn’t news is decided on a whim and has a lot to do with the personal agenda of the editor. They see their role as being to provoke and entertain. They do not see their role as to inform or keep a balance. They do not see it as their responsibility if people believe what they say because "its on the telly". They believe that people are intelligent and mature enough to make up their own mind and that other editors will inevitably take a counter view in order to provoke and entertain. As I write this I don’t have my own thoughts clear on this topic so I offer this up for debate.
I do think it is up to us to balance the view. And really it’s pretty obvious why people love Spain and why the majority of people would love to be able to live or retire here. It really is the California of Europe. Sunshine, culture, history, great food, fabulous night life, stunning beaches, beautiful country side, excellent roads and communications, happy zippy people who just want to have fun. There isn’t anywhere that comes close. Happily I believe people know this even if editors of newspapers and TV programmes don’t care to remind them.
Personally I consider myself a guest here. Spain has given me everything: a beautiful family, a business opportunity I am truly proud of and the opportunity to make the most of myself and I am truly grateful.

chelseaphil said:
20 October 2009 @ 17:44

An excellent article Jason. As someone that helps run the Arboleas forum in Almeria we all too often get people that have lived here run the place down. Like you it gets frustrating that positive comments are seen as being false claims about the country.

Well done for the article much of it reflects my viewpoint.

mike_walsh said:
20 October 2009 @ 17:41

I have been banging on about media mischief making for years: As Nietsche surmised: 'England the land of consumate cant.' He had that awful country summed up perfectly.
Liverpool, compared to Manchester, Birmingham, and London, is a small city. In one week alone during which the Daily Mail was criticising the Spanish land grab it was happening big style in Liverpool.
Three large areas were being Compulsory Purchased and public protests were to no avail. An entire community, 'Welsh Strets' was being flattened. So were the most beautiful homes on Edge Lane, to make way for a motorway. Also the communities around Liverpool FC football ground. Kettle - saucepan comes to mind.
About the same time an industrial park was sold for £8 million by councillors. It was sold months later by the private buyer, for £12 million. The councillors said it was done on the back of an envelope. A brown one I bet.

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