EARLIER this year I was lucky enough to spend a brief family holiday near Alicante in Spain. As I’ve mentioned a few times before I have a fairly bizarre hobby – obtaining English language papers abroad and reviewing them for Counter Culture. (I also wanted to cement my reputation of possibly being the world’s slowest reviewer – you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read when I was in Spain and when this review was published!) Therefore, I made a bee line to the local tourist information office where I picked up copies of Euro Weekly.
Euro Weekly dubs itself ‘Spain’s largest FREE local newspaper in English’. The copies I got hold of covered the Costa Blanca North and were issues 1612 (26 May – 1 June) and 1613 (2 – 6 June).
Both issues were written, printed and distributed before EU Referendum. Because of the number of expatriates living in Spain – the Costa Blanca itself has over 30,000 alone which represents the highest concentration of Britons in all of Spain – it’s not surprising that much attention was given to it.
The EU-related debate kicked off in issue 1612 with an interesting article by Matthew Elliott. Can’t buy me love: why Spain owes us ‘nada’ actually took Spain to task for not insisting that foreigners fully assimilate – and that included the British:
‘Frankly it’s embarrassing that many Spanish allow Brits and other foreigners to walk all over them, criticising their cultural traditions such as bullfighting, without offering a real fight.’
Of great interest was an earlier observation he made about the disconnect between the ‘powers that be’ in Britain and ordinary working folks. I think it actually goes to the heart of why so many white English working class voters supported Brexit. Elliott was bang on the money when he noted:
‘There has always been a tension between the high-brow elite who believe they know what’s best for the commoners, and the visceral urge most people have, to tell these patronisers where to stick it.’
Another article – A threat of a new right by John Smith – in this issue looked at the current migrant crisis and also noted the disconnect between the political classes and ordinary working folks:
‘Many countries within the EU are agreeable to taking in these migrants/refugees but their electorate is understandably not so happy and we have seen some of the problems that can arise when two completely alien cultures clash, with Germany perhaps being one of the best examples of how good intentions can have dreadful consequences.’
John Smith also had a EU-related article in issue 1613 of Euro Weekly. He was of the opinion that the EU could well be doomed if Britain left. He thought that Greece and Portugal would want to follow:
‘All in all, there are a number of very well-paid former national politicians and civil servants who are very worried about their financial future and their pensions, let alone their ability to form a United States of Europe.
Whatever happens, and assuming that there is no immediate break-up of the EU, then it seems clear that the time has come for the bureaucrats to back off and to give the member states more say in the future of their own countries or else there will be the chance of a never-ending feud between Brussels and individual member states, but a lot now depends on the integrity and honesty of politicians within the 28 member states.’
The same John Smith seems to have got himelf in hot water for some comments he’d made in a previous issue of Euro Weekly. I didn’t see the column in question but a couple of readers wrote in complaining about his ‘ill-informed’ article. One reader – Demon Lee B.Sc. MBA (Hon) PhD – seemed to advocate a form of free trade with the old British Commonwealth:
‘Due to our membership of the EU, the UK gave up many trade ties with former commonwealth countries and leaving the EU will permit the UK to rebuild these trade agreements and relationships.’
Interestingly this is appears to be similar to the position taken by the Global Markets Free Nations group: https://www.facebook.com/globalmarketsfreenations/?fref=ts Is this a case of great minds thinking alike?
As an aside – and whilst on the general theme of great minds – I recently came across this quote from Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked Online http://www.spiked-online.com/ I feel that O’Neill is a true non-conformist and free thinker. And he’s not afraid to rattle a few cages. Talking about the relationship betrween Africa, Asia, Europe and relating it to Brexit he doesn’t mince his words:
‘Just about had a gutful of Remain commentators saying the masses’ vote against the EU has sanctioned racism. These Remainers voted for an institution that discriminates against African and Asian migrant workers in favour of white European ones. They voted for an institution whose Fortress Europe policies have contributed to the deaths of thousands of Africans at sea. They voted for an institution whose agricultural policies have pummelled food industries in Africa (causing thousands of people in Swaziland to lose their jobs and Mozambique to lose £100m a year on its GDP, for just two examples). They voted for an institution whose restrictions on GM products have prevented African nations from creating a plentiful food supply: such “hypocrisy and arrogance comes with the luxury of a full stomach”, as one Kenyan scientist put it. And they voted for an institution that has *paid* African dictators to keep their horrible, pesky peoples from coming to Europe. Racist much?
Please, stop with the racism stuff. Your beloved EU is not some happy-clappy multicultural outfit. It is discriminatory, it fucks over Africa, and it forces non-white migrants into the most degrading, life-risking situations. You voted for that, and we voted against it, so come down off your high, white horse.’
That’s telling them alright!
Another reader – Ian Munro – who described himself as ‘a proud Briton who has served his country’ also took issue with John Smith’s EU article. Mr Munro worryingly suggested that if you ‘want to know how the UK is run, just look at any programme from the old Yes Minister series.
Having worked closely with the inner workings of Government, it is pretty much 100 per cent accurate, very alarming and so, so frightening. State the facts, not the fiction!’
The paper acted in a fair way by allowing John Smith to state his credentials and defend himself. In doing so he noted:
‘I try to be balanced in what I write although sometimes I may appear a little frivolous, but am in favour of remaining within the Union and do so fear that people will cast their votes without understanding the situation.’
Now that the UK has voted for Brexit I’d be interested to hear the views of expatriates in Spain. To be honest, I don’t think that they have much to worry about. The EU will probably do a lot of sabre rattling but at the end of the day I think that big business will dictate what counties like Spain do. Money is God to these people so the politicians will simply dance to the tune of capitalism.
And whilst I’m not an expert on the Spanish economy, I feel that it’s highly unlikely that Spain would refuse to trade with Britain or allow Britons to holiday or live in Spain. For instance, UK tourism to the Valencian Community (which includes Alicante and Benidorm) rose by 29.6 per-cent on last year. For a country that appears to rely heavily on tourism this represents some clout in terms of spending power! Indeed, the fact that a previous issue of Euro Weekly consisted of 232 pages – with many of them featuring adverts – is testament to British spending power in the Costa del Sol.
With the EU referendum out of the way both issues of the paper covered similar themes.
Issue 1612 led with Beware the beach vendors. I must admit that the more aggressive beach vendors – along with the usual ‘lucky, lucky’ men – do my napper in. Indeed, I often wonder if any have been physically assaulted by irate holidaymakers as they don’t seem to take no for an answer and keep pushing their luck.
The Euro Weekly article noted the threat posed by unofficial, unlicenced traders who ‘sell cocktails, sangria and mojitos or wedges of watermelon’ where the drinks were ‘probably made up on a side street and the fruit was cut up in the boot of a car.’ The threat to public health is obvious and the advice is to stick to local bars where items are prepared in hygenic conditions.
I absolutely love different cultures so I’m always on the look out for news of different events. An aricle abouit the Corpus Christie festival therefore caught my eye. In the Valencian Community it’s held 60 days after Easter and consists of various events – including the La Poala parade wehere members of the Corpus Christi Association walk through the streets while people throw buckets of water over them. This is something I’d like to see sometime in the future.
Another articles that caught my eye included the town of Javea introducing recycling on the school timetable – I’m ‘into’ environmental issues so I found this idea very interesting – and a feature which looked at news from the British, Dutch, German, Russian and Scandavian press.
As could be expected, both issues of Euro Weekly featured dozens of feature pages and advertising. Features including finance, business, legal, politics, TV, health and beauty, sports, shopping and puzzles. And the advertising pages covered everything from ‘Air Conditioning’ through to ‘XXX Relaxation’ (whatever that may mean!!) via ‘Locksmiths’, ‘Pool Services’ and ‘Wig Specialists’.
I always like to look at the property adverts and must admit I was tempted by some of the properties that were for sale – maybe my ‘lucky’ Lotto numbers will come up one day so I could afford to live in the lap of luxury!
Reviewed by John Field
READ this article in conjunction with:
Majorca Daily Bulletin https://countercultureuk.com/…/10/26/majorca-daily-bulletin/
Costa Blanca News https://countercultureuk.com/2015/01/24/costa-blanca-news/
Two Weeks In Spain! https://countercultureuk.com/2014/10/20/two-weeks-in-spain/
Round Town Times https://countercultureuk.com/2015/04/29/round-town-times/
There’s A Buzz Across The Costa Blanca! https://countercultureuk.com/…/theres-a-buzz-in-the-air-ac…/