Nanny Spain

I’m a non-smoker who doesn’t drink, (add to that the fact that it’s waaay too long since I parted a pair of silken thighs, and you get the pretty fair impression that I’m a real sad bastard). Of course I don’t like smoke-filled bars or well-pissed slobs hanging on my shoulder drooling, “but you’re a great friend, and I really, really love you,” but what I like less is the current sanitising of life in Spain.

A law has just been passed that limits the consumption of alcohol if you are going to drive to the equivalent of one small beer. Next year we’ll have zero tolerance. A couple of years ago the thought police brought in an edict that said you could only smoke in designated walled-off areas in bars of over 100square metres, but those under that size could decide if you could smoke or not. Most did. Soon even that choice won’t be left, when all bars become smoke free.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually fully in favour of these laws, but they are just another nail in the coffin of the semi-anarchic country I came to a decade ago, and loved precisely for that reason. Now we have the noise police hustling buskers off the streets in case their music should sully the ears of the neighbours, restaurants and bars aren’t allowed to have a terrace or extension if they are within 100 metres of the coastline – ie, the beach – which effectively does away with all those wonderful chiringuitos, beach bars, where the world and his brother would hang out during the languid summer months. And what are they trying to protect? The coastline, ie, sand, without which, plus the beach, people won’t come on holiday to Spain. But without traditional beach bars to relax in half the people won’t go to the beach anyway. Go figure! – as the American’s would say. On top of all that, there’s even a group trying to ban the siesta, for Christ’s sake!

In one of its more mindlessly invasive moves, the Valencian Government has introduced the ‘Sistema de Monitorización en Tiempo Real de las Playas de la Malva-Rosa/Cabanyal’ – in other words, CCTV cameras that monitor what’s happening on the city’s beaches, which means that we can’t even relax on our day off without Big Brother keeping an eagle eye on us. As ever, they say it’s for ‘public protection’, but as a member of that public, I see it as another personal right to privacy sneakily taken away.

They left it a bit late though, because a couple of weeks ago I was taking a coffee at one of the chiringuitos that will soon disappear and on the sand about a hundred metres away I saw a young girl sat over – I assume – her boyfriend, with a scarf carefully draped over her lower regions. She was either demonstrating to him how to do a particularly sensuous rumba or engaged in a bit of al fresco sex. No-one else seemed to notice. “Well done, girl!” I thought. Now there’d be one in the eye for the nannies and their holier-than-thou ideas of how we should all live!

It’s now more expensive to eat out and drink in Spain than in the UK, the country has the highest unemployment on record and you can’t sell your house for love nor money – so why the hell do I stay here!!!! Because about the only other option is to go back to England…and with that terrifying thought in mind, life here doesn’t seem so bad after all!

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, www.derekworkman-journalist.com , and Spain Uncovered.  

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