Laws, rules, terms and conditions

I have mentioned in other “Random Thoughts” that it is clear that many Brits/Irish/Scandis/Germans etc come to Spain pick and choose which laws/rules they decide to “accept”. They want the milk without the sour. The family from Benfleet would never dream of trying to break the law in Essex suddenly think it is OK in Benidorm. From false addresses. incorrect information to banks, health service and the local council……….before I even talk about flying back to the UK every few weeks to sign on!

The right-hand-drive car has never been legally imported in 8 years  and signing on the local electoral role is only for the neighbours. The health service is abused because the Carters from Canterbury think that the autónomo payment in Cantabria is too high so every visit is an “emergency” even if it means going to a different medical centre every time or certainly not too often to the same one!

“Tax is for the suckers”, seems to be the chant of many. “Why should we pay in the UK AND Spain? So, we will choose where to pay.” ………..nowhere!

Spain and the Spanish are incredibly tolerant to us as expats. NOT so other countries. Whilst we may think that the Saudi laws are barbaric/archaic/inappropriate etc those are the laws of that land and I am sure expats would think much more carefully about (1) coming here and (2) breaking laws if Spanish laws were so strict.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism, and lashings are a common form of punishment. A Saudi court recently sentenced a 75-year-old Syrian woman to 40 lashes, four months imprisonment and deportation from the kingdom for having two unrelated men in her house.

Whilst Spain may not follow that code, it does have laws, rules, terms & conditions, norms of behaviour etc; it behoves all expats to acknowelge them.


  1. I believe the tendancy of some Brits to pick and choose which rules & regs to comply with comes from a perception that this is what the locals do. And to a degree, they are right.

    When ex-pats read about – or experience for themselves – whole urbanisazions of illegal properties being built and marketed by dint of collusion between developers and local politicians, when people are subjected to a great deal of apparently pointless beureaucratic rigmarole [what my late mother used to call “when were you born and why?”], which often results in them being sent round in ever-decreasing circles of Kafka-esque form filling and rubber stamping, when people find that a little bakshish can short circuit all sorts of tiresome procedures – the impression is that many of the country’s administrative regulations are voluntary or open to negotiation.

    It is acknowledged that a significant proportion of Spain’s economy is “on the black”. One of the reasons is the formidable expense of employing people in Spain, not in terms of employees’ wages but in Social Security obligations.

    It is well known that civil servants are virtually immune from dismissal. This leads in many cases to gross inefficiency or outright incompetence. Some supplement their salary from public funds with a little private enterprise on publically-funded time.

    Countries which have this sort of slack in their systems of governance – and it increases in frequency and extent as one moves south and east – have to change the attitude of the native population and its politicians and civil service, if it is to avoid incomers adopting what they perceive as the same m.o.

    Everybody in Italy understands the meaning of the word “docamenti”. Docamenti are required at every turn to do almost everything. But it is also understood that docamenti are forthcoming with minimum delay if payment of an acceptable amount is made to the right person or people, in both public service and private sector. It is an accepted fact of life.

    The local clamping and tow-away contractor for the DVLA makes regular sweeps thru my area of Bristol. They do this because it is around here that they find most untaxed vehicles. The proportion of residents of my patch who originate from east of Instanbul is very high. When there was a crisis of refuse dumping in the area, the Refuse Dept did a sweep of businesses along a particular stretch of road where 100% of the shops are Kurdish. A council official reported to me that “over 95%” [in other words 100%] of those businesses had no commercial refuse registrations. They were all given 14 days to register or be fined £300. 20% failed to understand that this was not optional and the fines were duly imposed.

    Incomers’percepcions of the local m.o. goes a very long way to influencing how they themselves will behave.

    Comment by Chris Nation — July 30, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

  2. Thanks for that. You will have seen that I added it in its entirety. I cannot disagree with anything you say and whilst I passionately want to see the back of ZP I am not convinced that Rajoy is the answer. A two time loser gets elected by default? We´ll see!

    Thanks for your input.


    Comment by admin — August 1, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

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