The silent recession

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THERE has been a remarkable shift in the demography of Mediterranean Spain over a very short time. By the time I settled here in 2008 the region between Gibraltar and Valencia was under British occupation. Most businesses set out their stalls accordingly.

A Spanish restaurateur in Torrevieja explained to me that he could survive if unable to speak Spanish, but the ability to communicate in English kept him solvent. As I strolled esplanades the second language heard spoken was English.

This is no longer the case. According to national statistics 90,000 (22.8 per cent) Brits abandoned Spain in 2013. How many others have since died is anyone’s guess.


Spain has lost much of its appeal as a viable place to work or set up a business. The Russian presence is widespread, but their being treated as the pariahs of Europe has reduced Russian tourism and investment in Europe by 10 to 40 per cent depending on country.

Britain has lost its dominance. The Costa communities are now a blend of many nationalities. Businesses now have little choice but to modify their approach to cater for a broader church.

Most enterprising restaurants now offer their menu in Russian.

At the onset of what I had hoped would be a wonderful evening’s entertainment the night’s performer appeared. Having seen Simon a year or so earlier I groaned. His well received repertoire, then at an Irish theme venue, was strictly to British taste; much of it 1960s pop.

This was going to go down like a lead balloon. At this venue, Brits were very much the minority. Our fellow diners comprised a blend of Spanish, Russian, German and other nationalities. The audience had changed; had Simon?

His performance that night was internationally popular trad-jazz, parody, Latin American, light classical, waltz, oompah and Western European favourites.

Well done, that man. Just add the Kalinka song; learning the balalaika can be done another time.

Many of the early departed 90,000 Brits simply refused to change with the times. I know an entertainer likely to grow richer by moving with the times.



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