Why do some Spaniards have such a low opinion of their country? I was part of a radio debate programme the other day and all the other guests were complaining about the state of the Spanish National Health Service. I replied that they should be proud of the local health service, it is excellent and I am talking from personal experience. I would even say that the British National Health Service can learn a lot from their Spanish counterparts.

Another chief Spanish moan is the state of their civil service. Now, they may not be the nicest people on earth but I would say that by-and-large the Spanish state works very well, especially these days that you can book an appointment. I often tell Spanish colleagues that they are lucky to live in a country like Spain and you would never find a Briton or a German criticising their country to such a degree.

Spain should be more confident about itself. These days it is a modern European country with some first rate facilities from roads to hospitals and from trains to airports. The quality of life is one of the reasons why millions of people dream about moving here. But, as we all know, there is a lot more to Spain than just the climate. This country has come a long way since the death of dictator Franco in 1975. His evil regime kept Spain isolated from the world and this must explain why some Spaniards still have a low opinion of their country - they shouldn't. Be proud.

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Simon Tow / Hace over 4 years

V, most people do as you do, but even so they are still "bonuses" whichever way you want to look at them, in other words 14 months salary for 11 months work, the 14 months being the minimum, as you know, a lot of people in the public sector get 15 or even 16 months salary. To add insult to injury you pay social costs on them as well.

I won´t get into the pro or against Franco argument, as the other side were just as bad, but the answer to your question is 18 years.

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V. / Hace over 4 years

Simon, how about listing all the other 'things' that Franco did? You make it sound like a bed of roses under his regime. Did you actually live long in Spain prior to 1975? On the mainland?

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V. / Hace over 4 years

Simon, they're not bonuses, just the annual salary divided into 14 payments instead of 12. I worked in Human Resources for many years. We worked on annual figures and just divided as above, eventually doing away with the double pay in July and December and just paying 12 equal months.

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Phil / Hace over 4 years

I've just had a couple of resident friends come back from the UK - one a builder who witnessed in the midlands a house with insulation foam set and coming out of the outside seams of the house and another who parents are still waiting for their regular plumber to come around after a week of calling, I agree Spain and the Spanish should be proud because although we expats moan about how "better it is in the UK" re paperwork, health service and workmen's timings it really isn't better in the UK!

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Simon Tow / Hace over 4 years

Jason, you mention the National Health Service. It's not national. It's a local run health service paid for out our local taxes. Even Son Espases is ours, being paid for on a yearly basis for the next 25 years. We rent it from the builders. We don't own it. Meanwhile the Balearic debt is presently 8.500 million euros, which works out at 8.500 per man, woman and child when 30 years ago it was 0. Everything looks easy on the never never.

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Simon Tow / Hace over 4 years

As expected, I have received quite a few negative votes for being neutral about Franco. Many people don't realise that he founded the Spanish social security system, guaranteed employment (no contracts ) holiday pay and also guaranteed six monthly monthly bonuses. Jason probably won't complain about receiving a months bonus in July and another in December ! Spain has really only advanced since it was given unlimited funds from the EU and multiplying its debt which is now 100% of the GNP. One day they will start to have pay it back and then we will see how things turn out.

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Mark / Hace over 4 years

Spain may have come on in leaps and bounds in terms of infrastructure, health and technology etc but I'm afraid a lot of attitudes are firmly stuck in the past. Has that much really changed?

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Simon Tow / Hace over 4 years

Franco´s "evil" regime didn´t stop millions of foreigners coming here on holiday and probably feeling safer than they do now.

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