(Goodness - this blog is ten years old)
I was trying to build up my Facebook page for Business over Tapas (my hard and useful news for property owners in Spain), so, seduced by that young and guileless look sported by Mr Zuckerberg in his publicity photos, I put myself down for a 25€ punch to get a few extra followers for my site.
It worked a treat - about 100 people joined up within the week, enthusiastic to hear about what's really going on in this country we call home. Only - on closer inspection, they were all Spanish. I had filled out this questionnaire, listing my main attractions as: 'News about Spain', 'Spanish Property', 'Spanish Investment', 'News Magazine' and 'Tourism'. Note: all English phrases and, in all, a pretty good spread, I think?
And a hundred enthusiastic people came back, swelling my readership considerably... only, just who exactly did Facebook approach with its advertising - British residents living in Spain? Or was it Spaniards?
Well, fair enough - who is interested in our little collective of British residents in Spain? Certainly no one who operates on a country or even a continental scale.
Take the TV people, for example. You want to watch English-language TV, then you should be based in an English speaking country. There's no accommodation for those who speak English, but don't live in the UK or Ireland. Learn the local language, conform. It'll make it easier. So, while many Britons watch Sky in Spain, they are all breaking copyright law. But, there's no legal way around it (not that any of us care).
Or the issue of the 'Brexit'. No one in the UK even considers that we émigrés should have the right to vote in a British referendum (even if it is patently going to affect us more than anyone else). We abandoned the Homeland. All two million of us (across the EU). Those in favour of staying within Europe talk pompously of 'exports' in the British press, but never of 'expats'.
The European Government doesn't recognise us either. We are over 20 million Europeans living in another European country. Do we have any representation? Of course not. Without our own politicians, spokespeople, culture, stars, writers and intellectuals, we will never have any voice; or service; or accommodation (Ask the Priors, who will celebrate their eighth year living in a garage in two weeks time).
In Spain, there's now a political party that represents animals and vegetarianism (I'm not kidding). It's called PACMA and it got about 120,000 votes in the recent General Election. People are more concerned about fur coats than they are about jobs (22% unemployment), or corruption (huge). Or the fact that over four million foreigners live in Spain, and are (with EU approval) not allowed the vote. About two-thirds of them are European. So what?
In geo-politics and in big business, there is no profit in the details.