The correspondence I get suggests that there are times when a great deal of confusion exists over what, on the surface, appear to be standard definitions that are simple to understand. So, following are the ones that most seem to need to be explained in a bit more detail.

Evidence: something that independently proves something. This could be an emergency services control room statement about an accident to which they were called out. It could be research independent of any party involved in the subject matter of the research. It also has to be credible, which means it has to be able to offer some justification for its view that deserves to be treated as authoritative. What it isn’t is someone saying something about themselves, eg a report by a Government about how wonderful it is or how well it has done in any given situation is not evidence. At best it’s a statement, likely to be spin, and at worst an outright lie. Ideally, independent evidence would be supplemented by at least one other piece of independent evidence to support it.

Freedom of Speech: a constitutional privilege or restriction whereby Governments allow their nationals more or less of a right to say things without being prosecuted, jailed or executed as a punishment for saying them. It is not a right to comment on a private website, nor even on social media generally. Even the likes of Facebook and twitter are not countries or Governments, and so can and do control what is allowed to be posted on them, banning fake news, bullying, libel, hate incitement, violation of official secrets or Court injunctions, etc. The principle can be easily explained by analogy with our ability in the west to go about our business freely without state interference but without any right just to walk into other people’s private houses on demand. Privately owned websites can be run as their owners choose, including denying other people access to post, comment, or even view. Not being allowed to comment on a blog post does not violate any right to free speech, which is a constitutional matter unrelated to private ownership rights. 

Human rights: the idea of universal rights that individuals enjoy and to which they have an inalienable right is interpreted differently around the world. Even with a global understanding and a United Nations Declaration, and despite various judicial protections in different forms in legislatures around the world, there is no universally accepted idea of what such a right actually is, nor how it might be enforced. Human rights are the subject of interminable philosophical discussion and physical protest around the planet but national measures to protect people’s safety – whether health rules, anti-terrorism laws, or similar – are not considered to violate them. Clearly some perceive their “human rights” to be violated if they’re asked to wear a facemask for their own and others’ protection but disbelief in a virus or dislike of behaving in a civil manner doesn’t give anyone a free pass to claim their rights are being violated. It’s widely accepted, for example, and an article in the Universal Declaration, that we have the right to free movement, at least within our own country’s borders, but we also have the right to be kept safe by a different article of the Declaration: sometimes these rights are in conflict. More importantly, however, although some human rights, as defined internationally, cannot be removed (eg right to life, not to be enslaved, not to be tortured), others can, and when it comes to national security and times of emergency, the Universal Declaration itself explicitly acknowledges that they can be limited or even abolished.    

Immigrant: Us, anyone who has come to live in Spain (or anywhere else) from their home country. Often people use the word expat to try to differentiate themselves from migrants whom they usually view as inferior but both words indicate someone living in a foreign land, the difference being rhetorical only. Illegal immigrants are those who are here without complying with immigration regulations even though they’ve usually come to Spain quite legally – with a passport and through an airport. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, the refugees arriving by cayucos and pateras are not illegal immigrants but asylum seekers and there is nothing illegal about their status: they are processed and if their claim is genuine they may stay, and if not they are removed. Illegal immigrants, conversely, are those who have failed to comply with legal requirements such as police registration, and who remain under the radar for administrative purposes. 

Misinformation: posts that actively seek to mislead or unwittingly pass on false information. Not something you don’t like or something you disagree with. Fake news must be wrong in essence, not just disagreeable to a particular reader.

Nazi: an adherent of the leadership and policies of Adolf Hitler’s Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party). Could alternatively be the German equivalent of the Spanish name Nacho (abbreviation of Ignacio), or a Sumerian goddess. Sumer was actually included in some of my ancient history lectures but I lay no claim to divinity. What a Nazi isn’t is someone running a blog, even if you completely disagree with the way they do it.

Passport: can’t believe this is needed but a passport is a document issued by a country to its own nationals, ie someone with citizenship rights. No-one can get a passport from a country in which they do not have citizenhip rights, and so it follows that a British national, with citizenship rights in the UK – see HERE – does not have the right to a passport in any other country where they do not have those rights. A passport holder cannot simply exchange their passport for that of another country just as, currently, residents in Spain are changing their EU Registros for a third-country TIE – these are documents of residence registration, not nationality. Spain does not allow dual nationality except in very specific circumstances that don’t apply to British nationals and so, in a nutshell, to get a Spanish passport you have either to be or become an actual Spaniard, and if you’re British this means renouncing your British nationality.

Property Owner: someone who owns a property in Tenerife (or anywhere else). These will either be residents or swallows … or indeed they could be tourists staying in a hotel while letting out the property they own. In short, the residential or tourist designation of someone who owns a property is unrelated to their actual ownership. Their rights of ownership are those that I myself enjoy, the responsibilities those that I myself have to comply with. All property owners pay IBIs (rates), utilites bills, and so on, and enjoy full constitutional protection for their own enjoyment of their own property provided only that that enjoyment falls within the law. If a property owner is visiting Tenerife and staying in their own property they are visiting their own property and staying in Tenerife as neither tourist nor resident, but as visiting foreign private investor.

Resident: someone who is legally registered with the police as required for all residents, and who is in possession specifically of either a Certificado de Registro issued to British nationals prior to 2021 (and which is still issued to EU nationals) or its post-Brexit replacement the TIE (which is issued to all non-EU nationals).  

Swallow: not an official definition but a term used for someone who migrates like the bird of the same name to a place for part of the year usually for weather reasons. Not counted as a tourist for official purposes because not staying (usually) in legal tourism accommodation. As such, their presence is not known to the tourism authorities because only legally regulated tourism establishments supply the Government, as they’re required to do by law, with details of those staying in them. As a free liberal democracy Spain, like the UK, does not keep tabs on law-abiding individuals who are at liberty to move around within the law and under the rights bestowed by their passport, and whose presence is therefore not tracked (public health emergency measures such as track and trace systems excepted), and so there is no means of including their arrival in official tourism figures nor of incorporating them into budgetary considerations

Tenerife Government: there is no such thing. In Spain, there are national and regional Governments, the latter having many devolved powers: here that is the Canarian Government. The Canaries have island administrative councils, called Cabildos, which operate above the municipal Ayuntamientos and have some local legislative powers but are not “Governments”. Please see THIS article with full information on how Spain is administered but one minor point that keeps arising should already be clear – that the Canaries are indeed part of the EU because they are a region of Spain which is a member, their different tax status in certain situations is because they’re a far-flung part of Spain, not because they’re a different country.

Tourist: someone staying in legal tourism accommodation. Not privately owned property unless it is registered as a Vivienda Vacacional and is being occupied through a booking done under that regime. As explained in the Swallows entry above, legally regulated tourism establishments are required by law to supply the Government with details of their guests, and since Spain doesn’t track ordinary individuals, anyone not staying in regulated tourist accommodation is not known to the tourism authorities and so doesn’t get counted as a tourist.

Transparency: various meanings including the quality of being see-through, but in media terms generally used in the sense of accountability given pressures coming from sponsorships, advertising, and political arenas. It is fundamentally concerned with the influence of money and/or power over what is published. In this blog there is no money or power involved other than my own because I own it outright and pay for it all. Therefore there is no pressure from any quarter, and so there is no lack of transparency because there is nothing to show.