Thanks to today's El País, the Spanish - as well as we guirris – can now slaver over the details of the black payments made to senior officials of the governing PP party. At least between 1997 and 2008. These include 25k euros a year paid to the current president – Mariano Rajoy – and a couple of lump-sum payments to the previous PP president, José Maria Aznar. For his daughter's wedding maybe. Perhaps now we can begin to see why there've been no assertions along the lines “We will root out all corruption and prosecute all those implicated.”
After reading all about the payments, I took to wondering about the interviews between the party Treasurer and those PP politicians who reached its cúpola:-
Well, congratulations on rising to the most senior level of the party.
I know you're here for the good of the country, given that someone of your ability would earn a lot more in the real world.
Well, yes, indeed.
But I've got some good news for you; we give you an additional salary, financed by development companies to whom we're particular close.
Oh, that is good news.
Yes, but this is totally between me and you. And should it ever come up, you have to deny it vehemently and insist you've never received anything. As I will, of course. [Unless I'm ever implicated in any corruption and the party doesn't back me. In which case I'll blow the gaffe and issue copies of my handwritten book entries to the opposition newspaper El País.]
As I say, we can now see just why there've been no assertions that the PP party will investigate corruption, root it out and punish everyone involved. It would a death sentence. More accurately suicide. Which is what we suspected, though we never expected to have the evidence so soon. I guess the next PP defence will be that the accounts are totally false and all written in the last two weeks by an angry ex-Treasurer with too much time on his hands.
But, anyway, you can imagine, against this background, the reaction of foreign residents to a new law which seems primarily designed to sucker foreigners into a minimum 10k euro fine for non-payment of new taxes on global wealth they knew nothing about. This is another – possibly illegal - measure which stinks of the expediency for which Spanish administrations – local, regional and national – are famous. Most evidently with the demolition of 'illegal' foreigners' housing in the South. Bugger the long-term consequences. Let's go for the money today. And if we can't get a few big ones, let's go for a lot of little ones who don't have the vote.
Finally . . . Spanish numbers. The night train from Pontevedra to Madrid originates in the former and departs at 21.28. Having passed through one station twice, it rolls into Madrid at 8.02 the next morning. For the life of me (again), I can't understand why it doesn't leave at 21.30 and arrive at 8.00. Or 8.10 even, if your antihistamine works too well and you have to be woken up by the guard. By the way, it's a great feeling being the very last person off the train, by some way. You feel as if the train has made the journey just for you.