Monday, February 04, 2013

Señor Rajoy joined me in Germany today, for a chat with Mrs Merkel. I wonder what the protocol around the hot topic of corruption is on these occasions. Does Mrs M steer clear of the subject? Or does she say something like “Come on, Mariano. You can trust me. Have you been on the take? And, if so, are you going to resign so that someone else can have a go at cleaning up the bloody awful mess Spain is in?”

But, seriously, here's a Financial Times leader cited and endorsed by El Mundo this morning. As the concluding sentences put it:- Spain is still fighting its way through the most wrenching economic crisis of the democratic era, at a time when nearly all its institutions, from the monarchy to the judiciary, exhibit signs of rot. There must be a full, transparent and independent investigation of the alleged Bárcenas accounts. Neither the government nor the country can afford anything less. Nor the EU, I guess. The mere perception of governmental instability is going to worry the markets.

And here's Guy Hedgecoe of IberoSphere with his own comments and queries on a saga that will surely run and run. I'll content myself with repeating that what we need is an unequivocal statement that the government is aware of the extent of corruption and is determined to stamp it out wherever it's found. If this can't or won't come from the Rajoy administration, then it has to come from another one.

Back on terra firma . . . One of Hamburg's leading attractions – for kids of all ages – is a model railway which goes way beyond the normal meaning of these words. It's called Miniatur Wunderland and I spent a pleasant three hours there this afternoon. Though it was disconcerting being with people who were aware of your existence and children who apologised if they bumped into you. Here's a 5 minute video which just about does justice to this marvel.

Rather to my surprise, the Germans go in for dubbing as much as the Spanish. The false actors' voices – as in Spain – are so well established that I half expected someone other than Al Pacino to walk up to take the lifetime achievement honour he was scheduled to receive at an awards ceremony here last week.

So, the bones under the Leicester car-park really are those of Richard III. Or Richard One Hundred and Eleven, as an American commentator reportedly once said. This places at least one group of folk in a dilemma – The people who own the spot where the king's corpse was alleged to have been chucked into the river. I guess they have 3 options:- 1. Quietly remove the plaque, 2. Balls it out, as if nothing had happened, or 3. Put up a new plaque a metre or so away, reading:- And this is where the body of King Richard was fished out of the river before being buried in an unmarked grave.

Finally . . . An English language school here in Hamburg runs an ad with the bare statement:- We have ways of making you talk. OK, it's funny but will the Hamburgers understand the humour and irony? And is it not a bit risky if they do?

3 comments:

sp said...

I wonder if any member of the Spanish government would resign if found to have asked his wife to take some speeding points.

Alfred B. Mittington said...


And here I always thought the royal name was pronounced: 'Richard Ay-Ay-Ay' (Or Eye-Eye-Eye if you wish....)

Alfred M

Colin said...

@sp: Errrrrr. I don't think so.

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