Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain.
If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.
- The case against the delinquents holed up in Brussels has been adjourned until December 4, so that they can have more time to prepare their cases, at the start of what promises to be a protracted legal battle, says the BBC.
- The ex Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, has interviewed Sr P on RT News, the Moscow mouthpiece. Prior to this, Mr S had embarked on a career as a stand-up comic. Maybe that remains his real ambition.
- El País insists that the cases of PP corruption going through the courts prove the independence of the Spanish judiciary. While this is good to see, I suspect there is a counter argument
- The Spanish economy evinces excessive control and insufficient investment for the future, says an FT article here, if you can access it.
- Spain has enough doctors but not enough nurses, it says here. Perhaps there'll be more of the latter when Spanish nurses flee the UK's NHS after Brexit.
- Ambrose Evans-Prichard reports that El Pais has warned that – [following the imminent budget developments cited below] – Spain fears a cliff-edge halt in transfers to large areas such as Andalucia, Extremadura, and Castilla-La-Mancha that depend on projects and development schemes financed by Brussels. AE-P adds that: During the 2014-2020 period, Spain’s share of EU structural funds of this kind is over €37bn (£33bn). A cut-off would hit the country disproportionately hard. It would provoke a furious political reaction from Madrid, famous for fighting its financial corner tooth and nail. . . While – [for the EU as a whole] - the sums are manageable in macro-economic terms, they are politically neuralgic and run across deep cultural and ethnic fault-lines. Cuts risk inflaming the simmering dispute between the Dutch-speaking Flemish and the francophone Walloons, and aggravating the North and South rift in Italy over subsidies. The separatist clashes in Spain could become even harder to handle. Money is a crucial element in all these tensions.
- Brussels has begun to circulate the first confidential papers on how to plug the gaping hole in EU finances after Brexit, provoking serious alarm in regions and poorer countries across the bloc. British withdrawal will slash EU revenues by 16% once the current budget framework ends in 2020, forcing Brussels to confront vocal vested interests. It threatens to ignite bitter divisions. . . . There is zero chance that the EU’s front of disciplined unity over Brexit will survive once the battle of the budget starts in earnest.
- Ask yourself: how do you build a national, healthy party democracy when millions of voters’ first affiliation is with their language-based identity? How do you get people talking about questions of policy and competence if politics is about guarding your cultural grouping? How do you win loyalties through and across society when party following is fuelled more by identity than policy? Where is nationwide democratic consent when a general election becomes a contest between internal groups? Which brings us to Belgium, which has not had a nation-based rather than region-based general election since the 1950s, and which took a record 589 days to form a government in 2010. The Walloons and the Flemings are essentially two tribes. The Flemish in the north, the Walloons in the south, plus a bilingual nugget in the middle, more commonly known as Brussels. Walloons vote for Walloon parties, Flemings for Flemish parties. Governments are always coalitions, and only an almost hermetically-sealed federal structure stops the country falling apart. Maybe this is why - friends tell me - the country is rife with inefficiency.
- Sir James Dyson, Britain's best known entrepreneur, on the EU-UK negotiations : I don’t think they’ll do a deal. You can’t negotiate with that lot, as I’ve found out from 24 years of sitting on European committees. No non-German company has ever won anything, and nobody has ever been able to block any suggestion from the German cartel. Never. They stifle innovation, the EU. And the European Court of Justice, well, that’s frankly crooked. Fighting words from a Brexit supporter, then. Despite the fact he's getting millions in subsidies for his massive farming interests in the UK.
- Helpful advice from a UK judge on the issue of the moment: A reasonable, right-thinking member of modern society would not consider it shocking or discreditable for a man, at the end of a social evening alone with a single woman of equal status whom he found attractive and friendly, to put his arm around her waist and ask her if she would like them to become closer. Provided he did nothing positively indecent, and took ‘no’ for an answer, most right-thinking people would accept this as a normal part of life.
- And more on this theme from William Hanson, author of "The Bluffer’s Guide to Etiquette": Any potential relationship should be initiated away from work. These days people have to have a heightened awareness of what is acceptable. I would verbally, without any physical contact, seek a signal that they are interested in pursuing a relationship. The British like to tiptoe around the issue. It is much better towards the end of a meal to say ‘Please correct me if I am wrong but have I been picking up on some signals that you would like to be more than colleagues?’. If you get a ‘no’, laugh it off. There is no need to feel awkward.
I do hope my male compatriots find that helpful.
More on today's UK society . . .
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