Sunday, June 19, 2005

Well, you’ll all be dying to know whether Mr Fraga will still be in power when he’s 87. It seems not. His PP party has lost their overall majority and will have to cede government to the Socialist/Nationalist coalition. At least until it breaks up. So, interesting times ahead.

Meanwhile, recriminations rumble on around the aborted EU summit. The Spanish media sees Tony Blair as the – possibly Pyrrhic – victor but also think it was clever of the Spanish President, Mr ‘Bambi’ Zapatero, to keep his powder dry so that he can join whichever camp eventually emerges victorious from what I’ve called the battle for the economic soul of the EU. Apart from the many examples of the mathematics of the madhouse, what fascinates me is the way nations distinguish between themselves and others. So, whereas Spain ‘justifiably’ held out for a delay in the rundown of its enormous grants, Britain and France succumbed to ‘destructive egoism’ in refusing to countenance increased contributions.

Perhaps the most depressing aspect is that, humiliated both by his own voters and Tony Blair, President Chirac will now spend the next 6 months undermining Britain’s stewardship of the EU asylum. I wonder what the French is for ‘pique’. Can anyone imagine a real political entity being run like this?

We went to a barbecue last night. We were due to eat at 9 or so but, as the Spanish couple didn’t arrive until 10.50, it was closer to 11.30 before we began. At 2am, the host and hostess retired to bed and left the guests to it. This was a first for me. Not that I noticed, as I was dozing on the settee at the time. Life can be very informal here.

A doctor friend tells me the lab testing services of the Pontevedra hospital were overwhelmed on Friday by concerned gentlemen from Vigo. This followed the death from ‘fever’ of a prostitute working there. Vigo, it should be said, has a much bigger hospital than Pontevedra but, for some reason, the men in question felt compelled to make a journey of 30 kilometres to check out their fears in our little facility. Perhaps there was a group discount.

Quote of the Week

I really believe the French and the Dutch did not vote No to the constitutional treaty.

Luxembourg's premier Jean-Claude Juncker, outgoing President of the EU.

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