Sunday, August 27, 2006

So far this year, 11,000 ‘Subsaharians’ [as they are called here] have arrived on the coastlines of Spain. I suspect this is merely the ones who are still alive but, even so, the total is three times up on the whole of last year. Most, I think, are sent back but some are absorbed . The negotiation of quotas for these is another battleground between Madrid and the regional governments, especially the more autonomous ones. None of them want problems dumped on them and some of them have the clout to stop it. It’s not easy being a powerful politician in Madrid. Unless you are the President of the Madrid Autonomous community, of course.

Another big spat involving the Spanish government is that with the EU over the German takeover of a major Spanish energy company. So far, Madrid has had to make a couple of embarrassing climb-downs and it rather looks like another is imminent. This is over the conditions of the purchase which the Spanish government has tried to impose in order to save face. Spain has played the EU game extremely well over the last 20 years or so but it obviously hasn’t yet developed the skill and chutzpah of the French government.

The Spanish government would like the police to have the power to confiscate cars being driven by people with no insurance. If so, the estimate is that 2 million cars a year would be impounded. Or 7% of the total. A few years of this and the roads really would be safe.

Cachondo is one of those Spanish words which, in the masculine form, has several fine nuances – horny/randy, funny/jokey or fun-loving/riotous. Things, as so often, are far easier with the feminine form. This just means whore. Like the feminine form of most animals.

Adjacent to the building site at the rear of my house there’s an Enquiries hut, staffed by a young woman who sits outside it all day. The ability to get as brown and as wrinkled as a walnut appears to be the main requirement for this less-than-taxing job. And yet she must be well qualified and earning quite a lot as her car is a BMW. Unless she’s someone’s relative, of course. Denying a job to someone who really needs it.

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