The Costa del Sol has long been a byword for corruption but some of us hoped things had peaked under the brazenly dishonest mayor of Marbella, Jesus Gil, who died a couple of years ago. But no, this week’s media revelations point to mind-freezing levels of financial chicanery. The local council operated a tariff system for development approvals, ranging from around 200,000 euros for the head honcho down to 6,000 for the lowliest clerk. And the brains behind all this is said to have addressed a meeting of the council with the words “If we do this properly, you’ll each make 20 million euros”. The as-yet-unanswered question is whether Spain at large will change its attitude to this deep stain on the national character. Or will it go on treating it almost as an irrelevant joke?
In one respect at least, Spain is much closer to the UK than to its Latin neighbour across the Pyrenees. When it comes to obesity, the UK ranks no. 3 in Europe and Spain no. 8. France is way down at 18. Little old Malta is still at no. 1, with Greece at no. 2. One odd aspect is that in both the UK and France almost the same percentage of men and women achieve this status – 22% in the UK and 11% in France. But here is Spain the women are said to beat the men by some way – 18% against 13%. So something drastic must happen to all those young women who smoke and starve themselves into stick insect proportions in their early years.
So Segolene Royal will be the socialist candidate for the French presidency next year. An article in El Pais this week was entitled “Who will look after the children of Segolene Royal?”. Having flicked through this, I’m not convinced the tone was ironic, even though it was penned by a female professor of Modern History at Valencia university.
The Galician government [the Xunta] has set up its first embassy [or ‘delegation’] - in Buenos Aires. The next one will be in Brussels, apparently. Delusions of grandeur?
Galicia has about 8% of Spain’s population but, in a recent police campaign, provided 15% of those prosecuted for driving without using safety belts or putting their kids in child seats. No wonder our insurance is higher than elsewhere. My Galician friends feel this shows they’re even more individualist and anarchistic than other Spaniards. Maybe but I can’t help feeling it enhances their reputation for being rather dense.
Galicia does even better than the national average when it comes to size. 23% of the local population is said to be obese and 60% of adults overweight. Must be all the bloody cocido.
Property prices in Galicia rose by 19% over the last year, double the national average. Up in Ourense, the figure was 33%. Must be all those bloody Brits.