Spain’s leading songbird diva has been arrested in connection with corruption and tax evasion in Marbella. Since her boyfriend is an ex-mayor, this is hardly a huge surprise. But what it certainly is is a Godsend for Spain’s intrusive ‘pink press’, which thrives on celebrity gossip. Or on non-celebrity gossip, where they can’t get any of the real stuff. It’s a reflection of the currently confrontational nature of Spanish politics that the opposition has accused the government of engineering the arrest of La Pantoja so as to divert attention from some failing or other in the context of ETA terrorism. Even in a country as given to conspiracy thinking as Spain, I suspect this won’t fly.
Warning about the risks inherent in new planning regulations proposed in the UK, Charles Clover writes about the ‘Rape of Spain’ and says:- Spain has become the textbook case of how uncontrolled laissez-faire economics, brought to the boil by corruption, can destroy a beautiful country. The discipline and taste the Spanish exemplify in their dress, style and food, the moderation they show in their drinking habits, the planning flair exemplified by their straight roads and beautiful architecture all desert them when it comes to governance - at least at regional level. Here’s the full article, if you want to depress yourself.
And here’s a sentence to make you think - Capital flight from Africa increases in direct proportion as aid to goes up: 94 billion US dollars left sub-Saharan Africa for Swiss bank accounts in 2004. This leapt to an incredible 150 billion in 2005. 150 BILLION! And they say Africa’s greatest problem is poverty.
Galicia Facts & Perspectives
The Voz de Galicia says today that more than a third of Galicians live off the state. [Or in this case the ‘autonomous community’]. In rural areas, it’s more than half. In comparison, the UK number reported this morning is 40% - well up on the number prior to the Blair & Brown duopoly that is currently departing the stage. Albeit slowly, pursued by a Scottish bear.
Finally - In his own blog, my friend, Andrew, comments on a subject – roundabout driving – which keeps us amused. Though ‘amused’ is possibly not the most accurate word available.