I mentioned the other day the Spanish economy is still motoring along at a good lick. But the news for individuals continues to be worrying. Property prices are at best static, mortgage payments are about to rise again and inflation has just taken another large kick upwards. So, more and more families are going to find it, as they say here, hard to get to the end of the month. But can things be as bad as this forecast for the UK? - “A conflation of rising borrowing costs, falling house prices and retrenchment by lenders is expected to propel personal bankruptcies, home repossessions and other debt-related pain to electorally intolerable levels. . . The Prime Minister is about to oversee a period of disastrous burn-outs. Families are more financially over-stretched than they were even in the late 1980s.” Indeed, the question arises - Can things really be this bad in the UK?
President Zapatero has learned it’s not only useful to have Spain’s various nationalist parties as your allies when it comes to general and regional elections but also that they can come in handy for a bit of divide-and-rule. He was able this week to deflect a Catalan-inspired vote of censure on his hapless Minister for Public Works by throwing some timely titbits in the direction of Navarra and Galicia. I don’t suppose the Catalans will give up; they have about a zillion bees in their bonnet and a massive sense of grievance that, being richer than other Spaniards, they pay more taxes into the distributive central coffers. Though not, it seems, as much as the Madrileños. Who are not revolting.
Talking of politics . . . The deputy PM, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, was again all over the papers yesterday. This time presiding over a meeting with TV company owners on the topical issue of tellyrubbish. For a picture, click here. I don’t know about you but she’d certainly frighten me into acquiescence.
El Mundo reported this week that 22% of university graduates don’t read a single book in a year. At first I thought this meant those actually studying, which would be truly amazing. Then I realised that, even if it means those who’ve already graduated, it’s pretty bad. But, then, reading isn’t a very popular pastime in Spain. It rather gets in the way of having fun.
And on the subject of education . . . The international organisation which ranked reading ability by country has now issued the Science results. These, too, are depressing for both Spain and the UK. Maybe I will have to entrust the education of my grandchildren – if I ever have any – to myself. Or perhaps to my border collie, Ryan.
Which reminds me . . . One or two readers have asked for more evidence of Ryan’s wisdom. Well, I’m not sure about that. After reading of events in the Sudan yesterday, he proposed his name be changed to Mohammad. Naturally, I rejected this out of hand. I have enough problems with hate mail from Galician and Basque Christians. The Catalans, though, disdainfully ignore me. Which is fine by me.
Finally - The end of November brought a couple of noteworthy searches to my blog. The first is a variation on the one I cited only a couple of days ago . . .
throwing a donkey off a church in Spain
And the second is both sui generis and so impressively precise I’m sorry I can’t oblige . . .
naked pictures of fat spanish women over 40 years old