Spanish politics continues to impress with its robustness. Yesterday, the last Socialist president entered the fray and dismissed the Leader of the Opposition as ‘lazy and imbecilic’. Naturally, right-of-centre commentators see this as evidence of dirty work at the crossroads. In this case, inciting the tension which the current Socialist president admitted – into a still-live microphone – was what they needed to get their voters into the booths on voting day.
The said Leader of the Opposition countered with the claim we’d lived through “four years of theatre of the absurd” and this got me wondering how this willingness to regularly and directly insult one’s political foes fits with my theory that the Spanish don’t appreciate aggression in the form of Scouse humour. But that’s the fascination of different cultures; like people, they’re inexplicably inconsistent to those of us who aren’t social scientists. And I guess to a few of them as well.
Politics in Spain can be very local and mayors here seem to have a lot more power than their oppos in the UK. So it’s interesting to note that disenchantment with national politicians in Britain is leading to demands for more local autonomy and power. Relatedly – I’ve never seen Gordon Brown as much of a jokester but I laughed out loud at his response to the incident of the anti-Heathrow runway protesters on the roof of Parliament. “I’m pleased to note,” he said in the Commons, “that decisions in this country are taken inside this building and not on its roof.” But he, of all people, must be aware that the vast majority of the political decisions affecting Britons are taken in Brussels. And that these are ‘gold-plated’ by his civil servants much more than in, say, Greece, Italy and Spain. And, further, that there’s far more of a culture of obedience to these laws in Britain than in, say, Greece, Italy and Spain. So, is there any wonder that Brits are disenchanted with their [largely redundant] representatives in Westminster and are seeking more of a say in their lives? And who can blame them? I predict independence for at least Cornwall. Or Liverpool.
Many of the hits to this blog are men in search of brothel-related information. But not far behind are those seeking pictures of Karren Mulder. I had thought this was the specious lady doctor who appeared in the ads for dangerous products so regularly featured in El Mundo but I’ve just discovered the name also belongs to un top model. So I guess ‘naked’ also appears in the search term.
I received my bill from the huge gas company, Repsol, yesterday. Included was a slip thanking me for being a client on their 50th anniversary. Which made me laugh as I don’t actually have a choice. Which is why, I guess, the bill could incorporate a 28% price increase without any sort of explanation. Of course, I’m aware of rising oil prices but, nonetheless, it’d be good to know the company feels it has some sort of duty towards its customers. Even those with nowhere else to go. Even bloody Telefonica tells us when one of its remarkably regular price increases is in the offing. And this hasn’t stopped them – the provision of information, I mean – from becoming the most-profitable phone operator in the world. As for the price increases themselves – well, these may have helped a bit with the profits.
There was a book festival in Cuba recently and 20 people from the Galician publishing world attended it. But these were somewhat outnumbered by the retinue of 130 Xunta politicos who also felt the need to go. At a cost – according to the local press – of €1.3m. Money well spent, I’ve no doubt. Possibly on wining and dining those of the Galician diaspora who can vote in the imminent elections. And possibly not.
Given that they’re something of an invitation to those caught without one, I’ve been wondering why anyone in Pontevedra would deposit their umbrella in the stand at the entrance to each café, bar and shop. And then it dawned on me – This is a snobby town and folk are letting go of their umbrellas – just when they might need them - for the same reason ladies wear mink under the winter rain here. They’re shouting ‘Hey look at me! I’m so rich I can afford to buy a new umbrella every day.” I must put a label on mine advising that I’m not.
Finally, a plea for help. My last printer [a Canon] lasted 7 years. My new one [an Epson] didn’t even make it to 7 weeks. Or 4, for that matter. It keeps telling me there’s a paper jam, when there clearly isn’t. As I’ve already spent more than 2 hours trying to get it to work again, I’d appreciate any advice other than chucking it at Tony when he next appears in the garden below. This final option has already occurred to me. At least I’d get something for my 80 euros.