Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oh, dear. Media mention of the R word [recession] has immediately been followed - logically enough - by that of the S word [stagflation]. Except that it’s the E word in Spanish - for estanflación. As a leader in El Mundo put it – “It’s not as if just some of the economic indicators were bad. They’re all bad. And at the same time”. In fact, it’s now being suggested Spain’s economic woes will be worse than anywhere else in Europe. And the pain in Spain is refusing to stay mainly on the plain. Consumer confidence is almost off the bottom of the chart, possibly because most Spanish knew in their heart-of- hearts how flimsily based their economic boom was. And they bow to no one in their ability to shift overnight from excessive optimism to panic-edged pessimism. Mind you, they do have good cause. For a start, inflation here is higher than elsewhere, partly because the increases in foodstuff prices outstrip those in other European countries. For which I’ve yet to see an explanation. All in all, the feelbad factor at the moment is in danger of becoming self-servingly overwhelming. They’ve even switched off the air conditioning in my regular bar-café. So I now sweat over my reduced-quality tapas. Was the London blitz this bad?

Fascinating – The dangerous Venezuelan buffoon, President Chavez, has actually replaced President Bush as the most disliked American politico in Spain. Quite an achievement. But thoroughly merited. Especially in view of his financial support for the FARC terrorist group in Colombia.

As I reported at the time, Telefonica recently announced it's scrapping its existing [piss-poor] broadband service to Spain’s rural communities and replacing it with something better. Asked whether they believed this would happen in Galicia, 94% of the readers of the Voz de Galicia said they didn’t. That’s a reputation to be proud of, isn’t it? But, if you’re a highly profitable quasi-monopoly used to doing exactly what you liked, why should you care?. Even if the EU is trying to get you to pay a humongous fine, levied for abuse of a dominant position. Over in the UK, that other highly unpopular Spanish monopoly - Ferrovial – looks like being less fortunate, as it faces the break-up of the BAA airports operation it bought a year or two back. But, as this was financed by ever-more expensive debt totalling almost €12 billion, this might actually be a bit of relief for them. Especially as the credit crunch has closed off refinancing options. Meanwhile, they’ve made a handsome turn on flogging off the duty-free shops to an Italian company and so turned in highly increased profits for 2007. Which looks rather like poor timing to me. But probably inescapable.

An enterprising thief recently used the scaffolding around the lovely Peregrina church in central Pontevedra to get access to and then make off with the copper wire that ran up to the lightening conductor. I guess he was eventually caught as, otherwise, we wouldn’t know he was a dastardly Frenchman. Is there any other sort?

Finally – My commiserations to those in the UK who experienced floods yesterday after I’d said May had been a very dry month there. And my congratulations to the good folk of southern Galicia, who had sun yesterday and who awoke [or returned home] this morning to a glorious dawn. Time to cut the overgrown lawns and hedges. Under one of which, incidentally, one of the local semi-wild felines has given birth to three kittens. Well, they wouldn’t be puppies, would they? Nice for the rats to have something to compete with.


Sierra said...

Didn't realize we were in the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) area of the Eurozone

Diego said...

I´m not sure the low Chavez ratings are because of his relationship with FARC, i bet that is actually a plus here in what you would mildly call left of centre Spain, maybe it has something to do with oil prices or ETA.

By the way, did you know Venezuela imported 1.5 Billion dollars worth of oil last year?

Brendan said...

In regards to the switching off of air-conditioning. May I suggest sitting outside? Maybe your local bar/cafe has taken upon itself to become more environmentally friendly... ;)

Mark said...

Wasn't Zap going to kick-start the economy by giving everyone 400 Euros back? At least he (theorectically) can ride out the bad times (although I fear they may last longer than 4 years). El Gordo has no chance. At the moment I can't see what Dave has up his sleeve that will make things change for the better. There again, he's probably keeping his "policies to save the economy" secret to prevent NuLab stealing them.

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