Saturday, June 28, 2008

By some strange coincidence, the Ministresses for Equality in both Britain and Spain are making headline news at the same time. The former – Harriet Harman - has announced a controversial law which introduces ‘gender audits’ into businesses operating in the UK. Which rather suggests the predicted ‘post bureaucratic age’ is still some way off. The latter - Bibiana Aído – has made yet another gaffe, this time about Muslim women and their veils being in conflict with the rights of women. For this, she was unceremoniously stamped on by the never-off-the-front-page Vice President, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega Sanz. The Spanish Government, she avows, respects the tradition of the Islamic veil as it doesn’t infringe any Spanish laws. Earlier in the week, Ms Aído had come under fire for suggesting there should be libraries confined to books written only by women. She really does seem bent on proving that being of only 31 añitos and having had responsibility for flamenco dancing down in Andalucia are not really an adequate preparation for a post in the Spanish cabinet. This show could run. And at least it’s a distraction from the plethora of dreadful economic statistics.

I wonder whether Spain’s peseta wouldn’t have been devalued by now if it weren’t a member of the Euro club. Does the country really benefit from a bank rate in excess of 5%? And a currency which has risen 15% against that of its main tourism customers in the UK and stayed at par with the currency of those in Germany? Is the Spanish government really free to implement the measures demanded by its critics? As I really don’t know the answers to these questions, I invite more qualified readers to express their views on them.

The Basque government is now very close to holding its planned referendum on, shall we say, looser ties with the Spanish state. The government of the latter [as well, as yet, the former] will be asking the Constitutional Court for a view as to whether this a legal or illegal development. I don’t know about you but I’d be prepared to bet my house it’s the latter. Not that this will change anything at all in the near term. Another show that will run and run.

Talking of houses - In Spain each municipality has an office which deals specifically with your ‘immovable’ property, called the Catastro. Visiting mine this week, I was pleasantly surprised to find it had a direct line I could call with future queries. That this was a premium rate number surprised me rather less. After all, there’s hardly a service provider in the country which doesn’t think this is appropriate treatment for its actual or potential customers.

Last word on the EU and its Treaty which is not really a Constitution – A couple of days ago, an editorial in El Pais opined it’s now an absolute – if not existential – priority that the Reflection Group finds an answer to the question of how to increase popular support for the process of integration. And yesterday the paper’s columnist, Carlos Mendo, suggested the Irish ‘No’ heralded the triumph of democracy over bureaucracy. Blimey. Things may be changing quicker than I suggested only yesterday. Perhaps the parallels drawn between the EU Commission and Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe are striking home.

Galicia Facts

It’s reported there are ten applications for each of the licences for huge new wind farms in our region/nation. One wonders why. Is there a massive Green imperative here? Or can it be a highly attractive financial proposition?

Every summer brings a new crop of professional beggars to Pontevedra, to swell the ranks of the all-weather, more-amateur veterans of the town. Yesterday I was accosted by a well-dressed young man sporting a man-bag and a large gut and asking for the price of a sandwich. I told him he’d clearly had too many of these already and suggested he push off. Or words to this effect.

I’ve received an offer of 600 dollars for 600,000 words of my blog in Gallego. I’d be happy to pass this on to anyone willing to translate same. But I warn you that my efforts so far this year amount to a mere 102,000 words. Or 167 pages of text. I work the offer out to be 0.08 centimos a word. So it really would be a labour of love. Any takers? It would surely look great on the CV of any aspiring Nationalist politician.


Tom said...

I guess that Aído spends her time attacking Muslims and spouting nonsense because it's easier than dealing with the massive pay imbalance which affects women here. Also, ethnic minorities need a lot more protection and equality here... maybe she thought she was just there for the women. Certainly, her blog never mentions improving race equality.

Sierra said...

I assume you are one of those saving your X-prefixed (German-printed) euro notes, and rapidly spending your V-prefixed (Spanish) ones.

Colin said...

I am now that I know this!

mike the trike said...

try this site

mike the trike said...

Sorry I have to break up that ref so I hope this works

José Ramón said...

600$ for 600,000 words = 0.08 cents per word.

I guess you are a lawyer.

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