Friday, October 17, 2008

I heard an interview with the PP president of the Madrid region - Espe Aguirre - on the radio this morning. If nothing else, she's an able politician. Which is not necessarily a compliment, of course. But I was somewhat distracted by the mental image of a shadowy figure in the background chucking bricks, hurling darts and sticking needles in a voodoo doll. At first I thought it was Graeme from South of Watford but then I realised I don't know what he looks like. So it might well have been her party leader, Marion Rajoy.

The financial crisis - Here's an article for all those who think the British got too bloody arrogant under the boastful Messrs Blair and Brown of New Labour, written by a [breast-beating] member of that party, I believe. And here's a brief comment from the estimable Daniel Hannan on GB's Master-of-the-Universe rescue plan. Finally, here's something for those with a serious interest in bank performances to get their teeth into. Surely there's someone out there who can make a better fist of informed analysis than I could. Charles?

There's a love-in going on at the moment between said Gordon Brown and President Zapatero, essentially because the former supports the case for the presence of the latter at an upcoming meeting of the politicians who allowed the world to get into its current mess. At their own meeting this week, they agreed on the continuing importance of fighting global warming but I wonder whether President Z was rude enough to admit he doesn't share GB's belated conversion to the nuclear option. Or perhaps he felt it would be embarrassing to remind the British premier that his country's nuclear industry would soon be entirely in the hands of the French. Who already own much of the UK's utilities industry, of course.

I mentioned yesterday that football was Spain's primary unifying force. So, you'd think that with something this important the TV scheduling would allow for at least a bit of match analysis, either in the middle or at the end. Or both. But with Spain v. Belgium - an excellent match - what we got was neither. Just ads and then straight into the following program, which had been repeatedly trailed during the game. Money talks. Boringly in this case.

On the question of unity [and banking . . .], someone has said they hope Spain's infamous 'localism' doesn't get in the way of sensible Caja/Caixa mergers across regional boundaries. Fat chance, I would have thought. Especially a fusion of operations in, say, Cataluña and Castile y León.

I've long wanted to write this - Spain is different . . . . Some folk can presumably recall what they were doing at the time. Possibly because of the irregular motion of the train. Don't you just love the bit about the regulations.


The Galician Nationalist Block [the BNG] has upset its coalition partner by suggesting that - the economic crisis notwithstanding - the big issue of the moment is getting all the local parties to re-state their commitment to the 'normalisation of language'. And why not? There's an election coming up and these things must take precedence over, say, unemployment. Though only today this was reported to again be the number one concern of the Spanish public. Not all of whom have a vote in Galicia, of course.

Finally, here's more about the book I mentioned yesterday.


Graeme said...

"I realised I don't know what he looks like"

That's why it was a shadowy figure Colin, although it's got harder to be first in the queue for the stoning since Mariano decided he wanted to join in.

Charles Butler said...

Just consider the numbers to be relative probabilities of the success of national governments when it comes to bailing out the banking system - expressed as odds against. The total of 1000 for all Icelandic banks tells you alot about the current outcome and the 775 for two Swiss banks explains the tenor of previous comments here. Note that the total for Spain doesn't include La Caixa, Caja Madrid or the multitude of their lesser brethren.

If you assume that Santander is not suicidally optimistic and that BBVA not similarly misguided in doubling (or maybe tripling) its Chinese investment, maybe they can be stricken from the list for irrelevant - something that couldn't be done with RBS or Halifax, Fortis or, now, ING.

Beyond that, they merely put all that up to shock and amaze readers.

Then again...

Colin said...

Thanks, Charles.