Monday, December 01, 2008

If you’re not yet sufficiently worried about the global economic situation, here’s something that should do the trick.

A while back I suggested the EU would come out of this mess either a lot stronger or a lot weaker. Mrs Merkel’s defiance of conventional wisdom might suggest it will the latter but the writer of this article says it’s “too early to conclude whether Europe's monetary union is a source of stability, or is itself a doomsday machine. The rift between North and South is growing. The spreads on Greek, Irish, Italian, Austrian, and Belgian debt remain stubbornly high. The lack of a unified EU treasury has become glaringly clear. And Germany has refused to underpin the system with a fiscal blitz.” So, we will see.

For those interested, click here for a profile of the Spanish president, Señor Zapatero. I’ve admitted a couple of times I wouldn’t like his domestic challenges so I was interested to see that the writer saw him as “a great political strategist that knows how to fight the political battles of his time in a country which is extremely difficult to rule.” I was also intrigued that a socialist politician would say:- “Free citizens do not wait for the Government to solve their problems but demand that the Government provide them with the resources necessary to solve them.” But I guess it depends on what ‘resources’ means, if it doesn’t mean their own money.

One of today’s Spanish papers has the first article I’ve seen on the Spanish girl – Ruth Lorenzo – who made it to the last five on The X Factor show in the UK. According to the writer, she went out on Saturday night because Simon Cowell played the national card and because she didn’t speak English as well as the other contestants. In other words, because of British anti-Spanishness. Which is odd as, firstly, she spoke English better than several of her colleagues and, secondly, the allegedly anti-Spanish Cowell had been her biggest fan throughout and had saved her from going out the previous week. But I guess we all see what we want to see. Ruth herself played things impressively, having previously expressed amazement that she had stayed in so long despite having no city or region – country even – to vote for her.

Musing today on why there isn’t an amateur dramatics society in Pontevedra, it struck me just how hard it would be to fit in readings and rehearsals if you don’t get home until 9 or 9.30pm and have your evening meal at 10. It’s that old lost 3 hours in the middle of the day – the dead hour. When it’s good to do your travelling. Or your architectural sightseeing. Or go to the [empty] beach.

Galicia

No wonder the Galicians feel hard done by. Here’s a comment from a major British paper on an appalling case of domestic violence that’s rather too close to home . . . “Spain's interior ministry has launched an investigation into the possible failure of the GPS bracelet fitted to the man before leaving A Lama prison, Pontevedra - in Spain's northeastern region of Galicia.” Possibly the first time Galicia has been confused with Cataluña.

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