Friday, December 26, 2008

There’s good news for Brits struggling with the financial crisis and the low pound – the atrocious summers of the last few years may well be a thing of the past. Allegedly, the cause of these has been a combination of 1. mischief on the part of the current called La Niña, 2. a weakened Gulf Stream, and 3. irregular sunspot activity. All these are now said to have got their acts together, meaning British summers will soon be as hot and dry as they've always been. Until, that is, Global Warming makes them halfway decent.

Here in Spain, President Zapatero has continued to play Santa Claus in his one-to-one meetings with the 17 regional presidents on the issue of regional finance. Apparently with some success. As El Mundo puts it today, the presidents of those rich regions where the opposition party rules have backed his per-capita-based proposals and the presidents of the poor regions where the governing party rules have imposed a vow of silence on themselves. The suspicion is that, as regards the latter, Sr Z has done what the British government did with the doctors who opposed the nationalisation of the health service in 1948 and "stuffed their mouths with gold” in some other form. Or he may just have threatened to break their legs. Either way, no one has any idea whether the sums will add up as no figures have yet been issued. And possibly won’t be until after imminent elections in the Basque Country and Galicia.

The price of crude oil is reported to have fallen to 35 dollars a barrel. This news is even more exciting than it is welcome. For regular commentator Moscow has predicted that, once it gets down to 30, Russia will start to implode. Something I felt sure we wouldn’t see. In fact, the price has fallen 78% over a relatively short period, leaving me scratching my head as to why petrol has only fallen 26% at the pumps. But I guess it makes sense to someone.

As I’ve said, it’s not exactly rare for politicians to call each other a liar in Spain. But possibly a new low was reached in the Galician parliament this week, when the president of this august institution called a member of the opposition a ‘dickhead’. Or gilipolla. The president is, by the way, a woman, though clearly no lady. Which is a sentence you can’t actually write in Spanish. Or any other language which deals in genders, I guess.

Previewing the TV offerings for New Year’s Eve, a Spanish critic today conveyed his feelings with the headline – “Another night for the DVD”. Which I’d have thought was a pretty all-purpose comment, frankly. His is certainly not a job I'd ever envy.

One sometimes gets the impression the Spanish central government and, even more so, the regional governments in Valencia, Andalucia and Murcia don’t much care about the reputation which Spain now has in the country which supplies most of its tourists and foreign residents. Whether or not this is true, things won’t be helped by the latest revenue-raising exercise described in this article.

And talking of Andalucia and concern about what’s been going on down there, if you’re reading this in that part of Spain, you might want to think about attending the event described here. Especially if it might be you next.

Things were surprisingly quiet next door last night. It’s possible one factor was Tony’s laryngitis - about which the neighbour on his other side and I had a good laugh a couple of days ago – but it’s also possible that the family was dining in La Coruña. The evidence for this was the two toll receipts I found on the pavement this morning, showing that someone left there at 5.30 this morning. Hardly unusual in a Spanish post-prandial context, of course.

Finally, here's another of the tunings I see around town. A blue companion for the red one of a few days ago. And another fan of Andalucian music, I believe.

On second thoughts . . . don't all models of this car have this ridiculous rear spoiler?


David Jackson said...

Never mind all the nonsense about boat taxes (I don't own a boat).

I just want to know why Mr Maxted & wife Janet (50) decided to call their gin palace "Bigamist"?

Midnight Golfer said...

The Subaru company sells plenty versions of the Impreza, with and without the ridiculous and self-defeating spoiler. There's even a hatchback Impreza.
This photo shows the version called WRX and I think you're right, all the WRX's do seem to have a wing on the trunk. (They are almost always blue as well.)

Anonymous said...

Yes Colin, and according to some reports it already is in recession, which might or might not be an accurate definition of implosion.

Colin said...

Thanks, MG. I thought it was a Subaru but did't want to make a pblic guess.

Colin said...

Hola, Moscow.

Possibly. But I had visions of riots in the streets. Perhaps I shouldn't say I'm disappointed it's only a common or garden recession.

Best wishes for 2009.

moscow said...

I see....You were thinking
Unfortunately, it will take much more than a simple recession to make Russians budge. And no one wishes unrest. I don't. Then again, I often find myself wishing Russians wake up one day and put an end to this charade. Oh well, every nation has the government it deserves. Or so they say.

Feliz 2009, Colin.

Lenox said...

Hi Colin - thanks for the plug about the protest in Almería. I'm in Madrid at the moment - so it's 'revolution at a distance'.
The Spanish are shooting themselves in the foot about the pressure against the Northern Europeans, who bring it good money and help keep the coastal (and interior) pueblos afloat. The protest needs support from as many as possible!!

Colin said...

To my shame, yes. Though expecting, rather than hoping.

Some people don't have much choice, of course, about the government they do or don't deserve. The poor Zimbabweans, for example. It's encouraging to know you think the Russians could actually do something about what's happening, if they wanted to.

Colin said...


Good old Hefferlump . . .

Britain must stand up to Russia this year

Never one to let a party go unpooped, our old pal “President” Medvedev of Russia, Vlad Putin’s glove puppet, spends Christmas Eve threatening and bullying neighbouring countries about how they risk having their gas taps switched off by his mighty nation. Since many of Russia’s kleptocrats have taken the most almighty bath in the credit crunch, and the country itself is impoverished by the collapse in energy prices, any such action would merely cut off Russia’s nose to spite its face. The swagger Russia had when it steamrollered Georgia in August was funded by oil at $150 a barrel. Oil at less than $40 a barrel requires Russia to boast and assert itself in some other, and possibly more extreme, way.

However it is done, pressure will be put on countries like Georgia, Ukraine and the Baltic States this year to do what Russia wants and, therefore, to make it look powerful. When that does happen our choice will be to look the other way or face down this prime threat to world peace. I wish I could be sure which we will do

Colin said...


Just saw this, with references to Russia. Though, as I recall, you are not an admirer of the writer.