The Business Section of El País today avers that Spain’s chances of recovering as quickly as she might from the recession are hampered by the fact the Government is being vacillatory while the Opposition is rendered ineffective by a fratricidal internal struggle. Which is just another way of saying what I wrote yesterday, I like to think.
In sharp contrast to Spain - where the government’s popularity is more than merely surviving the economic downturn – Britain’s governing Labour party now looks irretrievably doomed. Just a year or so ahead of general elections, all recent polls put them miles behind the Opposition Conservative party. One commentator has suggested the only surprising thing about this is that it’s been so long coming.
On a wider front, talk of protectionism is inevitably in the air - even in Britain, which has traditionally played rather more by the level-playing-field rules than most other nations, including its EU partners. Especially its EU partners. Which is all just an excuse to lift this joke from one of today’s papers – “To stem a flood of Japanese bicycles the French decreed that henceforth each machine had to be individually tested. OK, said the Japanese. Not at the port of entry, but in the remote provincial town of Poitiers, the French specified. OK, sighed the Japanese. And by a French Olympic medallist, the French insisted. OK, groaned the Japanese. Unfortunately, said the French, there aren't any French cycling medallists.”
The local police are referred to around here - and possibly everywhere else in Spain- as payasos, or clowns. But it’s be hard to beat the stupidity of two members of the better-regarded national police force, the Guardia Civil, who not only fooled around with three young women in and near their car but allowed them to take pictures of the proceedings. Which, of course, we can now all enjoy at our leisure.
So . . . is this the first sign of an answer to my regular question about how long it will be before we see evidence Spain is becoming less europhilic. Assuming you regard Cataluña as part of Spain, of course.
Talking of signs . . . Here’s one on Pontevedra’s inner ring, just before a large roundabout/circle . . .
But why? Well, it may help to explain why, after 8 years, I remain mystified as to how one is supposed to go through a roundabout in Spain. The inference to be drawn from the lines is that you can stay in either lane if you’re going straight on. But the evidence of my own eyes is that all drivers here are taught to get into the right-hand lane if they’re going straight on. And even if they’re turning left! In fact, I’ve seen them doing this even when executing a U-turn. Given what will happen if you stay in the left-hand lane to go straight on and the car on your right is turning left, perhaps it’s no great surprise that roundabouts account for the highest percentage of accidents here in Galicia. And possibly in the rest of Spain as well. Does anyone know what the law says? Not that this is always very relevant here, of course. Unless you want to avoid one of the ever-rising number of fines being handed out by the revenue-hungry traffic police.
Finally, here’s an article which suggests the British are on the verge of rising up against what I’ve been calling for years the country’s very own brand of corruption – feather-bedding by civil servants. Maybe. We will see.