Monday, February 23, 2009

I have to own up to a growing belief that the extent of the global financial mess means that the EU will eventually get its act together, convert itself into a debt union and issue EU bonds - thus emerging stronger into the sunny uplands of the post recession/depression era. But it will be hard pounding, as this article about the ‘bickering in Berlin’ shows. Thank God for the hard-working Germans. And wasn’t it a German leader, Bismarck, who said that politics is concentrated economics? Well, No, as it happens. It turns out to have been Lenin. Where are the wise communists when you need them? Ironically, to help sort out the mess of pottage they bequeathed to Eastern Europe.

Thank God, too, that La Cruz finally got Anglo approbation in the form of her Oscar for best supporting actress in Vicky Christina Barcelona. I couldn’t have taken another bout of aggrieved Spanish angst. Of course, it isn’t called Vicky Christina Barcelona in Spain. The Christina gets Hispanicised into Cristina. Just as Princess Anne last week became Princesa Ana. And Prince Charles is always Principe Carlos. This is a very Spanish thing. I don’t recall ever seeing King Juan Carlos being called John Charles in the Anglosphere. Possibly because this would be to confuse him with a famous footballer of a previous generation. Here in Spain, though, places and and people foreign are rarely pronounced as they are in their home countries. As in Bordeos [Bordeaux], and Nueva York [New York], for example.

Given how things are here [see next para], it’s hard not to make more than the occasional references to both corruption and financial skulduggery in Spain. But here’s an article from an eminent British lawyer on how lax things have been in the UK in the banking/financial sphere and what needs to be done now. To protect whatever money Brits have not donated to banker welfare funds.

On the northern side of Santiago de Compostela, there’s something that might or might end up as a hugely expensive white elephant. It was begun in the era of Galicia baron, Manuel Fraga, and it’s called The City of Culture. Needless to say, there are accusations of corruption in the licensing and tendering processes. Anyway, here’s a hymn of praise to the place, possibly penned by the architect. I particularly like the bit about it being scheduled for completion in 2012.

The Galician elections drone on, with little prospect of change in the voting patterns. 38 seats are needed for an absolute majority and the conservative PP party looks like getting 36 this time round, against 37 four years ago.The latest poll shows the socialist PSOE party gaining one seat [to 26], despite its poor central handling of the economic crisis. And the nationalist BNG party is currently slated to lose one seat, ending up with 13. The only interesting thing to say is that, with a week or so to go, the PSOE and BNG coalition partners have decided to take off the gloves and have a go at each other. Their assumption must be that their joint grip on power is safe and they can only take seats from each other, rather than handing a winning two seats to the PP. But vamos a ver.

Here’s The Economist’s take on the imminent elections here and in the Basque Country. The Comments from Spanish readers offer interesting insights on the perennial issue of whether the PP party is more corrupt than the PSOE. Or vice versa.

Well, I was going to post more pix of the Pontevedra Carnaval procession but I’m rather out of sorts with the city of Pontevedra today. This is because I’ve lost another round in the ongoing War Against The Raising of Replacement Revenue by Trickery. Returning to my car at 2.15 – in a place where I’ve parked it hundreds of times in 8 years – I found a ticket on the windscreen saying I’d committed a 'grave' offence against a ‘vertical sign’ which I’ve yet to find. Not against any white or yellow lines, of course, as there certainly aren’t any of these. And the irony is I only drove to town because of a leg injury which ruled out my normal walk from across the river. I guess I should've been suspicious there were so many spaces available in the little square. The neighbours – and any earlier victims – clearly already knew the score. As I do now. What schysters they are. Though not in Madoff's class as yet.


Justin Roberts said...

I think I'm going to take a leaf out of the Spanish book and go back to calling Peking exactly what it always used to be in English: Peking. None of this floppy PC business... I think I might re-admit Bombay, Calcutta and Madras into my lexicon whilst I'm at it. I'm sure there are a few more?

Keefieboy said...

I remember 3 years ago, in an intensive Spanish class in Valencia, the teacher showed us flash cards of various well-known figures. She was most amused when we identified the Commonwealth queen and her son. Surely we should know the names of our own Royal Family.

Sierra said...

Unless there has been a considerable landslide in the last 24 hours, the City of Culture appears to be on the south-east side of the Santiago - check out Google Earth

Colin said...

Sierra. I always see it just before the exit for the north of the city, on the AP9 which runs to the east of it. So I just assumed it was on the north [east] side. Must have a closer look.

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