I’ve been wanting for a while to relate an old joke which seems to me to encapsulate the debt-packaging nonsense which got us into our current financial mess. So here it is, stripped of its original ethnicity . . .
H: Hey, S. I’m very disappointed about all those cans of baked beans you sold me last month.
S: Why is that, H?
H: Well, I was a bit peckish last night and so I opened one. But the beans were off. So I opened another one and it was off too. In fact, they all were.
S: H, my son. I disappoint you! In truth, you really disappoint me!
H: Why’s that, S?
S: Well, H, because those beans weren’t for opening and eating. They were just for buying and selling. Buying and selling.
I like to think the Romantic Economist would approve of this perspective.
The Voz de Galicia has asked its readers whether they think the government’s lax attitude to the management of Spain’s football clubs encourages corruption. The response was pretty decisive, with a mere 5% of readers saying No.
Talking of corruption . . . The crusading judge, Baltasar Garzón, now has 30-40 people under investigation, most – if not all – linked to the opposition PP party. Apart from politicians, the group includes businessmen, property developers, lawyers and constructors. The scandal - and the PP’s reaction to it - raises a number of important questions but, for me, the biggest is – Is there anyone in the country who is the slightest bit surprised at it? Followed by – Are there more than ten people in the country who really care enough to change their vote in response? But it’s good media fodder. And it’s impressive some miscreants were collared.
On the subject of elections, the first opinion poll amongst my fellow Galicia residents suggests the said PP party will see its share of the vote drop from 45 to 43%, while the socialist PSOE will rise from 32 to 33% and the Nationalist party will stay at their traditional 19%. ‘Others’ [the UpD?] will rise from 2 to 4%. The net result would be the PP losing 2 seats, with the PSOE and BNG gaining one each and staying in power as a coalition. I’m not sure how the BNG can increase its seats on the basis of the same voting percentage but there we are. And it’s still early days.
Talking of local politics and referring back to last week’s demonstration in favour of linguistic freedom here in Galicia, there’s naturally been widespread disgust at the antics of the young ‘independistas’ who showered the attendees with bottles and stones. But, as I’m now a fully-fledged conspiracy theorist, it occurred to me that this reaction is just what the PP party would have wanted. So, is it possible, their agents provocateurs initiated the hooliganism? It’s impossible to say but I was amused that members of the Commission for Language Normalisation characterised the demonstration as “A march of hate”. These, of course, are the very people responsible for initiating Galicia’s “language wars” but who claim there’s no such thing. Only persecution and victimisation.
Finally . . . Much to my relief, Monday’s gales of up to 150kph didn’t actually blow out my boiler. This, I reckon, is because they came from the south west. In contrast, it takes only the slightest of breezes from the north to snuff out the flames - when, of course, the temperatures are at their lowest. You’d think that, in 8 years, the manufacturer’s agents could have come up with at least an hypothesis, if not actually a solution. But sadly not. Though someone has suggested one of those revolving metal cowls on top of the chimney might do the trick. Or possibly cause the flames to go out even more quickly.