The PP corruption saga I labelled the National Soap Opera has just taken a rather unexpected turn, in what must be Act 8 or 9. The crusading leftist judge who’s been persecuting the right-of-centre Opposition, has been accused of tax evasion around US earnings. As I understand it, the charge has come from within the judicial system, where - of course - there are right-wing as well as left-wing judges in a very politicised establishment. The Spanish political cockpit is a raucous and rumbustious arena and one can’t help wondering whether this is the price being paid for disturbing one of the nests of vipers. Or should that be 'nexus'?
Addressing said PP corruption issue - on which it majored before the recent elections - El País on Sunday was honest enough to say it didn’t seem to have played much of a part in the decision-making of the electorate. None at all might be a more accurate comment. It’s tempting to conclude that the voters in, say, Galicia don’t simply care much about skulduggery in Madrid or Valencia but even this isn’t to go far enough. Reports of support given by local residents for mayors accused of corruption suggest it’s actually seen as a good reason to continue voting for him/her. Sometimes Spain does rather seem like a patchwork of the 18th and 21st centuries.
Which is a thought which also struck me when I read that the country’s pharmacies will soon be operating a computerised system that will do away with the mountains of paper that always need to be processed for all the customers ahead of me in the queue. Though not in my own case as – being prematurely retired - I don’t have social security and am forced to hand over the full price for everything in return for a simple prescription. Or verbal request.
I suggested recently that, if the property market is to pick up when the current stock of unsold dwellings is exhausted some time in 2012, then constructors really should be starting on new builds around now. In contrast, Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight [see link] tells us that none of the major developers started a single property in December or January and, probably, February. So there could be a period of famine once the feast has finally petered out. Or will the prices of the last remaining houses and flats start to soar in 2011, when it becomes crystal clear no one will be able to buy anything in 2012. And are things ever as neat and as predictable as this?
There was an interesting development around Gibraltar recently. One of the radio channels claimed that Britain had conceded the place to the Spanish and that Spain had ceded its North African enclaves to Morocco. They then interviewed people for their reactions. Which elicited some nice anti-British comments, apparently. Good, clean fun.
Having touched on Spanish cronyism yesterday, it’s only fair I cite this article on the UK equivalent. British corporatism doesn’t take quite the same form perhaps - being less concerned with personal fortunes - but it’s still corruption. As the writer says, “It involves big government inviting big business into bed and then taking decisions which the principal players call the public interest but is actually their own interest. It may not begin as a giant conspiracy against taxpayers and voters, but that's quickly where this kind of politics leads. So, private shareholders get stitched up, parliament discusses the consequences barely at all, voters can only look on and the opposition seems not very exercised by it all.”
Finally, a couple of pix of the attempt by one of my neighbours to squeeze her large Audi into a small space.
From the front . . .
And, better perhaps, from the back . . .