Friday, April 24, 2009

As I’m travelling this evening, here’s an early hotchpotch of stuff that will hopefully interest or amuse. But don’t overlook last night’s post. Even if it is rather long . . .

There are now four Spanish restaurants in the world’s top ten, with El Bulli again nabbing the top spot. But I must say I don’t see much evidence of this hegemony in my corner of the Iberian peninsula.

Not very surprisingly, 53% of Spaniards are reported to feel they’d be better off if they still had the peseta, instead of the euro. Only in Portugal, apparently, is the degree of dissatisfaction with the level of protection provided by the single currency greater than it is in Spain. I guess many people feel an inevitable devaluation would have saved the day, not understanding that this is exactly what joining the eurozone was intended to prevent. I wonder how many of them are aware of the painful restructuring of the Spanish economy that was/is also planned but which Sr Zapatero naturally seems unwilling to engage with just now. Mañana, perhaps.

Great to see old Ambrose back, taking a view on the plight of the UK. Apparently, the good news is that Britain goes into the slump with a lower level of sovereign debt than some G7 countries. Though perhaps things don’t look quite as rosy after the recent Budget announcement.

As my stints in the wi-fi cafés show, it takes a lot to stop the Spanish eating and drinking out. But, in this, they still rank behind the Greeks and the Portuguese. As Portugal’s recession started several years before everyone else’s, this is a bit of a mystery to me. Perhaps it’s another reflection of the ‘submerged economy’ (black market) which thrives in each of these.

Finally, another depressing portrayal of British society. You don’t have to be a rug-chewing fascist to have deep regrets about what has been done to the UK culture in the few years since I was a boy. Or to fear that there are no easy ways to reverse the situation.

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