El País today reports that the smaller members are ganging up to stop Mr Blair (memorably a ‘gilipollas integral’) being elected the first President of the EU. Our Tony is not universally loved in the UK either, as this amusing article shows. Another piece in the same paper – from a left-of-centre commentator – argues that Blair’s (dubious) qualities are just what Europe needs. But you’ll have to dig out this for yourselves. The writer does say, though, that “It’s by no means in the bag. Front-runners rarely win these jobs. The one-blackball system tends to favour dullards and mediocrities: often former Benelux leaders.” Personally, I tend to the view that, whatever they say in public, the big beasts of Europe will not want to be overshadowed by a well-known personality in their dealings with Washington, Moscow and Beijing. In other words, as in so many other fields, the outcome will be the result of the pettiest of feelings.
BTW - Any perceived pun between gilipollas and 'member' in the last paragraph was totally unintended.
Yesterday I touched on the subject of Economics, disagreeing with Edward Hugh that this ‘science’ had recently become less dismal. In the way these things happen, I read in this article this morning that Economics is moving away from the discredited obsession with mathematical models to “re-create an academic discipline capable of explaining reality and offering useful advice to policymakers facing unexpected events.” Let’s hope so. Without holding our breath.
I mentioned the other day that Spanish banks continue to offer all sorts of gifts as inducements to the opening of an account. Usually household goods of some sort. I see this has now been taken to an extreme which is possibly logical when interest rates are so low. Banco Pastor is offering a deposit which rewards you, after 12 or 18 months, not with cash but with a whole set of domestic appliances, or a flat-screen TV, or a sewing machine, or jet spray, etc.
Talking of banks, I’ve now transferred my savings from one bank in town to another. And in doing so have discovered a useful tip – Don’t make the transfer yourself, as at least your ex-bank with charge you for this. Handsomely. And possibly your new one as well, though this abominable practice seems to have died out. If your new bank makes the transfer request, it costs you nothing. Now, the only question is whether, between them, they’ll take less than 6 working days to move the cash across the five metres that separates them. Even if this is done by the pressing of a couple of keyboard keys. And even if I could move the cash myself in less than an hour. Incidentally, and perhaps wrongly, I went for the cash, at 3.2%. Or almost three times what my existing bank could offer. Were they relying on inertia? Or personal fidelity? God forbid.
Walking past the library today, I noticed there was an exhibition in the hall. This turned out to be about the Galician language, Gallego. And it dealt in some depth on its origins, rise, decline and its resurgence of recent centuries. I read some of the panels and brought home the literature to read at leisure. Given that much of this was about the suppression of the language, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel sympathetic towards the protection and development of Gallego. But I’ve already said, on Sunday, that I do. Feel sympathetic, I mean. Not that I have a heart of stone. Anyway, the fact it was all in Gallego left me wondering just who the target audience was. Surely, there must be some desire to change the attitudes of speakers of Spanish. Unless, I suppose, you really want to reach the children and young adults using the library. Or maybe the simple answer is that the exhibition wouldn’t have got finance from the various sponsor organisations and councils if Spanish translations were given.
Finally . . . Apologies to anyone who wanted to make comments to this blog but didn’t want to register. I really only wanted to (reluctantly) initiate Moderation but it seems I (unwittingly) restricted access in the process.