Saturday, October 10, 2009

The President of the Valencian government – a leading light in the PP opposition party – has been embroiled in a major corruption case. At his trial, the judge – a close friend, apparently – accepted his rather implausible defence and stopped the proceedings. Now it’s reported that 53% of Valencianos think their President lied. This is truly shocking. Can the other 47% possibly be so gullible? Whatever the answer to this is, the most interesting news is that, despite everything, the PP party would gain 6 seats if there were an election tomorrow.

Talking of corruption . . . it looks like the Galician government will be paying back to the EU most of what it got after the Prestige oil disaster along our coast seven years ago. The Xunta received a total of 969m euros for cleaning up the mess. But the EU has now said that this was ‘exaggerated’ to the tune of a mere 703m. I say ‘corruption’ but perhaps it was merely inefficiency on a spectacular scale.

Recently, reader Moscow has been trying to convince me that all European countries and cultures - including Britain - are essentially the same. I find this hard to accept. No more so than after reading this sort of stuff. Not that I would want to live in the UK, of course. It certainly is different in some ways that don’t appeal to me.

Spain’s Ministress of the Economy has said that she can’t rule out the reinstatement of the recently abolished wealth tax (El Patrimonio). Which presumably means its return is guaranteed.

But the good news is that Galicia is to become the epicentre of wine tourism. At least temporarily. There is a new Galician association and this will host a major event (Enotur) here in Pontevedra 5-8 December. I wonder if they have a native speaker to translate their brochures. Well, of course they do. But they won’t use him or her. Or even me if I offer to do the translation for free. Anyway, here’s a web page dedicated to Galician wine.

Finally . . . Developments with Tagged.com continue to almost surprise me. Women of all ages and nationalities have been contacting me on a daily basis and yesterday I had my first message from a young guy who “likes to have relationships with men of your age”. Today came a letter from Andy B, who’s an accountant in London with access to a large amount of money which he’d like to give me a chunk of. As the time had obviously come to become un-taggable, I cancelled my account this evening. Sorry, ladies. And gents. And shysters of either gender.


moscow said...


I will start stating - as I have done in the past - that I believe Spain is more corrupt than the UK.
I said that before and I repeat that again.

Measuring corruption is difficult and subjective. The only internationally recognized ranking published annually is the Transparency International Index - concocted by some serious minded Germans - which actually has many detractors. In it Spain is ranked well bellow Britain. But Spain is not amongst the world's most corrupt countries. If you believe the index it is among the world's least corrupt, in the top 25-30 of a total of 150.

If we discard the index, all one can do, is what you do, which is read "El Mundo" and "El Pais", or go to the next bar and engage in gossip with some locals, or read on the web the wailings of some monogloth Britons left stranded on a far away Costa.

I am afraid that I will have to be harsh with you. Despite your apparent bonhomie and lightness of being, you can be quite dishonest when it comes to argumentating your views. And half-truths seem to be your trademark.

You write about the corruption case within the PP. Granted it makes for depressing reading. Granted it is not the only one in Spain. Granted this is being handled incorrectly. But Spain is not the sort of country where corruption pays off. I find it ever more baffling when I read about things like these because the last 30 years have seen many a political career end up on the skids, and quite a few corrupt individuals behind bars. And no doubt, this case will finish the same. Camps is a political corps, even if personally, I still have some doubts that he was fully aware of all what was going around him. Anyway, he should have resigned - and I agree that in the UK he would have been left tending his garden a long time ago.

You also don't say, that, would another leader, different from the hapless Rajoy lead the PP, and would there not be the recent corruption scandals, the lead over the PSOE would be 15%-20%, not 4%.

I am pinning my hopes - a faint hope I admit - on UPyD benefiting from the fall-out.

I also realise that recent events in Italy do not only make Italians look bad. They cast a shadow over Spain. Which is an additional reason for wishing Berlusconi dead. But Italy is a baffling place. I don't understand all that Camorra and Mafia thing. I would, if Italy were a third world country. I would if Italy hadn't so many other things going for it. A home-grown world-beating manufacturing industry for a start.
But, as I said, I have stopped understanding Italy a long time ago.

All the above doesn't substantiate your argument that different European nations cannot live together under one roof, or why the Lisbon Treaty would not improve matters. I have also, many times, stated that there is much work to be done in the EU. It's far from perfect. It is a work in progress. Complex and difficult. But that doesn't mean it is not worthwhile.

Finally, Britain, is not exempt from corruption. Britain has a long history of corruption. I would encourage you to open up wikipedia (if nothing better is at hand) and read about Britain's highly corrupt political life in the mid-19th century. Corruption was then not just systemic, it was a way of life. The fact that - through political reform - Britain managed to leave those days behind should be encouraging for other countries. I don't think it will take that long for Spain to reach better standards. Certainly not the 100 years or so it took Britain from 1832 to 1928.

If I would want to use your methods of argumentation I'd just paste here and now what I found by doing a search in google on "Corruption & Britain". But I'd hope I'd know better than to do that.

Eamon said...

Sometimes I wonder if it is down to how the person understands corruption. For example it would appear to me that Spain doesn't see corruption as others see it. Perhaps it is seen as perks as long as you don't take too many. When I worked in London I had a job where we paid our own daily travel expenses and claimed them the following morning. It use to amaze me that some people claimed for a four pence bus ride when in fact they only paid a fare of threepence. I didn't grow up in Britain so I thought it was morally wrong but they claimed it was a perk of the job. I never claimed for anything other than what I spent. Just a thought for the argument.

Colin Davies said...


I have no problem with any of your points about corruption, though I hardly think it matters what 19th century Britain was like. Surely, it's more important that things aren't the same now. Unless, of course, you mean to say 21st century is more like 19th century Britain. Which I rather doubt.

But one question - and 3 related supplementary questions - immedaiatly leap to mind in response to your statement that corruption doesn't pay in Spain - Wasn't the biggest fraud in EU history the Spanish jute/flax fraud of the (?)late 90s, in which the family of the Spanish Ministress of Agriculture was implicated? Wasn't she kicked upstairs to an EU Commissioner position? Was anyone sent to jail for this? Was the fine ever paid by the Spanish government?

As to whether I deal in half-truths or not, I leave this to others. As I've said on many occasions, you get what it says on the tin - Thoughts from Galicia. If you disagree with them, I have no problem and, as you can see, I don't censure any rejections of them. Even from Cade. I make no claim for total objectivity. And it is a guaranteed certainty that some of my observations are off-beam and my thoughts wrong. But, hey, I'm in the entertainment business, not politics. I'm not running for office.

Actually, I did have one thought in case you wrote again. Let's get specific. You give me your opinion on how Spain and the UK are the same (beyond the macro level of being populated by humans, of course) and I will tell you how I think they materially differ.

Then others can chip in as they like.

PS. I tried your claim that Britain gets its culture from Europe on my visitor. His response - "Would that it were true. We don´t get enough of it."

PPS Which Costa do I go to to get the wailings of some monoglot Brits left stranded there? Have you decided to match my half-truths with some full untruths of your own? Ditto the local bar gossip.

Colin Davies said...

21st century Spain

Colin Davies said...

And 'censor', not 'censure'.