Wednesday, November 04, 2009

If there is anything good about a hangover, it’s that you can be pretty sure it will pass with time. Or as Dean Martin allegedly put it, “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. Because they know that, when they wake up, that’s the best they’re going to feel all day”.

The right-of centre PP party has joined the bandwagon and, after years of very public instances, has finally pronounced that something must be done about corruption. But the (left-of-centre) El País dismisses its proposals as ‘ethereal’. I guess the socialist PSOE party will be along with theirs soon. Especially as the latest headline case involves their Catalan section. As for the public attitude to corruption – and perhaps explaining why there’s been so much foot-dragging – one of main papers today confirmed what we all know – that voters are switched off far more by internal party wrangling and disunity than by regular reports of financial skulduggery. Or right-of-centre voters at least.

All of which reminds me I’ve been meaning to mention a recent survey of the declared assets of Señor Zapatero’s cabinet. As I recall, the totals ranged from a high of around 5 million to a low of 60,000 euros. The former belonged to a relatively minor, but rich, Ministress and the latter to one of the Vice-Presidents, Señor Chaves. As the latter had been President of the Andalucian government for almost 30 years, revelation of his (lack of) wealth was greeted with universal incredulity. Or, as one paper put it, writing about the survey as a whole, “with stupefaction, anger and even hilarity”.

My latest gas bill arrived today. It wasn’t too bad but I knew this already, as the money went out of my account two weeks ago. Which seems the wrong way round to me. The same thought occurred when I read that Spain’s shopkeepers will soon allowed to add 1% to the bills of customers using a credit card. The alleged reason is to force the banks to reduce their charges. But why should they, if they get passed on to the customer? Anyway, what chances now of growth in the country’s black economy? For which no one, by the way, seems to believe the official figure of 20% of the total?

Another 20% figure which is highly questioned is that of Spain’s unemployment. But in this case it’s felt to be too high, not too low. This is because the Andalucian component is generally felt to be overstated, thanks to ‘Spanish practices’ down there.

I think I may have to go away long before December 25th. I’m not sure I can take much more of Tesco wishing me Happy Christmas every hour or so at the start of November.

Finally . . . Quote of the Week:

Most of us have a lot better to do that read blogs every day.
- Travel writer, Paul Theroux, speaking about criticisms of his work.

Not all blogs, obviously.

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