Now, be honest – Have you ever heard of Herman Van Rompuy? Probably not but it appears he’s first in line for the Presidency of the EU. Having gained valuable experience as Prime Minister of that eminently successful union, Belgium. The bureaucrats’ bureaucrat, one imagines.
Well, El Mundo reports today that the Spanish public purse has been robbed of at least 4.2 billion euros in the last decade through corruption on the part of the country’s politicians. And, in a long editorial, the paper offers a ten-point plan for putting an end to this. I wonder if this will be any more effective than plans previously proposed to deal with the scandal of Spain’s massive prostitution industry.
Incidentally, I had a small sign of the relentless growth in the latter when returning from lunch on Friday, through the lanes in a local village. In the spot on a bend where there used to be just one (astonishingly unprepossessing) woman, there were now three rather large and gaudy African ‘ladies’. Business must be good. Perhaps because there’s a new Lidl store a hundred metres away.
Briefly back to corruption . . . El Mundo says that, in a survey of readers, 89% believed their town hall to be corrupt. One wonders about the 11% who didn’t. Are they spread evenly around the country, possibly including (or just comprising) the town idiot in each case? Or are they aggregated in the one blessed place in Spain where the members of the council are actually honest?
All foreigners living in Spain who have two first names and just one surname (i. e. most of them) will have experienced difficulty in getting their identity across to Spanish bureaucrats. And may even have been told they don’t actually exist as the computer can’t find them. This is because the custom in Spain is one first name and two surnames. Anyway, I thought of problems like this today when going through a box of old stuff for the (expurgated) autobiography I’m writing for my daughters. Specifically, when I came across the following versions of my name - one from the USA and one from Iran:-
In case you can't read this, it says Devil Colin Devies. Put very briefly, this one arises from the difficulty of transcribing Farsi letters into English when someone has written them badly. And because vowels are not written and so the word sometimes has to be guessed at.
Finally . . . I also came across the following and felt it appropriate to share it with you:-
A Prayer for the Stressed
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I cannot accept and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those I had to kill today because they got on my nerves
Help me to be careful of the toes I step on as these may be connected to the feet I have to kiss tomorrow.
And help me to remember – when I am having a bad day and it seems that people are trying to wind me up – it takes 42 muscles to frown, 28 to smile and only 4 to extend my arm and smack someone in the mouth.