Monday, November 30, 2009

One or two readers have asked whether the fact there’s no Amazon subsidiary operating in Spain doesn’t say something about book reading here. I’m not so sure. It may reflect concerns about the postal system or just a more general reluctance to shop on the internet, for fear of being ripped off. As someone once said, this is a ‘low trust’ society.

AGW and 'Climategate': If you want to see how this is unfurling, this is a must-read blog. And the MSM* writer to google is James Delingpole. Will it make any real difference to the Copenhagen conflab? I rather doubt it. And maybe it shouldn't.

Still on this subject, here’s a good letter sent to the magazine which featured the special section I cited yesterday: “All of the contributions to Prospect’s climate change special assume that human activities are affecting the natural rhythms of climate; that, unchecked, the effect will become increasingly powerful; and that the damage to life on Earth will be cataclysmic and irreversible. Yet there is a substantial body of opinion that challenges these assumptions, backed by an impressive array of scientific facts. Between the two extremes there are many people like me—educated enough to be thoughtful but unqualified to make serious scientific judgements—who are concerned at the lack of any impartial debate. I had hoped that Prospect might have put this debate at the heart of its coverage, or at least acknowledged the uncertainties that seem still unresolved.”

For that professional Jeremiah, Ambrose Evans Pritchard, the EU’s basket (and test) case is now Greece, rather than Spain. But I think even he now accepts that, whatever comes down the pike, the EU will solve the problem one way or another, rather than watch a member leave the union. This must be some comfort to the Spanish government, knowing that whatever mistakes it makes – or, rather, continues to make - the EU Commission will always bale it out. I think this is called ‘moral hazard’ in the context of the banks acting with impunity. Anyway, in the case of Spain, it’s all very ironic as EU membership was meant to put it in a straitjacket and to force it to make significant structural changes to her economy. Not carry on regardless because higher political considerations would always ensure there’d be no can to carry. But we will see. Maybe Edward Hugh is right to predict things will eventually get so bad here, the EU Commission or the IMF will have to take hold of the reins of government. As the latter did for the UK in 1976.

Meanwhile . . . As this foto shows, the Palestinian scarf is just as much a fashion item this winter as it was last year. At least here in Pontevedra. It’s a little ironic, I feel, that young women seem more concerned about that benighted place than about their own lungs. Assuming, of course, they think about either of them.
Well, Ryan Giggs finally scored his 100th goal for Manchester United on Saturday. That he is still playing for this top flight team at 36 is an astonishing achievement. Which almost ranks in importance with him being the inspiration for the naming of my now-sixteen year old border collier. Though not by me, obviously. He's called Ryan, by the way. Not Giggs. Or That Skinny Welsh Bastard on the Left Wing.

* Main stream media, I believe.


Keef said...

Books: maybe there's something like the UK's long-gone Net Book Agreement operating (official price-maintenance cartel) in Espain?

Palestinos: dragged mine out of the wardrobe yesterday for the first time this winter.

Midnight Golfer said...

Are those scarves really supposed to have anything to do with Palestine? Seems they could just as easily be reminiscent of just about anything. My wife wanted me to buy her one a few years ago, so I did. Now she thinks they're ugly.
(But, the same thing happens with any fad she buys into, or to any article of clothing she wears, really... she wears it, and then it miraculously becomes ugly to her, especially if she sees someone else wearing something similar.)

Sierra said...

"..It may reflect concerns about the postal system..."

It's not so much the postal system, but the couriers here. It seems that any address off their normal route is treated as "nobody in when we called", i.e., I took it back to the office, and I'll let the recipient come and collect it.

Colin Davies said...

Possibly but Amazon stuff comes via the normal post and they leave a note. But did I understand someone correctly - Amazon are no longer mailing to Spain? I know other companies have stopped doing so. And I know that several things sent to me over the years have not arrived but have never known, of course, whether they went missing here orin the coutnry of origin. Perfect crime.

Midnight Golfer said...

There have been four items that I had to go and pick up myself, from a couple of different couriers, after having been informed that I was not in. (Since I am always "in" I can testify that either I was asleep, and the buzzer failed to awake me, or they never actually tried to deliver in the first place.)

Surprisingly, the last items that I had mailed to me from the States, a set of six spark plugs for my Golf, which also surprisingly cost half as much as they did from the next cheapest place, Germany, and a third as much as from the VW workshop ---> anyways, they arrived just fine, and the sender had wisely packaged them flat enough that they actually fit INSIDE the slot in my mailbox!

You never can tell, though - which I assume is why so many companies just gave up.