The Gibraltar issue has been in the Spanish media quite a lot recently and yesterday brought another incident. Spanish coastguards chasing a speedboat followed it into British waters and were promptly arrested. However things were dealt with sensibly and quickly – which, strangely, seemed to upset the right-of-centre El Mundo – and the men were released within a couple of hours. Today, the boat and the two smugglers in it were handed over to Spain. To be honest, I was less than astonished to see they were both Galician. If only they had an Olympic sport in this activity, we’d sweep the board.
Following hard on the heels of the FT article on the ‘Costa del Soul’ (see yesterday’s post), comes the news there are at least 600 entire villages for sale in the Galician province of Lugo alone. All of them empty of residents. Anyone interested in more details should click here.
While I have – on balance - been enjoying myself greatly at a micro level over the last nine years, what has been happening here at a macro level? Well, here’s one summary from an article in today’s El País:- “The rape of public funds, savage urban development, environmental damage, infiltration of the mafia, citizen apathy and the rise of political populism.” These, the writer says, are “some of the consequences of an evil which demands urgent action.” Yes, another long-overdue article on the corruption I mention from time to time. Will anything be done? Your guess is as good as mine.
Inflation here is now around 0.5%. Which contrasts rather sharply with the 21% increase in the cost of bus passes in Madrid. The first of many such shocks, I imagine.
Finally . . To briefly return to the challenge of staying within the speed limit on Spanish N roads . . . The most revealing feature of my drive yesterday was the absence of 70 signs that would have made sense of all the ‘End of 70’ signs at the side of the road. Hard to avoid the conclusion all of the former have been removed so as to artificially extend the 50 zone beyond the confines of a village and into the open countryside. Which reminds me of a reader comment of a while back, viz. that, in the absence of signs, the law states you’re expected to know that the limit is. Which is a tad difficult when things have not only been arbitrarily changed but also skilfully disguised. The state machine at its desperate, criminal best. As I’ve said – Stay at 50!