Thursday, January 28, 2010

It seems Spain is coming in for a hard time at the Davos jamboree, where there’s more concern about our economy than the Spanish government would probably care to admit. One of the more critical commentators has said Spain is now a threat to the stability of its neighbours. Oh, dear.

Meanwhile, back home the banks took a hiding yesterday as the stock market digested news about increased bad debt provisions by the banks in respect of loans to property developers who are still in the property business but not the development business. I had to smile at the chutzpah of the spokesman who said “The indigestion caused by the development bubble is going to be more serious than forecast”. Well, certainly more serious than anything admitted by the government. But, then, that wouldn’t be very difficult as their line has always been that Spain has the most stable banking system in the world. If so, God help us.

Despite the recession and the bleak news which surrounds it, a survey reveals that Spain’s young people maintain the traditional view here that one works to live, not lives to work. Which is, of course, a lot easier if you stay with your parents until your mid 30s and don’t pay for a thing. I wonder if they’re in for a rude shock, as unemployment continues to rise and now exceeds 4 million. For many of them, perhaps, there won’t be the luxury of choice.

I was impressed – and amused – to see one of my undergraduate colleagues – Elizabeth Wilmshurst - getting her revenge on Jack Straw by knifing him with a wonderful throwaway line at the Iraq War Enquiry in the UK. But I was surprised to see her photo featuring in El País. I hope this doesn’t sound ungallant but she looks a lot better now than she did 40 years ago. Which is not something anyone ever says about me. Except when they’re falling over laughing at my 1971 wedding photos. I think it’s the hair and the flares.

Life in Spain . . . I sent a message to my elder daughter in Madrid at 11 last night, asking her to call me when she could. I awoke this morning to a message timed at 2.28AM, saying she’d just got home from her tango class. Which must have started at midnight, as I was hitting the hay.

Finally . . . There was an item in today’s local papers about the mayor of O Grove being arrested for leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident. The police found him at home in what’s called an inebriated condition. I wonder if this is the same chap I mentioned yesterday. Or just a relative.

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