Thursday, February 18, 2010

Geese; Politics national; Politics regional.

Well, my goose chase through the town’s archives offices became a little wilder today. At the place where I was sent by the chap at the town hall, a charming lady told that that what I wanted was held at the town hall. So that’s now three places denying they store the relevant documents, with each of them insisting one of the other two does. I’m not really getting the impression there’s much coordination or efficiency involved in this municipal activity. Nor that the folk who work in the various archives are, shall we say, over-worked. Indeed, they seem delighted that someone interrupts their reverie. And my impression is they’d actually love to be helpful, if they possibly could. Anyway, back to the town hall tomorrow. This time with a Spanish friend, just to ensure I’m not labouring under some major misunderstanding.

At the national level, politics became more interesting this week with the leader of the opposition calling for the governing PSOE party to replace its leader, the increasingly hapless President Zapollyanna. As the latter is the opposition’s key asset, this is either a stroke of folly or of genius. The former because his replacement might just be better. The latter because the opposition party knows that their calling for his defenestration is likely to keep him in power until the next general elections in 2012.

At the Galician level, it’s rare to see the nationalist BNG party get into bed with the right-of-centre PP party, which currently forms the regional government. However, they did so recently over keeping the two local savings banks as Galician as possible by merging them, against the wishes of the Bank of Spain and the PSOE party running the national government. It’s even rarer to see all three parties come together on anything. But this actually happened this week. Under the banner “Keep your hands off your dubious expense claims.” Good to see that politicians of all stripes can unite in a worthy cause.

Internationally, the Spanish government seems to be having some success in differentiating between its plight and that of the (ex)Greek government. President Zapollyanna has again told us the recession is about to end, that things can only get better and that he and his colleagues are hell bent on quickly putting the Spanish house in order. But not everyone is convinced. Here, for example is Ms Allard – quoted in a NYT article kindly sent by my friend Dwight – who is billed as an expert on the Spanish labour market and who insists “Nobody is being realistic about this. No one is saying publicly that this is a system where 70 percent are overprotected, underproductive and overpaid and the rest of them are paying for it.”

Which probably takes us back to the three archive clerks I’ve dealt with in the last week. All government employees, all (if I’m any judge) under-employed and all (I suspect) impossible to sack. Or even ‘rationalise’.

I suspect it's a bit like this in Greece.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Colin, Your 'here' link to the NYT seems not to be there

Boutique Spain - Galicia said...

A perfect illustration of how both local and national government in Spain live in denial. They are experts at burying their heads in the sand, but I'm not sure how much longer they'll be able to keep it up.

Colin said...

I didn't actually put a link last night but here it is . . .
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/world/europe/18spain.html?scp=3&sq=spain&st=cse

Xoán-Wahn said...

I can't disagree with the idea that the Spanish labour market is unproductive...but the idea that 70% is overprotected is a bit much, considering the vast amounts of temporary contracts. Also, if Spanish workers are overpaid...well...

CafeMark said...

When you look at the actual figures (as opposed to relying on sentiment) you find that yes, Spain has problems, but the UK is far worse.
http://tinyurl.com/ycjhex6
(news article from the Telegraph)
"Britain's deficit third worst in the world". We can all blame the banking system, easy credit or governments for the crisis, but the sad truth is it'll be those at the bottom of the pile who end up paying for it.

Colin said...

CM

Had just posted on this when I saw your comment. I think the fear in Spain's case is the SPEED of debt growth and the likely furhter rapid growth because the economy can't be made more competitive. cf. devaluation (and more devaluations) in teh case of the UK. Not to say the UK case isn't bad. Very bad.

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