Well, the economic mess and President Zapollyanna’s dithering have finally led to him recording popularity rates below those of the less-than-charismatic leader of the Opposition (and local Pontevedra boy), Marion Rajoy. And the PP party’s lead in the polls has risen another point or two. While the odds on Señor Z leading the PSOE party into the next general election in 2012 must surely have lengthened significantly.
You may not have heard of it but every year sees the publication of the Nation Brand Index, which rates countries according to how well they’re regarded around the world. Attitudes rarely change, it seems, but the re-election of George Bush apparently knocked the USA of its pedestal as the world’s best perceived country. Right down to 7th place in 2008, in fact. But Obama’s election restored the natural order and here are the top ten places for 2009:-
1. United States
4. United Kingdom
10. Spain, Sweden (tie)
Despite the fact it’s almost impossible to secure a better position through PR alone, no one will be surprised to hear that governments spend billions trying.
I mentioned a week or so ago there was something of a feud between the leader of the Galician PP party and one of the local urban barons. Or caciques, as they used to be called. The gentleman in question has ruled over the party in Ourense for more than 20 years and, if I’ve got this right, has just engineered a handover of the reins of power to his son. Not that he’s the only family member in the administration. Allegedly, there’s another 300 or so of them. Well, charity begins at home and it’s nice to be able to rely on people you can trust. Not strangers with their fancy – and quite possibly counterfeit – CVs.
I had lunch last Friday with a young Scottish-Irish couple who’ve come to live in Vigo for a year or two and, to be frank, I was shocked at their treatment of their two young kids. Hard as it is to believe, these were not allowed to run round the restaurant and were told to wait until the adults had finished speaking before making their own contribution. God knows what appalling consequences will result from this repression. Let’s hope their teachers give them a loose rein in school, in compensation for this parental abuse. Otherwise I dread to think what sort of adults they’ll turn into.
Finally . . . I amused to read today a comment from someone called Hugh Kingsmill that friends are God’s apology for relatives. But not as amused as I was to hear a spokesman for the Australian RSPCA talking about the prosecution of a British reality TV program for cruelty to a rat. “The rat was audibly heard to scream” he said. Raising the metaphysical question of whether anything can be inaudibly heard. Other than silence.