I guess no one should be surprised that the EU is using the Greek farce/tragedy to justify the next step in the creation of a true political union – a European Monetary Fund. Even less surprising is that the lead is being taken by France, even though the rather-less-keen Germans will probably end up as the paymaster. If not exactly the tune-master. Of course, the various peoples of Europe might not be keen on this but, then, they’re never going to be asked, are they? Not smart enough to understand the issues. And too emotional. But back to the plans . . . The Financial Times tells us that “According to German thinking, the plan could include tough penalties for eurozone members that fail to curb deficit spending or run up excessive government debt. Ideas include cutting off countries that fail to curb deficit spending from EU cohesion funds, temporarily removing their right to vote in EU ministerial meetings and suspension from the eurozone.” But then the paper adds:- “These may prove very difficult for France to swallow, given its own record of greater fiscal laxity than Germany”. So, there’s a way to go yet.
The Spanish government’s investment in recession-fighting public works has been done under the banner of Plan E. The cost of the ubiquitous signs reminding us of the money being spent must alone have run to millions of euros even before a centimo was spent on any work itself. Anyway, I suspect most towns in Spain have their equivalent of the pavement and walls around our Alameda, which were (very slowly) taken up/down and (equally slowly) replaced. I was reminded of this today when I saw that a perfectly good flight of stone steps up to the bridge I use were being replaced by some new ones in aluminium (or aluminum for our American friends). This seems to have been a bigger event than I would have thought, as the cameras of the regional TV station were there. Which shows just how desperate they are for news. Anyway, here’s my foto of the work in progress:-
Which leads me naturally into the fotos of the illegally parked cars around town yesterday morning. The question arising around these is not why the ever-un-ruley Spanish do this sort of thing but why they’re allowed to get away with it. Surely, in these straitened times, there’s an easy source of town-hall revenue here that’s going begging. Can it be that – in contrast to the morally, if not legally, dubious speed traps on the open roads – it’d be considered a step too far for the authorities? If so, is it because there’s some un-stated social contract under which the people refrain from giving their consent to hassle of this order? And which the council respects in fear of the consequences at the next election? If so, how is it that some cities have introduced parking meters and traffic wardens, whereas others haven’t?
Anyway, here’s a list of the sort of offences committed a thousand times a day here, starting with the simplest and least inconvenience-causing and going on from there:-
Parking on yellow lines or chevrons
Parking in unloading bays
Parking in front of bus-stops
Parking partly on the pavement
Parking on the pavement so as to prevent pedestrians using it
Parking on the yellow lines at a box junction
Parking so as to block in legally parked cars
Parking so as to obstruct garage entrances/exits
Parking so as to prevent buses turning corners or navigating roundabouts (circles)
Parking on zebra crossings
Or any combination of these. And doubtless others I’ve missed.
And here are the fotos:-
Thank-you and Goodnight.