Saturday, March 20, 2010

I have to own up to occasionally wondering whether the Spanish lived in a dream-world during the years of the phoney boom. And whether some of them are still doing so. Some evidence in support of this might have come from a recent survey, in which it was found that 50% of the public believe there’s no need to cut services in order to reduce the national deficit. Even more remarkably, 75% believe that "efficiencies" alone can deliver all the required savings. As a columnist has said . .  "This reveals a level of sophistication and understanding barely more advanced than the get-rich-quick dreams of South Pacific cargo cults”. And the survey report itself concluded - "The public are either not facing up to, or are not aware of, the hard choices facing the country.” The problem in using this to endorse my thesis about the Spanish is that the survey was made in the UK. Though this alone doesn’t mean I’m wrong, of course.

Over in Brussels, things continue to heat up around the issue of funds for the Greeks. The German government – seen by some as overly-conscious of its democratic obligations to those who put it in power – is now being painted as the villain of the piece. For their part, the Germans are getting increasingly irritated by the pressure on them to act out of character. So they must have been delighted to read today that the President of the Commission – who is not the President of the EU – has dismissed as ‘absurd’ Mrs Merkel’s comment that delinquent countries might have to leave the eurozone. Surely Mrs Merkel understands that promises, obligations, commitments and even democracy itself count for nothing when it comes to advancing the political dream of a European superstate. Especially when it keeps in power the grey bureaucrats who are the Presidents of the EU and the Commission.

Truth to tell, one gets rather inured to reading reports of financial skullduggery in Spain but this one is less than run-of-the-mill. Once wonders whether the victims who’ve been told the Bank has no record of their accounts ever wondered why they never got any statements. Or perhaps they did – written in hand on a page torn from a notebook.

Finally . . . In garden terms, it’s been spring for some time. Surprisingly, though, the Spanish like to treat these things rather formally. So, only from today can we talk about the weather of the winter which officially ended yesterday. And it’s no great surprise to read that, here in Galicia, it was the most instable of the last ten years. Though I still think it rained more in 2000-2001, my first winter here. When I lost five umbrellas in the storms. Against only a measly two since December 21st this time round. The second one only today, in fact.

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