Sunday, June 13, 2010

I read today it’s twenty years since judge Báltasar Garzón led the operation on Galicia’s cocaine smugglers in Operación Necora. If this really is the episode that alienated his colleague (and ‘nemesis’) judge Varela, then the latter clearly likes to have his revenge cold.

Which reminds me . . . When my daughter wanted to talk to a cocaine smuggler here when thinking of basing a novel in Galicia, a local friend said it’d be no problem getting an interview with the biggest of the lot. He’d been to primary school with him so had the sort of personal connection that opens all doors in Spain.

There were two positive aspects about England’s abominable performance in the World Cup on Friday night. They didn’t lose. And things can only get better. Whether they do or not, my friend Jon won’t be watching any more of their matches with me. Enough is enough, he says. Then there was the chap on TV who wailed that he’d spent 7,000 pounds to get to South Africa only to witness England “playing just like they always do.” Which rather begged the question of why he ever thought it was worth spending even seven pence to watch them. At least the TV is free. And you can put your foot through it.

The Spanish press – well, El País at least – was remarkably gracious about England’s pathetic display. Though this may owe a little to the fact that the USA beat Spain 2-0 not so long ago. I was, however, struck by the comment that, although England is the most xenophobic country in Europe, their trainer wasn’t English. I don’t immediately see how the most racially diverse country in Europe can also be the most xenophobic but I guess it’s possible.

Reader Moscow regularly displays surprise – it seems to me - that any intelligent person in the UK could be eurosceptical. One reason could be this sort of article, which draws parallels between proposed new financial measures and the Common Fisheries Policy that was so disastrous for the UK. In a nutshell, the author’s (alarmist?) view is that “If these proposals go through, London will go the way of Bruges, Venice and Amsterdam: a once dominant financial entrepôt sidelined by more virile cities. The one bit of our economy with the locomotive power to pull us back to growth will be disabled.”

Finally . . . I spoke too soon about the bloody Bermuda grass. And can any reader confirm that this is basil, even though the leaves lack the waxy appearance of those pictured on the internet? Or is it only sweet basil which has these?


moscow said...

Well, and exactly whose fault is it that the UK's economy is so dependent on the wretched ferrety business of hedge funds/bond trading/speculative investments and other mostly sterile paper-shuffling activities? After the concerted attack on the PIGS, I have absolutely no simpathy left (if ever I had any) for the casino tactics of the City. I understand it performs a necessary function, covers a need, much as prostitution does in another context, but I prefer the nobler activity of actually providing real services and making real products. A bit on the traditional side of things, perhaps, but....

However, I freely admit, that if the business gets carted away to Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris and other such places, Britain's economic future looks pretty grim....mainly because Britain makes nothing, rien, nichts.

24% of britons voted for an openly pro-euro, pro-EU party in the last election. In other words, about a quarter of Britain's population is enthusiastic about Europe. I would suggest this sizeable minority should all - each one of them - inmediately get a medal from the corresponding quango-committee in Brussels. I, personally, take my hat off to any one in Britain saying anything positive about Europe.....after all they are at risk of being clubbered to pulp by a eye-swivelling mob of EU-haters.

I understand that of the rest not everybody directly hates the EU. But I still reckon EU-haters number around 30% of the British population. They are, of course, much louder than anybody else.

Colin said...

Well, OK. But I still think you confuse scepticism with hatred.

What would you estimate the percentage of Brits who would vote to leave the EU, if they were aksed?

BTW - Do you regard all banking functions as akin to prostitution or do you confine your comment to investment banking?

moscow said...

I'll qualify: not even all investment banking is bad. BTW, I am in favour of legalising prostitution.