Today I bought a Franklin electronic dictionary, to translate the Spanish words I occasionally stumble over in the newspapers. Sadly, it failed its first two tests - pifia: gaffe/blunder (think English goalkeepers) and motejar: to nickname (ditto). Now I’m wondering whether I’ve chucked 45 euros down the drain.
I’m also wondering when the fence down to the communal gardens will be fixed. Another week or two has passed and the only thing that’s happened – despite promises – is that one of the two flimsy plastic strips standing in for the wooden board has blown away. BUT . . . someone has started to paint the boards which are still there. Which is a start. Though it may not do a great deal for the safety issue.
Always fun to read – Our Ambrose here gives us his take on what’s happening in Spain right now. President Zapatero seems to be confident that Spain’s big banks are rock solid. And, who knows, he might be right. But the politically-run regional savings banks . . . .? Rather unlikely, one suspects. And even Santander and BBVA may have more to tell us about their balance sheets. It would be nice to get resolution of this issue, one way or another.
In essence, the Spanish government finds itself between a rock and a hard place, as (self-fulfilling?) speculation about a Spanish rescue fund reaches fever pitch. According to one analyst, this would mean eurozone Armageddon – “It would be suicidal for Madrid to use the rescue fund. The moment they pick up the phone and start talking about this, it’s the end of any remaining hope for the single currency. Spain's government just has to put on a brave face, pay the higher yields, and hope for the best,"
So, is it all the fault of markets in general and bond speculators in particular? Or does the real culpability lie with Sr Z for playing at being King Canute for so long? Well, in the end, it’s always the fault of short-sighted politicians. As if there were any other kind. In democracies at least.
Meanwhile, Brussels has demanded further cuts from Spain and we’ve unexpectedly reached the point where our Ambrose and Graeme over at South of Watford agree about the madness of the relentless pressure for further austerity. You can read Graeme here but this is what Ambrose said today:- “This is reactionary folly. The College of the European Commission should be horse-whipped for demanding yet further cuts from Spain”. Full article here.
So, will the eurosceptics be proved correct? Not to mention the cynics who believe that the result of every major reform is the exact opposite of that for which it was designed. Or will the EU get its supranational act together and emerge more united and stronger than ever? No idea. Time, as always, will tell. But it’s certainly easier than ever to be pessimistic right now.