Saturday, July 10, 2010

Well, the big news around here is, of course that I’ve finished my write up of the Camino I did recently with friends and have managed to resolve the problem of recalcitrant fotos that didn’t want to be published. You can see it here.

The other big news is that the angry Catalan reaction to the recent pronouncements of the Constitutional Court on their new Statute appears to have grown with the publication of the full judgement. At least among the political class. A propos, here’s an article from Qorreo on the subject. As the writer says, everyone in this imbroglio seems to be a loser. Perhaps that’s why the judgement was four years coming.

Another interesting article I read today was this one from Mark Stucklin on the possibility of a debate in the Spanish parliament on the notorious Coastal Law of 1989. The one which has helped produce the property abuses for which Spain is now (in)famous. Incidentally, someone somewhere has accused the Spanish “land grab” laws of the south east as being comparable to Mugabe’s policies in Zimbabwe. President Zapatero has naturally denied this. So it can’t be true.

Every time I read about salaries and benefits now prevailing in the British civil service and public sector, it strikes me that – whatever the level of euroscepticism in the UK might be – there’s certainly been a lot of convergence with the Continental model of government. Here’s a quote from an article by one commentator this morning:- “Civil servants' pension schemes are out of control, with the cost of topping them up rising from £4.6 billion in 2001 to £9.4 billion in 2015. The Public Sector Pension Commission described them as operating "like an unstable Ponzi scheme, [which] will only work if tomorrow's generations are able to stomach a higher cost to pay for the unfunded promises made today". Under the disgraceful stewardship of Mr Brown and Tony Blair, more than 900,000 jobs were added to the state's wage bill. The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that about 500,000 of these will be lost as George Osborne and Danny Alexander try to restore sanity to the Treasury madhouse. The trouble is, we can neither afford to keep them nor get rid of them, because many civil servants are entitled to three years' salary if made redundant. In some cases, the payoff is six and a half years of income. This is way beyond outrageous.” So much for the days of swapping income for job security.

Finally . . . My Vigo friend Anthea reports in a recent blog that she’s experienced one of the few forms of begging yet to reach us here in Pontevedra. Though I could be wrong on this; I don’t live in a downtown flat – “There was a ring at the doorbell. When we opened the door there was a fairly crestfallen chap there, reasonably respectable looking, who explained that he lived in the block next door, had been out of work for 6 months, owed three months rent and was asking the neighbours to contribute to his collection. Really? A bit unlikely. No chance! He carried a clipboard, a five euro note and a handful of change to give the impression others had already contributed. 10/10 for initiative but that’s all.”

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