As part of my contemplation of how and why so much money has been available to spend on buildings and roads in and around Pontevedra city in the last decade, I’ve been trying to establish what the municipal budget has been over the last three years. Without great success, I have to admit. As far as I can tell, it was just under 80m euros for 2008 and 99m for 2010. This increase of c. 24% over two years hardly looks like retrenchment and one wonders where all the revenue came from to replace the huge amounts no longer available from property taxes. If anyone knows where I can get the sort of breakdowns I need, I’d be grateful for advice. I’ve complained more than once about the huge amount of data given you by British county councils when they send you details of your (ever-rising) annual Community Charge but, at times like this, one can appreciate it’s a lot better than nothing.
Meanwhile, I was amused to read today that Spanish is now more popular in what's left of foreign language education in British state schools because “it’s seen as less elitist, since it’s spoken by hip, developing Latino nations with funky music, not snooty, wine-quaffing Parisians and Johnny Halliday.”
And I was interested to see that ex Tory MP Matthew Parris has addressed the issue of stemming the growth of the ‘feckless poor’ segment of the British populace. Doing this cost Keith Joseph his political career in 1976, when he claimed that Britain’s ‘human stock’ was being threatened by what he saw, essentially, as immoral welfare payments. Some would say things are even worse thirty years on (in ‘Broken Britain’) but it will be interesting to see if Parris’s article causes anything like the storm Joseph’s speech did way back in 1976. Or whether it will even raise a ripple.
Finally . . . . Times must really be hard for some folk. Pulling into the petrol station on the edge of a business park up in the hills behind Pontevedra today, I noticed that the brothel next to it had closed down. This may well be a unique occurrence in Spain. To date.