Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some readers may recall the fotos of our new zebra crossing and associated signs of a month or three back. Well, as you can see, the signs come second only to pedestrians in the consideration they get from drivers . . .

Not having a picture of an irate editor of a right-wing newspaper, I drew this myself. It’s rather pathetic but well within the Spanish tradition of cartoon capitalists.

The stimulus was an editorial in El Mundo today complaining about Spain having to contribute to the EU handout to Ireland arising from her government’s “mismanagement”.  As I predicted a while ago – because it was so easy to predict – the tune in Spain is very different now the boot is on the other foot. And it seems that, while 25 years of management, mismanagement and downright corruption in the application of humongous amounts of EU dosh was never worth commenting on, Irish ‘mismanagement’ is in a very different category . And well worth moaning about. Even if the Irish were among the largest per capita contributors to the largesse received by Spain. What ingratitude. Even if there’s no surprise about it.

And here’s another cartoon, this time a real one, taken from an article in Prospect magazine and showing the Bank of England being ravished by the British Prime Minister of 1797.

The article asks where all the 200 billion pounds has gone that the Bank of England has fire-hosed into the British economy. It seems that no one knows but that the probability is that – if it’s not lying useless in bank coffers – it’s circulating around the financial system, earning more of those contentious bonuses for bankers, venture capitalists and bond traders. Some of it might just have gone in credit to large companies but hardly any to small companies, who happen to do most of the borrowing. Usually. But why should we be surprised at capitalists doing what’s best for themselves? Left alone, that’s always what they’ll do. It’s (nearly) enough to make one a socialist.

Finally, my student was neither early nor late today. You can guess the rest. Still, her mother had a plausible excuse and two out of four isn’t bad in a Spanish context. Is it any wonder we all get a tad sceptical about Spain’s ability, against tough competition, to export her way out of her crisis? Anyway, the good news is that the mother told me she has a friend who owns a restaurant in town, makes great cakes and would like to meet me. Sounds like a set-up to me but, hey, I might get to enjoy a good tart or two.

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