The centre of Madrid - Sol Square - is occupied by around 5,000 young people who are protesting about something. But I'm not sure what. I passed a few dozen young people in the centre of Pontevedra last night who were presumably protesting in sympathy. It all seemed very Spanish as the principal activity was sitting in a circle and chatting. I'm hoping some reader will be able to tell me whether these folk are what the press calls "the idignants" or the people demanding Real Democracy Now!. Or both. Fellow blogger Trever ApSimon has said they're communists but the media refers to them as anarchists. And there is a difference. At least, there was in 1936.
I've just come to this wi-fi café from my doctor's surgery. I wouldn't normally mention this but I wanted to allude to something else that struck me as very Spanish. There were 20 to 30 people waiting there, for various doctors, but the only one reading a book was me. Indeed, the only person reading anything was me - if we discount the woman who made a desultory flick through a leaflet on the table. And this is despite the fact everyone here knows they ain't going to see a doctor at the time of the appointment they've got. Especially when ten of you have been given the same appointment time.
El Mundo reports that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said that any German help to Spain, if needed, will be conditional on the Spanish working harder. This, I suspect, is a reference to the ridiculously early - by German standards - retirement age in Spain. Ignoring productivity, the Spanish would be very hard pushed to work longer hours than they do. Which are also ridiculous. And probably would be even without the 2 to 3 hour break in the middle of the day.
But back to adultery. If the figures are to be believed, the French en masse are not much more adventurous than the European average. Globally, 20% of adults have had an extramarital affair. Britain comes in (sorry) at 14%. And the most promiscuous males in Europe are from - wait for it - Turkey. Unsurprisingly, infidelity increases in the "midlife zone", by which time most couples are bored to tears with each other's company. It's said.
But we have to go back to the topical French. These, some survey has found, are "tolerant of - indeed comfortable with - extramarital affairs to a degree unknown in other countries". Or maybe they just say they are as they regard this as the height of sophistication. Or - as someone French has written - "There may be more understanding in France of human frailty. Before we are judged too harshly for that, let it also be said that relations between the sexes are seen as one of life’s civilised pleasures. But one thing must be firmly stated: libertinage is one thing, criminal behaviour quite another. There is no tolerance of that. But maybe those days are over. In any case, the French do stand out in two respects. First, a public figure - say a politician - is not held accountable for his or her private behaviour, unless it makes them vulnerable to blackmail or somehow affects their ability to do the job. Faithfulness to one’s partner isn’t expected to be an item on the political agenda. Deceit in sexual matters may be seen as a moral flaw but certainly not as a sign that it will lead to lies on questions of policy. In other words, the great need not, necessarily, be good. There is also a strong sense that privacy ought to be protected by law and respected by the media, and that this protection is in the interest of all parties. The families of politicians are better off when private stories do not spill out; they are not hounded into taking action in the face of misbehaviour — they do so if, when, and how they please. As for the media itself, well, the gutter press is not flourishing in France, yet." But the internet is, as we read yesterday. And it's far more powerful than any gutter press. And more immune to legal action. France's halcyon days are well and truly over.
In France, it seems, you get into far more trouble for having your hand in a till than up someone's skirt. In Spain, I suspect neither of these would cause you too many problems. Especially if you're the head of the Andalucian or Valencian government. But I'm happy to be corrected on this, as it would be nice to think there's some integrity somewhere.
Finally . . . Nowt. I've lost my notepad. And I can't wing it any more.
Hang on . . . I've just found an obituary to the eurozone.