Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I see the Rumanian girls are back in town, offering their clipboards bearing the logo of some charity or other and a list of previous donors/suckers. When I told the one who approached me I didn't believe a word she was saying, she just smiled and said "OK".

I failed again this morning to access the internet in Vegetables Square, despite using a different mobile phone and a new security code. Then I noticed the site would be closed down this afternoon/evening "for maintenance". Which I took to mean that the bloody thing wasn't working. Maybe mañana.

I had more luck at the police station, where I got my new Certificate of Registration of Permanent Residence in about five minutes. Nah, you didn't really believe that, did you? The process is so simple it could be done in five minutes. Maybe ten at most. In fact, it took more than an hour and a half and involved a visit to three separate places. This would have been four - and a lot longer - if I hadn't had a foto of myself handy. Not to mention my passport. Veterans of Spanish bureaucracy won't be surprised to hear I had to provide the names of both my father and my mother. But not a statement as to whether they were dead or alive. 

My real success this morning was in finessing the clerk's demand for the return of my old laminated Residence Card. Unlike the shoddy new piece of paper, this served as an ID card and I was determined to keep it for this purpose, as I don't fancy carrying my passport around with me. The card actually expired in February but I've recently found no one pays the slightest notice to the expiry date and so it's still accepted for the multitudinous occasions on which one is irritatingly required to prove who one is in Spain.

But to be more positive . . . Another improvement to Pontevedra (strictly speaking, Poio) is the opening of an Asian buffet restaurant in the shopping mall at the bottom of the hill, this side of the bridge into town. Given the conservatism of the locals (and its poor location), this will inevitably close. So I will visit it as often as I can, starting tonight.

For some - though not, I stress, for me - it's probably another improvement in civic services that the statuesque Nigerian whores at the roundabout at the start of the old Vigo road have been ousted by two slim young ladies in micro skirts and thigh-high boots. At least they take one's mind off the never-ending road works there.

Apart from Celta Vigo, it's been a bad season for Galicia's football teams. Pontevedra are certainly going down from the second division and Deportivo may well do the same from the first. They're playing as I write this and, to the joy of everyone around me, they've just scored. Keep your fingers crossed.

Finally . . . Back to politics. Here's Paul Krugman's take on the culpability for the financial stresses of the last two or three years - "It was the bad judgment of the elite, not the greediness of the common man, that caused America’s deficit. And much the same is true of the European crisis. Needless to say, that’s not what you hear from European policy makers. The official story in Europe these days is that governments of troubled nations catered too much to the masses, promising too much to voters while collecting too little in taxes. And that is, to be fair, a reasonably accurate story for Greece. But it’s not at all what happened in Ireland and Spain, both of which had low debt and budget surpluses on the eve of the crisis. The real story of Europe’s crisis is that leaders created a single currency, the euro, without creating the institutions that were needed to cope with booms and busts within the euro zone. And the drive for a single European currency was the ultimate top-down project, an elite vision imposed on highly reluctant voters." 

Quite!

6 comments:

moscow said...

Colin,
Quite!? At least it was not greed that lead to creation of the single currency, but the believe in a better future. Personally, I prefer the 'illustrated' "despotism" of the European "elites" to the sheer wasteful greed of Wall Street and the City. America can afford the shenanigans of these mad men. It has a hinterland of Silicon Valleys, huge manufacturing industries, raw materials and some of the best farm land in the world. Britain is in the hands of unscrupulous gamblers running the biggest money laundering machine in the world. It has little else.

Europe might be elitist - strange, I'd swear I thought you wrote a bit of elitism is not a bad thing.
But once again, what is the alternative? Aah, yes, go back to the 19th century. I bet you'd enjoy that.

Colin said...

Hola, Moscow

Good to see you're still reading.

Yes, I believe in elites. But I think you'll agree that there is a difference between the elites in, say, France and Germany on the one hand, and the elites in, say, Russia and Zimbabwe on the other. From a democracy/ accountability point of view, I would put the EU closer to the latter on the spectrum. Even though I have no doubt at all that the founders believed it was key to a better future. Or at least a watertight way to prevent repetition of the past.

Do you really believe that the end justifies the means?

Lenox said...

The stupid and reactionary A4 paper with passport combo comes from the brain of Rubalcaba, the likely future leader of the PSOE back into its grave. Bring back our ID cards - devuelvenos nuestras tarjetas ya!
Nope, he doesn't listen to furriners.

Colin said...

Lenox, I?ve just been told that Galicia intends to copy Castilla y La Mancha and reintroduce the cards. Anyone from CyLM able to comment?

moscow said...

Colin,
You're not serious. Russia? I thought your experience in Iran&Indonesia might have taught you somin'....but then again you probaly lead the (relatively) sheltered life of a large foreign company ex-pat bureaucrat on 50 times the avg. salary of the natives + guaranteed return ticket back to Blighty in case of troubles (or the like). How would you know?
As for your question, the answer is: NO.

Colin said...

Moscow,

It's depressing how increasingly ad hominem you get.

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