So, what has changed in and around Pontevedra in the four months I was away?
- Well, the first thing to say is that the new bridge over the river hasn't been finished. In fact, it looks as if work has (again) been suspended.
- On the other hand, there are several new roundabouts (circles) either finished or in progress - providing local drivers with more opportunities to demonstrate confusion. Or, worse, to obey the strange Spanish law that dictates that, wherever they're turning off, all cars use the outer lane, unless they're the one in a thousand doing a U-turn.
- Inevitably, there are even more shops with their fronts papered or boarded up, especially in the galerías. But the impact of the downturn hit home tonight when I saw a Vodafone outlet in this state. Who'd have thought it would come to that?
- Finally, work seems to have progressed a little on the AVE high speed train. But nothing to suggest we'll be getting it to Madrid before 2018. A mere six years late,
Meanwhile, If you're trying to sell a Spanish property, the March data was not good news. Lowest sales in 5 years.
More [British] quotes on the DSK case:-
- The French species of hypocrisy is simply different from ours: politicians are expected to stray, pretending to the public that they do not, while those in the know titter lasciviously in private. Not surprisingly, French politicians have come to believe that they can behave like priapic goats and get away with it. The British may be too prudish about sexual behaviour, but the Strauss-Kahn scandal shows that French fascination with political seducers may be at least equally misguided. If he is convicted, it will demonstrate once again the fatal link between power and sex that has destroyed so many politicians in the past. But it will also represent an indictment of a macho, secretive French political culture that regards philandering as merely part of a long French tradition: Liberté, Egalité, Infidélité.
- France has been thrown into the same soul-searching about sex and power [as Britain]. It is tearing itself apart about how to deal with the story, which has sparked a debate on the sexism and snobbery of French politics. The Paris elite has been forced to confront the issue of the sexual behaviour, and at worst the alleged sex crimes, of its whole ruling class. At stake is a wider question of the behaviour of men in power, and what the French political class could or could not get away with in its treatment of women.
- Electronic rumour outpaces all the means which potentates, censors and editors have always been able to use to control what people know, or should be allowed to know. Its quickness on the draw beats any official sheriff; its verdicts require no courts and ignore all pleas. So powerful is this new force, indeed, that it has penetrated even the long immunity of French politicians from the juicy revelations which the British like for breakfast.
As for the French populace at large, an astonishing 57% of them are reported to believe that DSK is the victim of a set-up. And they pride themselves on their rationality! The rest of us are just happy to presume his innocence. Excepting the US tabloids, of course.
BTW - I wouldn't be at all surprised if the situation in Brussels was even worse than it is in Paris. After all, they're even more worldly-wise and sophisticated there, aren't they.
Which reminds me . . . Very occasionally I take a look at the EU News channel. Its entire smell is of a government controlled channel like those I've seen in the Third World. So it is that they can put an item about the EU President (forget his name) visiting China ahead of the news of a mass grave in Syria. Oh, I think the President is from Belgium, a country which hasn't managed to put a government together for quite a while now.
You may not be aware that the common Spanish response to complaints by foreigners about their houses being bulldozed is that the latter were crooks buying a cheap house and flouting the law. Well, here from Lenox is a nice riposte to this smokescreening baloney.
Which reminds me . . . It's reported that 30% of Spanish directors think that backhanders and bribes are OK, compared to an EU average of 19%. And 'most' of them admit that corruption is common in business her. A good chunk of them (43%) thought that corruption had actually increased during the boom years. Which is sad.
Finally . . . . A Request. Does anyone get the full page - including a section headed 'Pontevedra' - when they go to my Galicia page? I ask this because I don't and I'm wondering whether this is a Mac/Safari thing.