Friday, May 20, 2011

Walking around Pontevedra this morning, I was again struck by the number of boarded-up shops in prime locations. I thought of posting some fotos but decided they'd be boring. Some slightly less boring fotos can be found at the end of this.

Herehere and here is more information on the (illegal) demonstrations which are taking place in Madrid and other cities around the country today and tomorrow, prior to the elections on Sunday. As the (left-of-centre) Guardian says:- "They're being described not in political but emotional terms. They're the indignados, 'The angry ones'. Angry at the banks, at the labour market, at the main political parties and most of all at the politicians, who they feel don't represent them. What they actually want is less clear. They may not change Spanish politics forever, but they have succeeded in something difficult enough: in putting all politicians to shame at least for a few days."

And here is the Wall St. Journal spilling the beans on the 'secret' debt which is held by the Spanish autonomous regions. This may the answer to the question I've been pondering for some time as to how Pontevedra's council can go on spending as if there'd never been a downturn.

One can of, course, disfavour the French approach to the the private lives of the great-but-not-so-good without being an admirer of the Anglo tabloid press. Something which neither France nor Spain yet have. I have long believed - and written here - that the pact between Blair and Murdoch resulted in what was effectively mob rule in the UK. This sentiment is echoed by the always-excellent Simon Jenkins in this (tendentious?) Guardian article today. As he says "None of this adds light to British politics, but it is not meant to do so. It is meant to show the lords and masters that, in the last analysis, the mob is sovereign."

I mentioned the other day the obscene salaries paid to footballers in the UK. Here's one commentator's take on this:- "For £46 you could fly from London to Lisbon and back. Or buy the complete box set of Curb Your Enthusiasm and a couple of cans of suds. Or kit yourself out with some GaĆ«l Givet-approved lingerie. Or, if you're so inclined, sit in one of the cheap seats at this weekend's meaningless tussle between Premier League slackers West Ham and Sunderland – but surely you'd have to be desperate to do that. And that's what most clubs think you are, which is why, though the country's economy heads further south, they continue to invite you to pay silly sums (excluding booking fee) so they can pay even sillier sums to players, making everyone except the players poorer and the mood around the country more grouchy."

If you don't know what Curb Your Enthusiasm is, make it your business to find out. You are really missing something.

Finally . . .  The fotos I cited at the top:-

1. The handsome brick drive up to the new houses behind mine

2. The contenadores that used to be conveniently opposite my house (by the lamppost in the above foto) but which have been moved down the road.

3. A superior contenador which can be opened with the foot and which, self-evidently, we don't have yet. Nor are our bins moored to a metal frame. Which means they'll again go on roll-about when we next have a strong wind. In the worst case, they'll hurtle down the hill, which starts about 30 metres away.

Postscript: Here's a good overview on the street protests from Graeme over at South of Watford.

Returning to the subject of corruption, I totally endorse this sentiment of Graeme's - "The grotesque sight the other night of PP leader Mariano Rajoy singing the praises of Valencia's Francisco Camps reinforced the feelings of many about the need for change." As I recall, Rajoy seemed to go so far as to suggest that being voted back into power would exculpate Camps. Which is an interesting new jurisprudential doctrine.

I almost forgot . . . The Galician Nationalist Party (the BNG) has claimed that it represents Real Democracy Now. Perhaps they'll get more than 15% of the vote this time, then.


Sierra said...

My "bribe" from the PSOE (the party which brought us the smoking ban)was in my post-box this morning - a cigarette lighter stencilled with their logo. You couldn't make it up!

Colin said...


Ferrolano said...

Colin, An excellent article by the WSJ that accurately sums up the financial practices of local authorities and public sector companies, which I have seen at first hand in the ship building and ship repair industry. Standard procedure was to require a supplier or sub-contractor to give a 180 day minimum credit period and then when the invoices did arrive to argue them for another six months, or more. Meanwhile, if it was a repair job, it was finished and the vessel was long gone. The suppliers and sub-contractors had two choices and the second alternative was not acceptable either…..

Do you not remember the aftermath of the 1992 Expo in Seville, when during the following years the financial shenanigans were being uncovered and Sr Chavez stated that he would do it all over again……… It’s just a way of life!!

PS: Sorry about the extended walk to drop off your rubbish.