Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Interestingly, the Daily Telegraph line on Greece is contrary to that of its columnist Boris Johnson. Here's their leader, arguing that - although  Greece should never have been admitted to the eurozone - she must be saved and stay in it. Pro tem, at least. The paper sees Greece being rescued, stabilised and then kicked out - "The hard reality is that, unpalatable though it may seem, there is no real alternative to shoring up Greece. Its economy must be stabilised before serious thought can be given to the long-term restructuring of the single currency, which must now surely be unavoidable." 

A Greek commentator in the rather-more-left-of-centre Guardian also sees Greece leaving the eurozone - "Greek default and exit has always been the most likely outcome of the eurozone crisis. The truth is that economic and monetary union has failed, not least because it has created an unsustainable gap between core and periphery. For peripheral countries, EMU membership is likely to be a source of stagnation and income inequality. For Greece it has already been a failure of historic proportions . . . Even a first year undergraduate could have worked out that the last thing a bankrupt needs is further punitive loans and a cut in income; inevitably the stabilisation plan has been a disaster, missing just about all its original targets. . . . What, then, is the point of the fresh bailout ? The answer is rescuing international bondholders and buying time for banks. Jean-Claude Trichet, the ECB president – an unelected bureaucrat – has imposed his will on Angela Merkel, Europe's most powerful politician. In 2015 Greece will be bankrupt but its debt will be held overwhelmingly by public lenders: the EU, ECB and IMF. When default comes, the banks will be out of it and Europe's taxpayers will bear the burden." More here.

So Greek exit is just a question of how and when, then. Meanwhile, the (acting) head of the IMF has instructed the EU politicos to at least cobble some sort of unified act together. Other than deciding to postpone decisions until a later meeting.

I'm fascinated by the Iranian rolling news channel, Press TV. After George Galloway, it was again no surprise to see Ken Livingstone in the studio this evening. In fact, they were there together, discussing press freedom in Iran. Or, rather, as this would make for a very short program, chatting about the lack of press freedom in the West. And the persecution of Press TV. An odd conclusion giving the fact that it's broadcasting its US-obsessed garbage 24 hours a day. The hilarious highlight came when George and Ken expressed shared astonishment that people could regard Press TV as a mouthpiece of the Iranian government. God forbid anyone could have come to this outrageous conclusion! I suspect these two are nowhere near as inane as they seem. They are not, in other words, useful idiots but have merely worked out how to plough a very lucrative furrow, without a care for what the rest of us think about them. It's a job I suppose.

My water bill includes a fixed amount called the cuota and, on top of this, my actual usage. So, why do I mention this? Well, because I'm convinced this is what's going to happen with my new Vodafone XS6 account. And this despite the fact I've  been assured four times that it won't. During my last visit, I gave the girl three examples of usage and asked her to tell me what the bill would be. In no case did the cuota figure. But, just in case it does, I recorded the conversation - with all its denials and the assurances - and so I'll be well armed if and when I have to go to El Consumo to justify non-payment of my bills. Suspicious . . . Moi??

I'm getting good at tackling my neighbours about the things that trouble me. Or, in tonight's case, the chica who cleans Ester and Jacobo's house. As I was giving my car its bi-annual wash, she drove up and parked right in the middle of a large gap, thus denying parking space both in front and behind her car. So I politely asked her to put it closer to one of the others as this would leave a space and someone - possibly me - would not have to walk a couple of hundred metres to find a space. She was just as polite in agreeing to this but it was pretty clear from her initial reaction that the thought had never, ever occurred to her. As I suspected.

Well, the Asian restaurant at the bottom of the hill may well go under even earlier than I anticipated from the outset. In my mailbox today there was a flier which not only promoted the place and stressed the (false) price reduction but also provided a 10% discount voucher. Having been there last Friday, I gauge the seating at several hundred. Against the four of us who were actually eating there. I do hope it doesn't actually close before my I take my elder daughter and her partner there tomorrow night!

Talking of mailboxes - Yesterday, when I was out, the postman tried to deliver an urgent package from the UK. Normal mail takes 2-3 days but this had taken 8. Plus the (bizarre) compulsory 24 hours before I'm allowed to pick it up at the Post Office as I was out when the postman called. I guess the delay arises from additional paperwork in Spain. Always fatal to speed. And often productive of error. By the way, in the Post Office today, I had to sign the sort of electrical pad used in Mercadona. Impressively up-to-date. But I still also had to sign and date the piece of paper left by the postman. Why?

El Mundo has performed the public service of telling us about the quality of all the milk products on the Spanish market. Click here for this.

Finally . . . If you want to  know all - and I do mean "all" - about the Kingdom of Galicia, click here, while noting that it may not be totally accurate.

Finally, finally . . . Another fast car from the streets of Pontevedra. Possibly as it came out of the factory and so not un tuning.


Mike the Traditionalist said...

In our building we have 11 apartments and naturally most residents are out at work during the day. Myself and the widow upstairs are usually the only ones present for the whole day. However, the widow upstairs never answers the bell when callers arrive at the door. Since I am in the house usually 24/7 because of my circumstances I only go out for fifteen minutes each day. I do that at two thirty in the afternoon (the time a Chinaman goes to the dentist by the way). So I am here to open the door for the postman, the water company person to read the meters and also the electric company person to read the meters and it would seem every other Tom, Dick and Harry. Everyone now knows to ring my bell and the only benefit is that the postman who knows my situation brings my parcels directly to my apartment door. It would appear I now have the power to make everyone get nothing but estimates for the water and electric if I don't answer the door bell. I wonder what happens to the post if the postman can't get into the building?

Colin said...

Thanks, Mike. LoL, as they say these days.

Colin said...

Thanks, Mike. LoL, as they say these days.