- 16 members of the PP right-of-centre party are being investigated for corruption during the last elections. No one seems to care much about this and it won't affect the party's chances of romping home in the November general elections.
- A politician has finally spoken the truth. The guy who'll lead the PSOE socialist party in the November elections has admitted what we all know. Viz. that the provincial level of government is unnecessary. I was going to predict the PP party would disagree with this ahead of the elections but they were even quicker off the mark than I expected and immediately said they rejected the contention. Which I'm sure they don't.
- Another bit of Spanglish – Un esmoquín: A DJ/dinner jacket.
- Interesting to see the report that a lot of Brits are involved in roundabout accidents on Menorca. This, of course, is mainly because they don't expect the cars in the outer lane to cut across them when they're in the inner lane going straight on. Even though this is what Spanish law obliges one to do.
- By 2020, the old will outnumber the young here by a factor of two. Not good news.
- There are reports that the incoming PP party will delay the development of the high-speed AVE train in Galicia. Even though the president hails from here. No great surprise but I suppose it means my six-year-late forecast of 2018 goes by the board.
- Our vineyards won't only be facing albariño competition from Australia; the Californians are getting in on the act as well.
- Talk of the rubbish collected in Pontevedra last weekend has reminded me of the time I visited a place at the mouth of the Miño river where they have a humungous annual boozefest. It was the morning-after and the scene was like something from a garbage tip in Calcutta. But the place itself – the vertiginous 'hill' of Santa Tecla/Tegra/Trega – was as beautiful as ever, looming above the Spanish banks and staring very much across to those of Portugal
- Stallholders at the Pontevedra fairground claim takings are 50% down on last year. Assuming this isn't just meant for the taxman and has a degree of truth about it, the rain on Sunday can't have helped.
The EU: So, another damp squib from Merkozy. No action, just more cheap talk. And another committee involving a bigger role for the guy from Luxembourg whose name no one can recall. The consensus appears to be that nothing has been done to address the core problems of the debt and growth problems in which Europe is mired.
In The Times, Anatole Kaletsky has endorsed the suggestion that the best of a lot of bad solutions is that Germany should be asked to leave the eurozone, perhaps with Austria and The Netherlands, so that Sarkozy can get on with reforming the rump along the dirigiste lines of France. I can't cite this article because of the paywall but here are a few extracts:-
The first fundamental flaw of the euro project — the contradiction between a single currency and a multiplicity of divergent national fiscal policies — may still eventually be resolved in favour of the federal solution. This was always the intention of the euro’s ultimate founding fathers, François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl.
Now Europe must face the second flaw — that German and French conceptions of a federal Europe are mutually incompatible. Not only do the two nations have very different theories of government centralisation and devolution, much more crudely their visions of a federal Europe are fundamentally incompatible in terms of simple power politics.
German politicians have argued that countries that cannot pay their debts should be expelled from the euro — but why not turn this around and expel Germany? Given its lack of solidarity with other eurozone countries, Germany could be politely asked to leave. . . . Germany would then issue a new mark and other countries would have a simple choice: follow Germany out of the euro or continue in a smaller French-led group.
Germany’s voluntary withdrawal would raise far fewer legal and institutional problems than a break-up of the euro caused by forcibly expelling Greece, Italy or Spain. Germany could be granted a derogation from the Maastricht treaty, similar to that enjoyed by Britain and Denmark. Owners of German bonds would not object, as their holdings would be converted into a stronger currency, the new mark.
The ECB would continue as before, but with no German (or Dutch or Austrian) directors. With the German veto removed, the ECB would be free to purchase unlimited amounts of Italian and Spanish bonds. . . . Over time, the remaining euro members would negotiate a new treaty, creating a federal finance ministry charged with issuing jointly guaranteed bonds and administering common fiscal policies.
Seems worth a thought. Meanwhile, though, what it all puts me in mind of is Franco-German tussles going back to 1870. By my count, this is the fourth. In effect, France and Germany aren't fighting over a New Europe but continuing the battle of Old Europe. Anyway, you've got to laugh at the irony of France and Germany now coming over all tough on the Maestricht 3% ceiling. They were the first countries to breach this and then failed to punish themselves. As was forecast at the time, this set an example that everyone else felt free to follow. Moral hazard, I think it's called,
Finally . . . There was a very positive review this morning on France24 for the film “Melancholia”. This stars Kirsten Dunst, who has the good fortune to look like my younger daughter, who (like her sister) was lucky enough to get her mother's looks.