When there are big fires in Galicia, it's not long before there's a raft of theories as to who or what is responsible. This can include the suggestion that smugglers have started them so as to remove police and national guards from the coast. Sadly, fire is currently said to be "destroying one of the local ecological jewels" - the only Atlantic forest reserve remaining in Europe. The consensus seems to be that pyromaniacs are behind it. But this may change at any time.
For my sins, each morning as I eat my porridge and drink my coffee, I watch The Jeremy Kyle Show. This is a program which offers the obese, tattooed and be-metalled dregs of British society the chance to rant at each other and to make accusations which are scarcely credible. At least until the lie-detector results are in. Apart from a degree of schadenfreude, the only value for me in watching this parade of grotesques lies in the acquisition of new idioms. Such as "To man up" and "To grow a pair", both of which seem to mean "To be a man". The sort who will acknowledge his responsibilities and face up to them. Which usually looks like a forlorn hope to me. I'm reminded of the articles which Theodore Dalrymple writes in The Spectator about the primordial men and women he used to deal with as a doctor in the country's prisons. The kind who thinks that "She was messin' with me 'ead" is a valid excuse for anything, including murder.
- It's official - Spain has dipped back into recession.
- Spain accounted for 70% of the jobs lost in the EU in recent months.
- A harsh verdict on the recently announced 2012 budget was delivered by the FT today. The paper wrapped this up with the view that ‘This budget runs the risk of exacerbating social tensions without creating the conditions to allow a fall in the costs of Spanish bonds, and although the EU is guilty of imposing unnecessary austerity, Rajoy’s budget could have been better designed’.
- Possibly evidencing the truth of Edward Hugh's prediction some time ago that Brussels would take over the management of the Spanish economy, Sr Rajoy today took time out to explain his budget to an emissary from Angela Merkel’s government.
- And Ambrose E-P has penned an interesting article on Germany's unplanned and unwanted hegemony. In which he claims that "Half of Europe lives in trepidation of the mercurial Wolfgang Schäuble, the crippled idealist and mastermind of reunification whose own tortured emotions have become a Continental curse. . . The euro has delivered a "German Europe" after all."
I forget to say the other day that there's a Titanic exhibition at the Liverpool Maritime Museum. From the number of foreigners wandering around with their kids last Saturday, it must be counted a success. But it left me with a sinking feeling.
Well, I finally managed it. As I left the café this afternoon, I thanked the young lady behind the counter and when she replied "Thanks. See you later", I said "OK. What time?" My, how we laughed!
Finally . . . It's university vacation time and three quarters of Headingley's population has simply vanished. The local buses are now running on a revised timetable and, instead of six an hour, we now have two. Or, in the case of the 95 from the train station, none. Which last night meant a longish walk to the centre, lugging a rather heavy bag. And missing a number 6 by, literally, one second as the driver closed the doors with me two metres away. And running. Bastard.