Saturday, October 27, 2012


This may come as something of a shock but here in Spain the age of sexual consent is 13, one of the lowest in the world. Worse, It’s not a crime here to have relations with a youngster below 13, if he/she gives consent. The United Nations has suggested Spain lift the age to 15, something which could be done as part of the imminent reform of the Penal Code. But probably won't be.

I've had my new car for almost two months now and I've driven it as carefully as I could. Nonetheless, this week I scratched it a little. Trying to manoeuvre into a spot in the Carrefour underground. At first I was furious with myself for trying to get into a ridiculously tight parking space I didn't actually need to get into. Then I was furious with Carrefour for not only having stupid pillars in the car-park but also for allowing them to have serrated edges. Finally, I was furious with Honda for manufacturing a car of which you can't see anything of the bonnet(hood) or wing from the driving position. But, after only a few days, I've calmed down and can now view things philosophically and with perspective. Honest.

Talking about the Carrefour underground car-park, I always approach this in the same way. As I leave the main road to take the access road, I wait until any car waiting to exit from the ramp can see that I've started to signal as I approach it. But, in twelve years, not a single driver has driven out in the confidence I won't crash into it. They've all waited until I've turned onto the ramp. My guess is they don't trust signals. Which wouldn't be altogether senseless.

You may not be aware of this but every month the entire Brussels circus ups sticks and moves to Strasbourg. This insane and expensive idiocy is the result of some horse-trading years ago which ended with France getting its way on this. It's always been beyond parody but, against the backcloth of so much pain in several EU members, it now looks criminal. According to this article, stopping the farce would save the not inconsiderable sum of $285 million a year. Of course, it's too much to expect this to happen. Which is good news for the parasitic hoteliers and restauranteurs of Strasbourg.

Spain's latest unemployment figures were announced this week and they ain't good. They rose again, to more than 25% of the working population. Second only to Greece. Among young people – those who aren't fleeing the country to seek work elsewhere – the rate is more than double this. See here for more data.

Finally . . . The American Dad cartoon comes from the same people as the wonderful Family Guy. It's not as good but has its moments. I liked the recent board announcement outside the church the family was attending – Bring the kids. Don't worry, we're Evangelicals.

5 comments:

James Atkinson said...

Colin, pray tell how much younger than thirteen can you be in Spain and still lawfully consent to sex. Surely there must be another limit for consent to be admissible?

Azra said...

It would be fascinating to know the level of sexual activity occurring amongst Spanish 13 year olds (and younger) compared to those 13 year olds in other countries with laws and penalties against them...

In any case, Spains unemployment rate depresses even me. And I'm no where near there.

But I've been having a bad case of wanderlust blues Colin. Especially after what happened on Thursday. It was like a wake up call. I'm ready to pack up and move North. Only where...?

Colin said...

Well, all I can add on this is that there seem to be far more cases of girls under 13 having babies in the UK than in Spain. Assuming it's not a case of differential reporting. Cultural norms matter, whatever the legalities.

Colin said...

Sorry, James. Can't answer your question. As I said to Azra, cultural norms may be more important than the legal technicalities.

Azra said...

Just as I would think Colin... seems that where there are less restrictions, society tends to behave themselves more... not completely, but there's a general sense of restraint, because its not prohibited. Mankind has a weakness for the Taboo.

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