I've been wondering what a suitable name would be for the smokers who temporarily exit a pub or bar in two's and three's – Fag Flight might be a nice short one, if Americans didn't understand something else by Fag. So, what about Drag Out?
One one of our evenings out in Ferrol, I was confused by the question “Which church are we going to now?”. It seems this is common parlance for bars, in Ferrol at least. Where, by the way, there are some excellent churches.
The head of the Spanish Tax Office has made the despairing comment: “There aren't enough tax inspectors relative to the amount of fraud that there is out there.” Perhaps he's just trying to get his budget increased. Or at least stop it being reduced.
Relatedly, I was also wondering today about who have been the winners and losers of the somewhat crazy 12 years I've lived through here in Spain. Here's a first stab at a list, which I will update as more entries occur to me. Or if readers send in their suggestions:-
The banks who took public funds to compensate for their ruinous lending practices.
Bankers who kept their jobs and their salaries and bonuses.
Bankers who retired after awarding themselves huge pension increases.
Notaries who creamed it during the years of the property boom simply by virtue of being
government employees with a monopoly on all transaction contracts.
Property developers who got out in time.
Private investors who timed things right.
Crooked civil servants who re-designated land in return for a backhander.
Crooked politicians who diverted public funds to their bank accounts.
Crooked member(s) of the royal family who did the same.
People with no financial knowledge whatsoever who were appointed to, say, the Audit
Committee of a bank and signed everything put in front of them.
All those ejected from homes for which loans should never have been granted.
Everyone who is now unemployed – all 26% of the population.
All those who've had their salaries frozen.
All those who've had their benefits reduced.
Everyone (all of us) paying more direct and indirect taxes.
The hundreds of thousands of businesses that have gone under.
All those whose life is now blighted by ugly building carcases which may now never be
And last but decidedly not least:-
The Zapatero government, which got kicked out last year. Justifiably.
Was it only, what, five years ago that Zapatero was telling us we had nothing to worry about as Spanish banks were not like American banks and, more, were the strongest in Europe? Still, his grasp on reality was always tenuous.
Just reverting to what seems to be the harsh, if not scandalous, treatment of people who've defaulted on their mortgage payments, someone has said this week – I think a judge – that banks have now become one vast collection agency. Or was it the courts?
Anyway, my friend Peter has improved the fotos I posted last night and here they are again:-