Tuesday, December 11, 2012


All three of Galicia's airports have seen drastic falls in numbers in the last year. Surveying this scene, some bigwig has said “The only solution is to complement and to coordinate.” Well, no. It isn't. The only solution is to have one, large airport capable of competing with Oporto's magnificent facility. But this ain't going to happen, of course. Vigo, Santiago and La Coruña will all fight to the death to keep their too-small airports.

One of the pleasures of yesterday's trip to La Coruña was having my satnav(GPS) not only direct us straight to the venue but also guide us quickly out of the city without getting lost. This is not something I've achieved on any of my 4 or 5 previous visits.

Which reminds me . . . 'The Knowledge' is what London's famous black cab drivers call the process of building up a body of route information over as many as three years – increasing the size of their hippocampi in the process. Only with this can they hope to pass the oral and written exams and thus obtain their licence. And it's hardly surprising that the drop-out rate is 70%. As of now, cab drivers still easily beat satnav-assisted drivers in cross-London races. But technology is advancing. A cab company called Addison Lee alone has 16 software engineers working on the challenge. So, it's anyone's guess how long 'The Knowledge' will be valued. Hopefully for ever.

I had two immediate thoughts when I caught sight of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on the TV in a bar yesterday:- 1. Haven't the troubled leaders of EU states got anything better to do than waste half a day embroiled in this ridiculous exercise?, and 2. Does anyone really believe that without the EU Europe would have descended into war? What specious nonsense it all is. Which is a view shared, I see, by my friend Alfie B. Mittington. He probably agrees with me that the EU President – Herman Von Rumpuy - is a self-important prat.

One of the statements coming out of yesterday's pointless jamboree was that “The EU is a symbol and an inspiration for the rest of the world”. As if. It puts me in mind of the lie regularly peddled by British politicians that the National Health Service is the envy of the world. It might well have been in the 1950s but it's long since been recognised as an inefficient behemoth that suffers in comparison with systems in place on the Continent.

Which reminds me . . . Here's Paul Krugman's current view of the EU: Europe has surprised me with its political resilience — the willingness of debtor nations to endure seemingly endless pain, the ability of the ECB to do just enough, at the very last minute, to calm markets when the financial situation seems ready to explode. But the economics of austerity have played out exactly according to script — the Keynesian script, that is, not the austerian script. Again and again, “responsible” technocrats induce their nations to accept the bitter austerity medicine; again and again, they fail to deliver results. The latest case in point is Italy, where Mario Monti — a good guy, deeply sincere — is leaving early, ultimately because his policies are delivering Italy into depression. (And yes, for the record, this means that Italy won’t get the full Monti.) So what’s the answer? Stay the course, say the Eurocrats. It will work any day now — the confidence fairy is coming! Kevin O'Rourke has it right: Europe has become the continent where good times are always just around the corner. It really is like medieval medicine, where you bled patients to treat their ailments, and when the bleeding made them sicker, you bled them even more.

Finally . . . I heard an American woman say today - “I haven't educated myself on that subject yet.” Which I guess means “I know diddly squat about it.”

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Colin,

Well at least Krugman is capable of conceding that he was wrong about something.

Moscow

CafeMark said...

I admit I've not used Galician airports, but why is being small a sin? I personally find smaller airports generally a lot more pleasant than the large variety.

Colin said...

No, nothing wrong with small airports per se. Oporto's 15 years ago was small and a delight to use. You could get from landing to driving away in 15-20 minutes. But none of the 3 small airports can compete effectively with Oporto's modern and large airport. Hence all the talk of each one specialising or all of them combining, etc. etc. Like arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

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