Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I see the Pope is now on Twitter. I normally wouldn't expect to see the words 'Pope' and Twitter in the same sentence but, then, you don't get to be the most successful organisation in the world without embracing every new technology that comes along. And quite a few old ones as well.

Which reminds me . . . Up in La Coruña, the city council have decided to hit the university there with annual municipal taxes based on property values. But not the Catholic Church. Which has friends in high places, one assumes.

But on to larger matters . . . Mario Draghi – who's head of the ECB - has said that “Things are improving in Spain and that 2013 will see another year of painful progress.” To which El País has retorted “What improvement?”, adding that this year will see a 1.5% fall in GDP, with at least the same for next year. The data, the paper points out, are directly opposed to Draghi's message of optimism. All that can be agreed is that there'll be more pain.

So, where will see (painful) progress next year?
  • Will the economy grow at all? No, it will continue to decline.
  • Will Spain need a bail-out? Yes.
  • Will we see unemployment fall? No.
  • Will we see fewer suicides? Probably not.
  • Will we see fewer beggars on the street? Almost certainly not.
  • Will we see Barcelona put an end to the unsettling talk of secession? No.
  • Will there be reforms to the Spanish 4-tier governmental set-up? No.
  • Will Spain put an end to its crazy split day? No.
  • Will Madrid get control of spending in the regions? No.
  • Will taxes rise even further? Yes.
  • Will salary growth be restricted? Yes.
So, where are the grounds for optimism? Well,
  • Tourism should continue to grow.
  • Likewise exports.
  • Spain will finally seek and get the bail-out but with tight strings attached.
  • More celebrity crooks will be join the parade through the courts.
  • Some may end up in gaol.
All in all, a pretty negative balance, I'd say. With no one claiming it will get much better for several years yet.

Talking of change . . . I see that someone has at last proposed that Spain moves to GMT. In other words, puts itself on the same time as the UK to the north and Portugal to the south. I should say 'moves back,' as Spain was on GMT until 1942, when Franco changed things to Central European Time, as a gesture of solidarity with Hitler's Germany. I've always supposed that Spain would never go back on GMT because only Cataluña could then justify remaining on CET. And I doubt Madrid would want to breathe any wind into the sails of independence. But who knows. If Spain can change its working hours, it can surely change its clock. Some convergence at last!

Galicia turns out to be the second most litigious region in Spain, after Aragón. No wonder I hear constant talk of denuncias (law suits) here. Of which there are currently 160,000 in process.

Finally . . . Here's a nice article by Alan Murphy of IberoSphere. Its main focus is the Spanish educational sphere but Murphy also touches on one or two other aspects of what he calls this “vast, sleaze-plagued land”.


Sierra said...

Think you've left a tier out of government - local, provincial, regional, and national.

Colin said...

Yep. A typo. Honest . . .

Anonymous said...


You certainly do not take any prisioners. But then again, your vast, banality plagued blog-literature lacks informative value of any kind. I would probably be able to apreciate the humour more if at least you were a good writer.

The good news is that nothing is happening according to the sceptics' script. They never deserved to win. They deserve to be hanged.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

My dear Moscow,

The skeptics were WRONG? Are you serious? You mean to tell me that the Pro-Euro folk predicted the implosion of the European economy and the Euro-skeptics predicted wealth, peace, harmony and greater accountability of the Latin nations?

I really got it totally wrong! Shows you what old age does to a man.

Yours, Alfred BM

Anonymous said...

Dear ABM (Ms Davies, I presume?),

The "latin" nations are going through tough times implementing hard reforms after a huge worldwide financial crisis which had its epicentre in Wall Street and the City of London. I am not even attempting to diminish Spain's own responsiblity with the silly property boom and the Zapatero (zero reform) years.

The Euro became a victim of the crisis partly because of its own inadequacies (which are slowly been remedied) but to a great extent because it became the scapegoat for spivs, toffs, sceptics and other manipulators (mainly from the anglo-sphere) used to earning quick easy bucks without actually doing much.

A just end to the crisis would see the Euro surviving (and doing well) and the criminal fraudsters in the City biting the dust. Now that would be justice.

Since the sceptics were convinced the Euro woud have disappeared by now and this eventuallity seems to be disappearing itself further and further into the horizon, I conclude things are not going their way. The only thing that seems to be going their way is the Ukexit. But that will be avery bloody affair, one which many sceptics are unlikely to survice in a sane state of mind.


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