Thursday, December 20, 2012

Well, the Crisis has had at least one positive consequence - At last something is being done about the exorbitant salaries of mayors around Spain. In future they'll be based, not on the whim of the job holders and their placemen, but on the number of inhabitants in their cities or towns. And a salary will never exceed that of a Secretary of State, or c.68,000 euros. Thousands of unhappy mayors will see their earnings plummet – particularly those of Madrid and Barcelona, currently on more than 100,000 euros a year. My own suggestion would be that a close watch be kept on those mayors who've lost out, as they may soon be investigating compensatory schemes. Meanwhile, I have a suspicion this measure may end up in the Constitutional Court.

Talking of which, these are the matters this noble body is currently considering:-
  • Are the government's pension reforms constitutional?
  • Can the government force the regions/provinces/towns not to pay the extra month's salary usually received by civil servants at Christmas?
  • Can the government stop Cataluña imposing a tax on bank deposits?
  • Can the government stop regions other than the Basque Country providing healthcare to people 'without papers'?
The Court has recently found it unconstitutional for the government to try to stop regional governments giving healthcare to 'people without papers', whom I understand to be illegal immigrants. The government has responded with the claim that this judgement applies only to the Basque Country but we will see.

I mentioned the other day that the Spanish tourism and export sectors were both defying the Crisis and growing well. There's a third business which is clearly expanding - begging. On my way to the main square today, I passed five sorry-looking folk sitting passively on the steps of shops that have closed, behind little placards that spell out their woes. And to sit outside any bar now is to invite the attentions of a stream of panhandlers. Finally, it's not possible to park in any public place in town without someone seeking payment for effectively doing nothing. I'm guessing that, since the dole stops after two years, if you have no family to rely on, begging is your only option in country of 26% unemployment, and rising. But I could be wrong. It could all be a vast (Rumanian?) business. Whatever, I wonder how many other European cities are afflicted by this phenomenon.

On a happier note, I had the pleasure of seeing a performance of the New Orleans Gospel Chorale last night. It confirmed that the Devil certainly doesn't have all the best tunes. The evening began well, with me winning a bet that it wouldn't start on time. And then with the laughter of a phone ringing five minutes after we'd been asked to switch them all off. And after the soloist had started singing. But, hey, we take these things in our stride in Spain and they didn't stop the evening being a joy.

Finally . . . Courtesy of Prospect magazine, here's a comparison of some English words and phrases and their equivalents in Indian English, or Hinglish. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did:-

English             Hinglish
Huge mistake - Himalayan blunder
100% - Cent per cent
Arrested - Charge-sheeted
Naughty - Badmash
In need of a drink - Glassy
Nepotism - Son stroke
Something was ruined - Gone for a six
Sexual harassment - Eve teasing
Out of town - Out of station
To graduate - To pass out
To go haywire - To go for a toss
Leisure activity lacking purpose - Timepass
Blister - Shoebite
Sunglasses - Goggles
Playing hard to get - Acting pricey.

How appropriate son stroke would be for Spain.

1 comment:

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