Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Aga Khan is going through a divorce and this has shone a light on his personal fortune of 5-15 billion euros. Most of this has come from voluntary donations from members of the Muslim Ismaili community. As I was saying about the Rev Moon, it looks like a really smart move to start and head up a religion.

With its 17 regional governments, Spain has an awful lot of politicians. And with politicians come bureaucrats, like fleas on a dog. So it is that companies wanting to operate throughout the country currently have to seek 17 different licences. As of mid-year, though, they'll be able to do this on the basis of just one. This, I guess, is another positive consequence of the Crisis but better late than never.

Talking about the impact of La Crisis, can it be a coincidence that I've had some exceptionally pleasant treatment at the hands of shop assistants over the last week?

Another reform which may be in the offing is that of Executive's power to pardon criminals without explanation. Which is an open invitation to the sort of conspiracy thinking we've recently had about the kamikaze driver who was let off a 13 year sentence and given just a small fine. The head of the Spain's Constitutional Court has said that the system needs to change. “Or at least be explained”. Indeed it does. Especially as the current PP government has pardoned three times as many criminals in just one year as its predecessor did in eight years in power.

A UK report suggests that the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 is now £222,458. Thank God, then, they're all worth every penny of that.

Corruption: Here's a recent and apposite El País editorial on the subject:- "Beyond the need to clarify exactly what the source of Bárcenas’ funds is, there is the problem of the public becoming sick to the back teeth of corruption and tax evasion. There is no transparency regarding the sources of the financing of political parties, nor the loans they receive, the companies they have links with, and not even whether or not Bárcenas made use of the government’s fiscal amnesty to regularize part of these funds with the taxman. . . . The economic and financial crisis that we are living through has seen the patience of the public run out when it comes to the plundering of public funds and tax evasion. The PP must not wait for the results of a judicial investigation, which will presumably move at a snail’s pace. The parties must actively take control of their expenditure and their income and guarantee the transparency and legality of the funds under their management. If they don’t, they will be clearing a path for populism and radicalism." The full text is here.

Finally . . . My fellow blogger Lenox Napier is now producing a weekly newsletter by the name of Business over Tapas. This is a “weekly report on the finance, the economy, the housing, the opportunities and the pitfalls of life in Spain, together with some news items, press cuttings and translations of stories of interest, with special focus on life as a foreign resident and property owner in this splendid but sometimes frustrating country.” Take a look here if you fit the bill. Or even if you don't. 

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