Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Having consulted with my ever-travelling sister on the current security arrangements for liquids, creams, etc., before leaving Madrid I put my collection of these into a plastic bag in my hand luggage. And I then did the same with my medications. But then I completely forgot about them and left them in my bag when going through the security check at the airport. With no consequence whatsoever. For the bag went straight through the machine.What this says about security at Madrid airport, I can't say but I was determined to get things right when leaving Hamburg this morning.

The security check at Hamburg airport is the most civilised I've yet encountered, with a simple but ingenious way of getting the plastic trays back to the starting point. And with none of the rush of people getting in each other's way on both sides of the X-ray machine. Anyway, this time I did put the two plastic bags in one of the trays. And promptly threw the system into confusion. I was only allowed one plastic bag, the lady told me, in German. Then, fingering the medications bag, she asked me if it was medications. Again in German. Which was fair enough. What do you want me to do, I asked. In English. Do you want me to put them all in the same bag? Faced with both a linguistic and a modus operandi question, she did the sensible thing and kicked the problem upstairs, passing the medications bag to the chap managing the X-ray machine. Happily, his response was a cursory glance and Gallic shrug, before passing it back to her. And so it all ended happily. Though I'm none the wiser as to what I should've done with the medications. The endless vicissitudes of life.

Once through security, I proceeded to buy a coffee and a small bottle of water. At 6.65 euros, I felt this entitled me to the tray they came on. As it's plastic, it shouldn't set off any alarms.

Possibly like you, dear reader, I'm getting increasingly annoyed by Facebook's desperate attempts to make money and justify its share price. Their latest ruse is to present me with a 'Suggested Page'. Today's was doubly irritating in that it's a waste of my time to read the promotion and, in addition, I resent being told about SuperLove hotels, the insinuation being that I'm the type of person who'd want to use them.

But back to Spain . . . This is an overview of Spain and her problems from my fellow blogger, Matthew Bennett. I meant to post it a few weeks ago but, for some reason or other, didn't. It was written before the latest corruption mega-crisis but, nonetheless, makes for doleful reading.

Bringing us smack up todate, here's a Google translation of an article in today's El País by Joan Ridao. As I'm catching the night train shortly, I can't buff it up. But it should be reasonably understandable. And at least you'll get a good idea of how much work I have to do with these stabs at a faithful translation. The technology has a way to go.


Public ethics goes through a bad time. Repeated episodes of corruption that we attend more and more perplexed, because of its magnitude and brazenness are real shells that blew up the credibility of the democratic system and, in general, the public response. What's more, all this excrescence emerges and spreads its worst effluvia acute in a context of economic and institutional crisis, which reaches from the monarchy to the Supreme Judicial Council, and in the midst of a first-order territorial conflict. The outrage is the order of the day and only one piece missing spark, as a few days ago a survey showed on these pages, to begin to slide down the slope frightening populism or fascism, as in Greece. Already at such a pandemic who advocated the return of surgeons here iron evokes authoritarian revolts inspired by the nearby Arab Spring.

More gives you the bare drive, advised the blind Lazarus. Barcenas, Gürtel, Palma Arena, Urdangarin, Palau, Pallerols, ITV, Pokémon, suspicions about Pujol or attic of Ignacio Gonzalez Marbella intermingle with Telefónica move to the fifth worst manager in the world, according to Bloomberg Business Week: Rodrigo Rato. The latter closes, for now, the illustrious list expolíticos passing dark area occupying seats on boards of directors as compensation to former favours rendered. This movement of chips is not a case of cronyism, or malpractice of the "revolving door", but a masterstroke that allows a smooth landing on a private sandy public exdirectivo responsible for management as awkward as allegedly fraudulent Bankia.

And speaking of bank managers, is not low-level corruption that some of them, after ruining their bodies and force the taxpayer suffered to secure their accounts with billions, have had the effrontery to perceive astronomical compensation? Moreover, no less troubling are the favored treatment wrapped in an aura of apparent legality, such as bankers' and expolíticos' pardons; municipal complicity with the employer of Madrid Arena, or third degree Carromero swift. These episodes may even reprehensible phenomena admixtures other less serious, but not free from reproach, as the syndrome of the "business class" or cystic and frustrating "mediocracy" installed, which favours the ineptitude installed in certain positions responsibility. This explains the feeling unbearable suffering citizens from both shameful privilege.

Mind you, this is not a list to overwhelm the reader. I intend to give relief to the wide casuistry the phenomenon and, of course, difficult to eradicate. Yet there is nothing to celebrate before all this filth go surfacing through the work of judges and the press, that despite its logical easements, sometimes not hesitate to dig so great misery. Although stumbled, the system works. Moreover, given the tepid and shameful reactions of some games against both muskrat, or worse, double standards and crass cynicism displayed by some political leaders, as Cospedal or Montoro, is more than likely that the parties will not investigate cases or that affect them and to debug any responsibility, of course, before you do justice, finance or even disappeared Court.

The question is, can we finish with corruption? Goes without saying that corruption is not a disease exclusive of the public sphere, but it is just as poignant in other areas of life. Although the public should be required because a plus manages all resources. Like it or not, has to do with the human condition. As example will suffice: the Index of Corruption Perception 2012, prepared by the NGO Transparency International puts Spain in the 13th place of the EU in the ranking of corrupt states, and in 30 of the world tied (what irony !) with Botswana, but behind France. The more transparent, again: Denmark, New Zealand and Finland. Obvious that in every country attend cultural and political variables own social development, and the idiosyncrasies of the place.

No choice but to trust in democracy and its checks and balances.

Accepting, then, a certain anthropological and cultural determinism, according to Weber, who extolled the values ​​of the Protestant ethic, which is deemed essential in our Southern Catholic context, pardon the quip, is that politicians look, plus the required dedication to service, a good dose of transparency and are subject to strict controls. Honesty is assumed. What we know is the origin, nature and purpose of their activities and assets. Not so much as to toughen sanctions which sheet to lay on the line of political activity and parties. Without going any further, the last reform of the Penal Code ended the garantismo for crimes related to public corruption and private (proper and improper bribery, influence peddling, urban crime, money laundering, etc.). Indeed, given its no preventive effect, it must maximize the monitoring and Transparency Act via an audit by the Court of Auditors and speed means.

And finally, a new electoral law to end the party democracy and enhance the proximity of voters to elect. Although it sounds paradoxical, we are forced to rely on democracy and its checks and balances as exit mechanism to their own perversions. At the end of the day, the problem is not the theatre but the actors and their probity. So, until proven otherwise, democracy is better than theocracy or authoritarian solutions. Political commitment are needed, honest and without letters of marque. But the silent majority requires extreme control, greater transparency and less party politics.

Finally . . . A quote from Ricky Gervais:- “There are seven billion people in the world – I don't need them all to like me.” Just as well, then.


Az said...

In 2009 I took a flight from Dublin (where SA passport holders don't require a visa) to Edinburgh (where we do require a visa) and walked right into Edinburgh with absolutely no security / immigration checks whatsoever. In fact, there wasn't even anybody at the exit - I wish this was the case for all the countries I visit.

Colin Davies said...

Yes, I wasn't asked for ID in either direction to/from Hamburg. Lufthansa referred to their flights as 'regional'. I guess this is because they were between two countries which are both members of the Schengen Agreement. Britain isn't and so flights to and from the UK rank as 'international' and ID is required.

The UK may have special arrangements with Ireland.

James Atkinson said...

On a clear day you can see Rosslare, Ireland from Pembroke, Wales. But the irish say you can't see Pembroke from Rosslare, Ireland. The explanation of course is that is because Wales is closer to Ireland, than Ireland is to Wales.