Who knows why but the PP party is blocking all discussion in Congress on the slush fund allegations made against it.This probably doesn't bode well for the prospects of an entirely independent investigation into these. The current strategy seems to be to get matters into the hands of the snail's-pace courts, in the knowledge this will seem like they're taking action, when they're really kicking the ball into the long grass.
Against the backcloth of what's happening here – corruption at senior levels of the government – and what isn't happening – resignations or an independent enquiry – the Spanish seem genuinely astonished that a British minister should resign for the piddling offence of perverting the course of justice by having his wife take the rap for his speeding offence. Differing perspectives. Differing Rules of Law.
But it's not as if there's absolutely nothing happening here; the on-line petition seeking the resignation of President Rajoy has now garnered more than a million signatures. Personally, I'm not sure there'll be any substantive change in Spain without violence. And I'm prepared to admit that, if I were 25 and unemployed, I'd probably be thinking of how to initiate something. It's simply not true that nothing was ever achieved by violence.
Reflecting the fact there are few bums on seats, the Spanish rail organisation – RENFE – has announced an across-the-board reduction of 11% in prices for the AVE high-speed train. Plus discounts of up to 75%. Of course, all this is academic to us here in Galicia, where we suspect we'll never see the completion of the Madrid to La Coruña line, with its offshoot down to Santiago, Pontevedra and Vigo. Plans to extend this to Oporto were abandoned long ago, when the Portuguese said they had far more sensible things to spend billions on. So they are sticking with the old train that takes more than 3 hours to do the 150km journey from Oporto to Vigo.
Art Nouveau in Italy is known as Stilo Liberty, after the London store which popularised it. Incidentally, the capital of Latvia, Riga, is said to contain the finest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe. Who'd have thought it?
I'm not over fond of cats at the best of times but never less so than when the first thing I saw on returning from Madrid was a mangled robin on my lawn. Still, under the same lawn was the en-trapped mole which had been dotting it with hills. So you win some and you lose some.
Or as Thomas Carlyle put it:- No man lives without jostling and being jostled; in all ways he has to elbow himself through the world, giving and receiving offence. Especially on a Spanish pavement.
Finally . . . For the first time in 12 years, I had a 4-bed compartment to myself on Tuesday night. If anyone was snoring or coughing, I never noticed it. More importantly, was this luxury a reflection of La Crisis?