Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spain's President Rajoy has assured us that his government knows what it's doing, that 'things are getting better' and that 'the economy is growing'. I'm guessing there's not a single person in the country – including Sr Rajoy – who believes any of these. As for his plea that people be patient, what choice do they have? They can't vote him out for another two years and the Revolution is yet to get off the ground. Rajoy has also insisted that Rajoy his government's economic forecasts involved "conservative but credible predictions". So credible, in fact, that no one will believe them either.

As for how the Spanish populace is taking austerity and its consequences, here's one summary of current travails, attitudes and social trends.

The euro: I rather like the way Edward Hugh puts it in his latest review of the Spanish economy - It is evident that participation in the common currency has had the perfectly foreseeable effect on Spain of making it simple to get into trouble and a lot harder to get out of it. Borrowing was cheap and easy of access during the boom years, now lending to Spain’s banks has all but dried up, and what there is available remains burdensomely expensive. Mr Hugh adds that: The currency bears an uncanny resemblance to Dr Strangelove’s doomsday machine, designed so that one day it would almost inevitably blow up the global financial system, but constructed so that any attempt to dismantle it would also produce the same outcome.

The eurozone: Reader David has kindly brought my attention to the devastating demolition of the picture drawn by Sylvie Goulard and cited in my post of yesterday. To see this scroll down a little bit until you reach the letter from Giles Conway-Gordon. Alfie Mittington will surely enjoy it. And here's an interesting account of Iceland's changed attitude towards membership of the eurozone. Not exactly a managed or unmanaged departure but certainly a broken engagement.

I was intrigued to see a foto of a couple of border collies in one of today's local papers, and delighted to read they'd given a demonstration at a horse fair up in the hills of 'harmony between man and animal without the need for leads, reins or spurs'. For those who don't know, these dogs are the most intelligent on the planet, yet also the most 'biddable'.

I thought, briefly, of posting a foto of every one of the 100+ shops that have closed in Pontevedra but decided you'd all be bored stiff. Here's one, though, that I do want to show:-

This is (or was) one of the shops in a small street in Pontevedra's old quarter renowned for the high prices of the wares on sale there. It's owned by a woman reputed to own several of the shops and it's the one which had on display an Iranian wood and leather chair for 850 euros (“To you only 680”) which I mentioned a while back. Things must be really bad when the truly affluent stop paying ludicrous prices for fashionable items. Incidentally, I've said that Pontevedra has a surfeit of ladies' accessories and kids' sweet shops but, as far as I can see, for each one that closes another one opens. I guess it makes sense to someone, possibly someone with a lot of black money to whiten.

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