Friday, May 17, 2013

Thoughts from Galicia

Well, well, well. We finally have a Spanish banker in jail, though only because he's on trial and is considered a flight risk. In British terms, not really jailed but only 'remanded in custody'. So, plenty of time to get his pardon drafted. It's the ex-president of Caja Madrid, by the way. Which is one of the several cajas and banks which merged into Bankía, sucking in 23 million euros of EU rescue funds in the process. This gentleman, as it happens, had no banking experience at all when he was appointed. But he was a close friend (i. e. crony) of the then president. Sr. Aznar. Who's now in the States lecturing MBA students. More here.

But, truth to tell, people do occasionally get sacked for malfeasance here in Spain. Here's the odd tale of one such:-

I have a switch in my car which turns the lights on automatically, as needed. I was just about to use it this evening when I was struck by the thought that the opinion of some Japanese designer might not be the same as that of some officious traffic cop down in Pontevedra with the power to fine me 200 euros for having the lights on what he considers to be the wrong setting. So I didn't use the option. And quite possibly never will.

President Hollande has a popularity ranking in France about as low as that of his oppo here in Spain, President Rajoy. Despite being conspicuously incapable of running his own country, M Hollande has decided not only that what will save the EU is a drive to early economic government but also that he's the person to lead this. Making France great, en passant. This sort of thing may go down well in Paris but it's hard to see anyone else taking it seriously.

Still on the French . . . One of the more surprising findings from recent surveys is that France is now the most eurosceptic country in Europe. In part, it's said, this is because they think the Anglos have won the battles for language supremacy and EU economic philosophy. Looks to me like a case of picking up your balls and walking off the petanque court.

Talking of the EU . . . I noted again this morning that we still have EuroNews. Given the competition from the BBC, Sky News, France24 and Al Jazeera, can there be anyone in Europe who watches it? An obvious saving. But one which is never going to be made, of course.

I was listening to the blues song Diggin' my potatoes (and tramplin' on my vines) this morning, a song with particular relevance to Galicia, where there are potatoes and vines in profusion. Having got the lyrics off the internet and having considered the format of blues verses, it struck me that, in their concision, they were the tweets of their day and place. Passed on not by electronics but by verbal repetition. Or singing, as it's called.

Talking about singing . . . There were reports in the British press this week of the mobile phone of a mourner going off as the deceased was being lowered into the grave. The tune? If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.

Today's example of how La Crisis is hitting home:- Successful contestants on a Spanish TV program haven't been paid their winnings for the last 2 years. Why does the program continue? Probably because it goes out on one of the (loss-making) regional TV channels and pride is at stake.

Finally . . . Down in Veggie Square at midday today, I clipped an annoying pigeon with a laminated menu. When I looked up, it was to see not one but four 5 year old girls staring at me in a mixture of horror, disgust and misplaced sympathy for the flying rat. But, then, their parents were quite happy to let them feed the pests, so they were hardly getting the right moral guidance in this area. But it did make me think twice about doing it again.

1 comment:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

I believe President Hollande's popularity rating is roughly the same as King Louis XVI's....

I wonder if he sleeps at night...