Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Spanish Finance Minister says the recession is over. Trouble is, no one's going to believe him. This is not just because the IMF takes a more negative view of the future but because hardly anyone in Spain believes anyone else. As someone said to me a few years ago - "This is not so much a corrupt society as a low trust society". See here for more on this.

One thing that looks unlikely to help get Spain out of its rut is a rash of new businesses. For Spain continues to be a difficult place in which to start an operation. Which might help to explain why so many young people want to become civil servants and so few of them want to entrpreneurs.

The Diario de Pontevedra reports that a number of cafés in town have set up large plastic owls to deter the seagulls and pigeons that are more of a nuisance than ever this year. Sadly, I'm not credited as the pioneer of this - largely ineffective - initiative.

Another Pontevedra experiment that failed - before my time - was that of parking meters. Since then, the council's attempts to stop illegal parking have resided in a single grua - a truck that takes offenders to a pound next to the town's cemetery. But now we're to follow La Coruña and Vigo in having a multamovil - a car with a camera that snaps offenders. Particularly, it's said, those who park in unloading bays. It'll be interesting to see whether this means fewer cars double-parked with their hazard lights flashing away.

President Rajoy has finally said something about the allegations that he and several colleagues were paid large sums out of a slush fund financed by construction companies and property developers. Essentially, it was that he had nothing to add to what he said a while back. The Opposition party, the PSOE, is considering calling for a vote of no confidence, their worry surely being they might win it and so put somebody better that the hapless Sr Rajoy into power. The guy through whom the money was routed now has a new lawyer - an ex judge who was de-barred after a conviction for perversion of the course of justice. As usually happens with people of his rank, he was pardoned by the right-of-centre PP government of the day, under President Aznar. Who's now accused of having his daughter's lavish wedding paid for out of the slush fund.

Down at the other end of the social scale, small investors who've been demonstrating against the loss of their life-savings via the mis-selling of bank preferential shares have been hit by an "avalanche" of fines for minor infractions including "not wearing seatbelts" and honking horns. I don't suppose any of them will be getting a pardon.

Finally . . . There's a long-running British sitcom called Benidorm. Set, of course, in the Spanish city of that name. I read this sniffy review today from The Guardian, the house journal of the liberal intelligentsia - "How is it that this stuff is being made, and screened, in 2011? It's like the script was taken from someone's collection of saucy postcards. It is back, inexplicably, for a third series. Well, there is an explanation of course: millions of people watch it. The mystery is why they do." The simple explanation of this 'mystery' is that it's well-written, beautifully acted by the ensemble and bloody funny. And there's room for everything. It doesn't all have to be Curb Your Enthusiasm sharp.


James Atkinson said...

Well if they said it was the third series they are a little out of date, I have the dvd collections for at least four series. It was better in the earlier series, because the episodes were 30 mins long, well 24 excluding the adverts, now they are going for the full hour it isn't quite so tight, still funny though. I read the Guardian, and sometimes even the Telegraph, don't much like the politics of the Telegraph, but think it's a better read on the whole. The Guardian can be very snooty, a bit "Up itself" is the expression I believe. whilst I can see the relationship to the Carry On films, Benidorm is far better IMHO.

James Atkinson said...

Trust me to not read you blog with due care an attention, I see you were reading an old copy of the Groaniad from 2011. Another answer as to why it so popular of course is that it isn't that unrealistic, there are characters out there just like the ones portrayed, and not a few of them either. But rather like the snooty token middle class couple from the first two series, the Guardian likes to avoid them, and if at all possible will stay at another hotel, away from the hoi polloi