Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Spanish PM, Sr Rajoy, is famed for being a man of few words. Recently these have been used to insist the economy will begin to grow later this year. But, as the evidence grows that he's received illegal cash payments for 20 years and as the IMF says we won't see a recovery until 2015, Sr Rajoy has reverted to the silence which has served him so well over the years. Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a crook and an incompetent, than to open it and prove it, as he might say. So it's left to the finance minister to insist that [accurate or not] the corruption claims will not threaten the government or the country’s ‘return to stability’. He's probably half right.

For those in Spain who, unlike St Rajoy, do use words, a pretty common one is joder, or 'fuck'. But I didn't think I'd ever see it in a headline to an El País article. In Sunday's Business Section to be exact - En Qué Momento se Jodió La Unión Europa? 'At what point did the EU become fucked?' This seems to be a variation of a similar question from Mario Vargas Llosa about Perú.

And talking of the EU . . . Our Ambrose went to town in an article today about the continuing damage being done to the southern economies by the austerity program:- Europe’s debt-crisis strategy is near collapse. The long-awaited recovery has failed to take wing. Debt ratios across southern Europe are rising at an accelerating pace. Political consent for extreme austerity is breaking down in almost every EMU crisis state. And now the US Federal Reserve has inflicted a full-blown credit shock for good measure. As for our economy:- Spain’s crisis has a new twist. The ruling Partido Popular is caught in a slush-fund scandal of such gravity that it cannot plausibly brazen out the allegations any longer, let alone rally the nation behind another year of scorched-earth cuts. El Mundo says a “pre-revolutionary” mood is taking hold. More here.

The age of consent in Spain is only 13, way out of line with its European partners. And, indeed, with many other countries around the world. The government has said it's going to increase it but only to 15. Still below that in other countries. For the life of me, I can't understand the logic here but, then, I'm not a [corrupt or otherwise] politician. I can't imagine it has anything to do with the Catholic Church but you never know.

Prostitution: After listening to a recent BBC panel discussion on this, my conclusion was that its definition depends entirely on which branch of philosophy or science you're coming from. In other words, there's no definition acceptable to all. As to whether it's harmful, there was no agreement between the experts. So I'm glad this is a decision I don't have to take.

Chip & Pin: Does this French invention mean its end? Well, not in Spain it doesn't. For it hasn't even started here yet. At least, not anywhere I've been. Perhaps we'll miss it out and go straight to fingerprints, in about 10 years time. And perhaps we won't.

What is it with the hot weather and ants? Do they feel compelled once the temperature reaches a certain point to flood out of their subterranean refuges into the kitchens of not only myself but also my lovely neighbours Ester and Amparo? Forcing me to do something I'm rather averse to and kill them in one way or another. It would seem so, though, it's thirst that forces them upwards, rather than heat.

Finally . . . You've never heard Ode to Joy played until you've heard it rendered badly on a recorder by a drug addict. Twenty times in succession. Joy was not my predominant feeling. OD'd - now you're talking.

5 comments:

Ferrolano said...

Colin, I can picture it now, when the “chip & pin” move on in favour of fingerprint date, the supermarket cashier, when presented with my debit card as means of payment, will not only ask for ID with name and photograph, but it must also include a picture of your fingerprint. Obviously, he or she will do an immediate compare with that being read by the scanner…….

Colin said...

You jest but . . . .

Actually, what will probably happen is you will:
1. Show your ID
2. Sign a piece of paper,
3. Sign an electronic gizmo which has checked your chip, then
4. Stick your finger in the reader.

Only then will you be allowed to take away the packet of toilet rolls you've bought

And the checkout person will tell you it's all for your security. As if.

Spaniards seem incapable at times of accepting one technology replaces another.

Ferrolano said...

Of course the irony to the whole charade is that you take same card to the bank, poke it into a machine, type in what you want, enter a PIN, wait for a few seconds, the card is returned to you along with whatever you asked for and not a peep about “Let’s see some identity” as you walk away with perhaps two or three hundred euros.

To me, it is not about accepting technology, it is “control”, a leftover from a previous regime that is ingrained in the makeup of the people. Try explain to a Spaniard that in the UK we do not carry ID cards and that driving licenses are not required to have a photograph of the holder.

Perry said...

Ferrolano,

The UK driving licence is in two "EU" parts now. Plastic card with photo and the dreaded ring of stars in top left hand with UK in the centre. The paper section Counterpart is to record any driving offences etc.; mine is clean! I had to yield up my Great Britain paper licence when I turned 70.

That leads me to another point. There was a Kingdom of England from 927 AD until 1707 AD. Then we became the Kingdom of Great Britain. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created with Act of Union with Ireland in 1801 and survived until being renamed United Kingdom of Great Britain ( N0rthern Ireland in 1927 AD.

So, why UK on my licence & a GB sticker on my car?

With regard to your search for a TV, do you know whether there are there any that will operate without a "hard wired" aerial? After all, our PCs, XBoxs and other items are wireless from the Broadband modem.

Cordially,

Perry

Perry said...

Colin,

With regard to your search for a TV, do you know whether there are there any that will operate without a "hard wired" aerial? After all, our PCs, XBoxs and other items are wireless from the Broadband modem.

Cordially,

Perry

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