Just going back to the intemperate response to my 5 points about the silly mayor's Gibraltar montage (or, if you like, the mayor's silly Gibraltar montage) . . . A Spanish friend simply couldn't understand why I couldn't be bothered to reply to it in kind. She even drafted an (insulting) response and was mortified when I declined to use it. It's in the blood, it would seem.
The Spanish economy may or may not be improving. It may even, as the government claims, have bottomed out and turned the corner, promising growth by the end of the year. But it's hard to say. On the negative hand, final figures for 2012 have increased the decline in GDP, from -1.4% to -1.6%. On the positive hand, the 2nd quarter's GDP decline was much less than the 1st quarter's, allowing the government to crow that the recession was finally (almost) over. The one certain bright spot is continuing growth in exports but this is offset by a continuing decline (37 months now) in domestic demand. And the (official) unemployment figure continues to be exceptionally high at 26%, with no one predicting it's going to fall any time soon. As to public perception, one commentator reported that "Spaniards on the street scoff at proclamations of an end to the crisis." And the IMF has sharply reduced next year's growth forecast from 0.7% to zero. Which is less than encouraging. Their figures for 2015 and 2016 are growth of 0.3% and 1.2% but I suspect we can take these with the proverbial pinch of salt.
There was an interesting contrast in parliamentary politics between the UK and Spain this week. Here in Spain, delegates of the PP party rallied around their beleaguered leader, Sr Rajoy, to protect him from judicial investigation for corruption. Over in the UK last night, several members of the Conservative party voted with the Opposition to scupper David Cameron's plans for supporting the USA in an attack on Syria. As a result, some say, Cameron is now holed below the water-line and will soon be replaced as leader and, possibly, Prime Minister. It's impossible to imagine this happening In the more tribal environment of Spanish politics.
I'm not sure it has any real significance but Rajoy's PP party - having refused to do anything about a mayor who made scurrilous remarks about socialists shot during the civil war - has announced it's going to take action against party members who, one way or another, evince fascist - even Nazi - tendencies. I guess they could hardly do less, even if their heart isn't really in it.
Finally on the PP . . . It's confirmed that computers used by the ex-treasurer accused of taking and making illegal payments have all had their hard drives wiped. Just before being handed over to the investigating judge. Nothing could better show a balls-out contempt for the judicial process and for the public. Not many of whom, it's reported, believed Sr Rajoy's protestations of innocence last month. And who could blame them?
Talking of judges . . . The Spanish criminal system is founded on an initial investigation by a judge, who decides whether and how things are to proceed further. These judges thus become media figures, especially if they're young, female and pretty. And so they come under pressure both from the media and the government. Perhaps this is why the Spanish public are rather less positive about their judiciary than is the case in other countries. In a word, they see corruption there as well as elsewhere.
Well, something must be happening in respect of my mobile phone; while my previous phone languishes in the shop where it's going to be 'liberated', the one Movistar lent me tells me my September bill just rose to 9 cents. Maybe I'll understand this when I get a paper copy.
If you don't understand how rugby works or if you want to see what's claimed to be the greatest-ever try, click here.
Finally . . . Some statistics on Americans I've just read:-
76% believe in the biblical account of creation
79% believe that the miracles in the Bible actually took place
76% believe in angels, the devil and other immaterial souls
67% believe they will exist in some form after death
Only 15% believe that Darwin's theory of evolution is the best explanation for the origin of human life on earth
Wow. If you've got a humanist agenda in the USA, you're certainly up against it.