Friday, August 30, 2013

Gib, briefly; The Spanish economy; Spanish politics; The Spanish judiciary; Rugby; and American beliefs.


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.

5 comments:

Ferrolano said...

And I suppose Colin that 100% of Americans believe that rugby should be played by a variable team of 50, all wearing body armour and called football – I guess that they have never heard of the “Wall Game”………..

BTW, the video clip in the obituary is brilliant, what a run!

Anonymous said...


Colin, I'm disappointed in you, because you missed the most important American belief of all, which is odd, since you profess to having received a Catholic upbringing.

It's the "Second Coming" - Which will be happen in Israel.

Where the righteous will be spared and you (and I) will be sent to you know where.

Knowing this, as an American President, wouldn't you be prepared to donate $12B EACH YEAR - YES, THAT'S RIGHT - $12B EACH YEAR, to Israel for its protection.

Puzzled as to why you omitted this tiny detail.

And you complain about Spanish corruption.

Q1-10

Colin said...

I know all about The Rapture, from watching American Dad.

Though this may not be the same thing.

Either way, I didn't mention it as it wasn't in the list I read.

Anonymous said...


Colin,

I see Señor Chopped is in town, seeing our benighted "holed below the water line" PM.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/gibraltar/10276632/David-Cameron-vows-to-defend-Gibraltar.html

If he thinks the Commons cares any more for Gibraltarians than the thousands of gassed Syrians or the millions of macheted Congo citizens, he has another think coming.

Furthermore, after last night, he is addressing the monkey rather than the organ grinder. Maybe he is wasting his time?

Get that machete out Mr.Cameron and let's see Señor Chopped diced into a million pieces.

Q1-10

Anonymous said...


Colin,

On an old topic

http://www.elperiodico.com/es/noticias/sociedad/renfe-envia-juez-protocolo-uso-moviles-tren-2612809

This comes near the end

"El accidente ferroviario, cuya causa más probable fue el exceso de velocidad . . ."

Either a clairvoyant reporter, or one with no brain.

Good to hear the judge is still shuffling papers.

Q1-10

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