Monday, August 05, 2013

The Train Crash; Sr Rajoy's credibility; Hubris and her mate; and Gibraltar.

The Train Crash: One of the odd things about last week was the way in which early statements later turned out to be completely wrong. One of these was that the use of phones was forbidden in the driver's cabin, whereas they're not barred at all. Backing off from the detail, there were a couple of good letters in yesterday's El País. For those who read Spanish - or want to try Google - they are at the end of this post. The president of Asdif has said that the security system will be changed along the entire line from Madrid to La Coruña and that some sections could have the ERTMS system in place "quite possibly before next year·. Which may well be rapid but doesn't sound like it.

Sr Rajoy and PP Corruption: Needless to write, very few people believe he was telling us the truth. Witness another letter from yesterday's El País, also below.

Hubris and Nemesis: It's not often you see an industry rocket upwards, soar and then crash to earth but this is what has happened to Spain's solar power-generating system. Not so long ago, you could see - almost touch - impressive evidence of large-scale investment as you drove south towards Madrid - fields full of sunflower-aping solar panels. As The Economist says, the government's plans were overambitious and the costs unsustainable. The government then bungled revision of its plans, reducing its subsidies significantly and regularly. Investors and manufacturers have been left high and dry and the former will think twice about putting their money into Spain again.

Gibraltar: Well, the pathetic but predictable sabre-rattling was the lead item not only in El País yesterday but also on the BBC TV News. Can it really deserve this prominence? Astonishingly, it's now being reported that Spain will impose a 50 euro 'congestion' charge on those wanting to cross the border, most of whom are Spanish who work in Gib. The Spanish media is faithfully reporting that the spark for this latest clash was the dumping of concrete blocks in the sea, thus affecting the trawling capability of Spanish fishermen and causing environmental damage. No mention, then, that this is a response to what Gib regards as illegal fishing and that the government of Andalucia has committed the same 'environmental crime' in 23 places along its coast, one of which is Gibraltar's near neighbour, La Línea.

My own solution would be to give the place independence, though this has the downside that, having practised with Perejil island, the Spanish would immediately invade it. Arguing, of course, that you can't invade your own territory. They wouldn't be welcomed with open arms by the liberated denizens of El Peñón but this might not worry them as the ratings of Sr Rajoy and the PP party would surely rise.

Finally . . . For no good reason, here's a recording of an (allegedly) 80 year old Charles Trénet performing La Mer before orchestra and choir. Who come into their own towards the end. As with most Spanish men, Trénet clearly had the gene which kept his hair brown. Or was it genie?

LETTERS IN SUNDAY'S EL PAÍS

Señor RaJoy and his appearance in Parliament

El presidente Rajoy no nos ha defraudado en su esperada comparecencia en el Congreso. ¿Alguien pensaba que iba a admitir alguna irregularidad? Ha leído, punto por punto (incluso las acotaciones que le han puesto entre paréntesis para advertirle que la cita terminaba: “fin de la cita”), el discurso que le han escrito. Lo mismo ha hecho en la réplica, que ya llevaba preparada, sin importarle en absoluto las acusaciones argumentadas de la oposición, a las que no ha contestado, como tampoco lo ha hecho a ninguna de las 20 preguntas realizadas por Rosa Díez, todas ellas comprometedoras y también basadas en los hechos que todos conocemos. Solo ha reconocido que se equivocó con Bárcenas, pero sin ninguna consecuencia política, como si un error de ese calibre no tuviera la menor importancia. Ni siquiera ha pedido perdón ni ha dicho que lo sentía.

De la financiación ilegal del PP, nada de nada, de los sobresueldos en negro tampoco, de los 200.000 euros del PP de Castilla-La Mancha, ni una palabra. Ha mentido varias veces, como cuando ha dicho que cortó con Bárcenas cuando se enteró de lo del dinero en Suiza y le puso un mensaje de ánimo dos días después.

Aunque ya nos vamos acostumbrando a sus mentiras. Por ejemplo, nos aseguró que el rescate bancario no nos iba a costar ni un céntimo a los ciudadanos, y ya llevamos más de 30.000 millones de euros. ¿Cuántos agujeros podrían tapar esos miles de millones? Este señor no merece ser presidente de un país democrático.— Juan Antonio Melero. Madrid.
El señor Rajoy dice que el señor Bárcenas le ha engañado. Incluso suponiendo que el presidente del Gobierno diga la verdad —claro, claro, no lo tengo—, lo cierto es que poca confianza me merece un “gestor” al que le han robado millones sin que se entere. Y desde luego no me da la confianza suficiente como para dejar en sus manos los fondos públicos aportados por todos los españoles para que los gestione. Pero igual soy yo...— Irene Pedrosa. Bilbao.

The Train Crash

1.

Habría que reflexionar sobre un hecho sobre el que, al parecer, hasta ahora nadie ha preguntado: si es tolerable que un despiste de un maquinista pueda costar la vida a 79 personas y causar a otro tanto heridas físicas y psíquicas para toda la vida.
Agradecería que con su poder mediático pongan los puntos sobre las íes reclamando que en este juicio que se está gestando aparezcan como imputados los responsables de seguridad de Renfe, Adif y del Gobierno (y no sé si me olvido de alguien).

Es a todas luces inaceptable que circulen trenes a 200 kilómetros hora sin medidas de seguridad ante el despiste, el desmayo, la desatención, la llamada telefónica —lo que sea— del maquinista y eviten este tipo de tragedias. Yo tengo un avisador de radar que avisa por posición GPS de los límites de velocidad en cada momento de la circulación, cuesta menos de 100 euros y avisa que despierta a un muerto.

No digo que esto sea la solución, existen soluciones mucho más sofisticadas en el mundo del ferrocarril, pero demuestra que con medios sencillos esta tragedia posiblemente se podía haber evitado; y que aquí estamos ante una negligencia intolerable de los responsables de seguridad del ferrocarril.

Ruego ayuden a que se haga justicia, no con el conductor del tren, destrozado para todo el resto de su vida, sino con los verdaderos responsables de la falta de seguridad en Renfe. Son ellos los responsables de que este tren haya podido descarrilar, porque es increíble que esto sea posible en un país avanzado que se jacta de ser un líder en ferrocarriles. La carga y la responsabilidad de esta tragedia debe ser asumida por todos los responsables.— Georg Artner y cinco firmas más. Madrid.

2.

Ha pasado una semana desde el accidente del tren, una semana en la que toda España se ha unido para apoyar y homenajear a los fallecidos, los heridos, sus familias y a los servicios de emergencia que acudieron de forma diligente.

Pensemos como sociedad que de todo mal se puede sacar un bien, como en este caso, que de la tragedia salió el actuar desinteresadamente aportando materiales (mantas, tablas), sangre, tiempo, sonrisas o un hombro en el que apoyarse.

Vaya mi recuerdo para la tierra gallega desde Aragón y mis oraciones y las de mucha gente para las familias que están sufriendo, para que se agarren a la esperanza y puedan continuar su camino.— Camino Lacoma Aller. Zaragoza.

7 comments:

Perry said...

Colin,

It would seen that the location of the main platform does indeed require crossing the tracks. As you mentioned, Renfe have confirmed that route setting into the station is not within the competence of the driver, but is the duty of the signalling authority.

The only variation to standard practice would be for the driver to stop the train in such a position as to allow the family to alight from the train, right by the track crossing. It would have been dark by then, with only a few lights.


As to a figure of 8 at Pontedeume station, the track layout (2009) does not lend itself to such a description that I can see.

Cordially,

Perry

Anonymous said...

Colin, Gibraltar - Excellent piece on the BBC R4 "Today" programme this morning - Tried to find a URL for you to listen to but annoyingly the BBC don't publish the early interviews on their website, so I failed.

Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s chief minister was describing Jose Garcia-Margallo, Spanish foreign minister's personal qualities and commenting on the Spanish press's attitude to the affair.

Daily Telegraph reported it briefly at

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/10222461/Gibraltar-minister-Spain-acting-like-North-Korea.html

===

Personal phones allowed in train cabs - No surprise there then.

Can't see why the derialment should affect the Brazilian bid. Automatic speed restricting devices were shut off. As far as we know there was no equipment failure of any kind.

As for backhanders in brown envelopes, it is unworthy of you to speak of such things without evidence. Delectation needs to be indulged in with moderation - I could have been a Jesuit.

Q1-10

Perry said...

Colin,

It's a lovely song, also covered by Bobby Darin, with different lyrics.
La mer
The Sea
Qu'on voit danser le long des golfes clairs
That one sees dancing along the clear gulfs
A des reflets d'argent
Has silver reflections
La mer
The Sea
Des reflets changeants
Changing reflections
Sous la pluie
Under the rain

La mer
The Sea
Au ciel d'été confond
In the summer sky merge
Ses blancs moutons
Its white sheep
Avec les anges si purs
With such pure angels
La mer bergère d'azur
The sea, shepherdess of azure
Infinie
Infinite

Voyez
See
Près des étangs
Close to the ponds
Ces grands roseaux mouillés
These large wet reeds
Voyez
See
Ces oiseaux blancs
These white birds
Et ces maisons rouillées
And these rusted houses

La mer
The Sea
Les a bercés
Has rocked them
Le long des golfes clairs
Along the clear gulfs
Et d'une chanson d'amour
And with a song of love
La mer
The Sea
A bercé mon cœur pour la vie
Has soothed my heart for life

Lyrics for "Beyond the Sea"

Somewhere beyond the sea,
Somewhere, waiting for me,
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailing;
Somewhere beyond the sea,
He's (She's) there watching for me.
If I could fly like birds on high,
Then straight to his (her) arms I'd go sailing.
It's far beyond a star,
It's near beyond the moon,
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon.
We'll meet beyond the shore,
We'll kiss just as before.
Happy we'll be beyond the sea,
And never again I'll go sailing

All the best,

Perry

Alfred B. Mittington said...

I didn't know Charles Trenet was Spanish... One learns a new thing every day!

Al

Anonymous said...

Colin, How about this to get your blood racing? - Not too equivocal eh?

http://www.abc.es/espana/20130805/abci-gibraltar-mossos-201308042121.html

Thank you for the genie in the bottle.

Q1-10

Colin said...

Alfie, Alfie, Alfie, You have (deiberately?) misunderstood the phrase, which is, I admit, a little ambiguous. Try putting the stress on 'Spanish'. Not 'most'.

Perry said...

Colin,

Charles Trenet was born in Narbonne & naturally, I had to look on Google maps. Narbonne Plage is a delightful seaside town & after meandering along Bv. Charles Trenet towards the port, I can almost feel the healing warmth of the sun on my body.

In the Chilterns it's barely 17°C & I fear a bitterly cold winter is headed our way. Summer is almost over oooop north.

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

As for the Antarctic, sea ice is increasing there, in contradiction of the climate models.

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_stddev_timeseries.png

What, could the models be wrong?

Cordially,

Perry



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