Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Usual Suspects

The Pathetic Gibraltar Farce: This continues, of course, with the Spanish Minister of the Exterior now threatening to take Britain to the UN and to the Hague if she doesn't commit to reopening the negotiations on sovereignty aborted by the Spanish government in 2002. I wonder what he plans doing if this distraction doesn't work. A real war, as opposed to this ridiculous war of words? I should think the last thing he really wants is for this issue to be discussed at the UN. It's a racing certainty that, if it is, Morocco will raise the issue of Ceuta and Melilla. If, understandably enough, you've never heard of these Spanish colonies/'non-colonies' in Africa, here's an interesting insight. Incidentally, the alleged cause of the 3-7 hours delay at the border is a need to prevent smuggling. I thought of this when I read the other night that 2 Spaniards had been arrested in the Bay of Gibraltar when trying to smuggle cigarettes into Spain. Even funnier, they were caught by the Gib police and not the Spanish Guárdia.

Spanish Culture 1: Walking out of town an 1am this morning, we were passed by families with kids as young as 2 or 3, on their way to the first night of our big summer fiesta. Then, taking my younger daughter into town to Mass at 10.30 this morning, we passed a trio of young women in formal dresses, on their way home from the big dance of the year last night. This is a wonderful example of both the Spanish love of fun, which I find admirable, and the attitude to time, which possibly isn't compatible with modern norms. Like the daft 9.00-1.30 plus 4.30-8.30 working day. Not that everyone keeps these long hours.

Spanish Culture 2: I recently posted fotos from the bizarre fiesta of the almost-dead in As Neves. I mentioned that one of the coffins seemed to have a camera on the bottom end of it, focussing on the non-corpse. Turns out that someone was making a documentary and this is now causing some disaffection in the village. We may never get to see it.

Spanish Corruption: Thank God the following headline comes from El País and not one of us opinionated guiris who should really go home: The High Price of Corruption: Fraud is delaying our exit from the crisis and postponing modernisation of the Spanish economy. Read the rest of the article here, or the Google translation at the end of this post. Reading this, it struck me it could have been written 10 years ago, before the boom. And that perhaps it's only being written now as the populace is learning just how corrupt the country has become against the backcloth of their personal financial difficulties. The other thing that occurs to me is how crystal clear it must now be to Spaniards how much they've been ripped off by their parasitical politicians and businessmen. Who seem to enter these careers solely for the purpose of picking their pockets, one way or another. One wonders why they don't revolt. The populace, that is, not the politicians and businessmen. The latter are already revolting. 

By the way, the University of Las Palmas has concluded that corruption costs Spaniards 40 billion euros a year and that it is much higher than figures from either the government or Transparency International. Which won't astonish many of us. What really is surprising is that - apart from fiddling the VAT on, say, the plumber's bill and lying about the price of the house you've just bought - few people come up against corruption in daily life. Perhaps, if they did, they'd do something about it. Or perhaps not; Alfie is sure to tell me me the Spanish people have been too supine for centuries.

Anyway, there's a particularly ugly hotel built right on a beach down south. It's both immoral and illegal. But it looks like, despite a series of court cases, it's never going to be knocked down. To use a favourite Spanish word - it's emblematic of the cosy, corrupt relationship between politicians, construction companies and developers. The current government's scandalous plans to reduce the fringe of protected shoreline, can only help to secure the future of this monstrosity.

Finally . . . I heard Vivaldi's Four Seasons described yesterday his 'best known masterpiece'. And the others would be??


The Corruption Bill

That the economic and financial variables contemporaneously do not reflect episodes of corruption that dominate the political scene does not mean that those lacking impact. Unfortunately, the perception of the frequency with which these violations occur in the law, how it deals with the political class and the judiciary resolves them just deteriorating confidence in a company, the ability to do business or to infuse credibility its agents and institutions. Sooner or later, that translates into costs and welfare losses end up suffering all citizens. The first impact is taxpayers support higher operating costs for public administrations in their spending and investment decisions. The additional costs, for example, pay companies that contract with the public sector than just illicit enrichment they aim at politicians or parties aggravating act directly sacrificed tax burdens or benefits services and public administrations themselves. The situation is more irritating if while appearing corruption reduces investment in health or education.

That the public economic transactions mediate any form of bribery, also prevents the free market that so often claim political rhetoric. Equal opportunities Adulterous hurting who does not bribe, either because their skills and relationships do not reach it, either because they do not admit their codes of conduct.

The verification of such practices does not favor, of course, foreign investment. First, because the country where corruption is widespread, and to some extent tolerated, breeds mistrust. Needless to say that the image of their companies, their own goods and services is significantly influenced by the bad practices. And when the investment takes place, just incorporating a risk component of advanced economies improper gangrene all economic and social areas.

The perception of a tolerant political class corruption erodes not only the external image of a country and its economy, bringing it closer to that crony capitalism in which the revolving door between the private sector and the public enrich a few, but undermines the trust of all the operators in the own country. The quality of institutions just putting into question and with it the ability to establish economic relations on security, on trust. To corporate accounting, the basis of economic information can be compromised if the accounts of political parties is.

The way and speed with which questioned today addressing the integrity of some institutions and the political class itself depend on the removal of threats to political stability and, consequently, on economic recovery. Also hangs in that thread the strengthening of the necessary transition to economic modernization of the country. The corruption and mistrust associated with it, is the worst of gangrene for an economy that is leaving the edge of poverty to a growing number of citizens.


Perry said...


Count them, should you so desire.

Have El Pais heard of Gresham's Law? Bad money drives out good!'s_law



Alfred B. Mittington said...

The Spanish people have been too supine for centuries.

But other than that: all Mediterraneans are vehemently opposed to all forms of corruption from which they do not profit themselves. And there you have the problem…


Colin said...


1. Yes but who's hear of them.

2. Indeed, I have.


Colin said...

@Alfie. Vehemently? Do you mean at home?

Anonymous said...


Yesterday, The Jakarta Times of Indonesia deplored the fact that "Illegal financing of Spanish political parties is an administrative offense rather than a crime under Spain’s criminal code."

Also that "Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer, published Jul. 9, found the perception of corruption in Spain’s political parties was 4.4 on a scale of 5."

Finally "Carmen Molina, spokeswoman for the Green party EQUO in the southern Spanish city of Malaga, told IPS.

Rajoy’s promises are not enough. “Citizens are fed up because politicians do not do what they say, no progress is being made and no drastic measures are being taken to end corruption.”

She advocated wider reforms, including changes in the election law, which she said favors a two-party system — of the PP and the opposition center-left Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) — which works against the interests of minority parties."

No secret there then, even from half a globe away, but does Rajoy have the cojones to fix it?

Nope Q1-10