Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Train Crash; Gibraltar; Morocco; Drunken violence; and Gib again.

The Train Crash: Ten days on from this dreadful disaster, the Spanish press has finally stopped asking why a 'speed freak' driver was allowed to remain in suicidal/homicidal charge of a high-speed train which looked like an AVE train but wasn't really. There was a decent article from the wonderfully named Javier Sanchez de Diós in yesterday's Faro de Vigo, for example, asking the questions which some of us have been posing from the beginning. If I succeed in finding it on line, it'll be here. But I've spent a fruitless half and hour so far and enough is enough. Incidentally, one of the latest announcements is that RENFE is considering restricting calls to train drivers. I guess it'd be bloody odd if they weren't.

Gibraltar: The excitable Spanish Foreign MInister appears to have taken leave of his senses and launched into an impersonation of either a Franco minister or an Argentinean president. Can he really believe his bellicose nonsense is going to achieve anything but alienation of the Spaniards who work on The Rock and a siege mentality among its already Spain-averse residents? No, of course he doesn't. The Spanish government, as I said the other day, is in several types of deep doo-doo and this is a classic distraction technique for the holiday-bound Spaniards,who can now lie on their towels muttering about British imperialism and forgetting about Spain's 2 colonies on Moroccan soil and the 6 or 7 islands off her coast. I think it's called cognitive dissonance.

Talking of Morocco . . . .You couldn't make it up - The child rapist pardoned by the Moroccan king last week - allegedly under pressure from the Spanish secret service - has now been arrested in Spain. We now wait to see whether he's extradited back to Morocco or just disappears from the scene because of some bizarre security connection arising from his alleged Iraqi origins.

On Sunday night, my daughter and I found ourselves down in Pontevedra's old quarter on one of the post-bullfight nights when the place is overwhelmed by the city's youth for an ever-astonishing bacchanal. When I commented to my daughter that the rather under-dressed young women looked younger than ever, she replied, gnomically, that there were men as well. I'm still trying to work out what she meant by this. But, anyway, over coffee at the end of the evening we were at pains to point out to the visitors that, in contrast to the UK, it was very unlikely the drunken revelling would result in any violence. So it was a bit of a shock to read in yesterday's papers that - along with the 4 people who'd been hospitalised with alcoholic poisoning - there were 18 who'd been injured in fights. All males, I'd guess.

The visitors where 4 lovely ladies from Guadalajara who'd driven north to tackle the Pontevedra-Santiago stretch of the Portuguese Way. When they kindly asked if my friend Dwight and I wanted to join them yesterday, Dwight was wise enough to decline but I was foolish enough to accept. Which, after 17km of rapid walking, is why I can hardly move my legs this morning. Still, I must have lost a bit of excess fat, I thought. Not a bloody ounce, said my scales this morning. Though my daughter tells me it doesn't work like that and the weight will fall off me in 2 or 3 weeks' time. Vamos a ver.

Finally . . . Courtesy, I think, of my fellow blogger Lenox, I understand unemployment in Gibraltar is just 3%, compared with 27% in Spain and 37% in Andalucía, which is the region The Rock would join if Spain got it back. Additionally, the average income per head in Gibraltar is more than double that of Spain, and three times that of Andalucía. All of which makes it rather easy to understand why the Gibraltarians have no wish to be assimilated. None of which is to deny that Spain has something to complain about if 7-8,000 of its citizens are somehow evading taxes they should be paying by declaring themselves resident in Gibraltar. Which is surely something that could have been discussed by the regular three-party commission that the PP party scrapped the minute it came to power. You reap what you sow, they say.


Anonymous said...


Peter Hain was on BBC R4's "Today" program this morning explaining how, when in Tony Blair's administration as Europe Minister he negotiated a joint sovereignty deal with the Spanish negotiators which was almost signed, but the Spanish pulled out at the 11th hour.

Tom Burridge reports from Gibraltar and former Europe minister Peter Hain speaks to Justin Webb.


Living in a foreign land, this may not play for you, but maybe you have some fiendish proxy technique.

I hope so, it was interesting.

Now I see that Hain's comments have stirred Nigel Farage to enter the fray.



Colin said...

Yes, I saw the Hain comment in one or more papers. Of course, the real problem is that the Gib people won't accept it.

Lenox said...

Hain was the young gun who arsed about with Rhodesia (as it was then) and South Africa in the good old/bad old days.
Then they made him a minister. Heh!

Perry said...


How do you manage to find time to yomp 17 Kms, when it seems your day is generally taken up with researching your blog & flitting between bars & restaurants? (;<)

If ever you are stuck for some light reading then Amy McGrath may offer you entertainment.


As for weight loss, liquidised vegetables have a strangely addictive quality. I've started & so far, so good. Go easy with celery unless you like it & definitely blitz the garlic in a microwave for 2 minutes before combining with the rest of the ingredients.


Of course, I miss the toasted cheese & bacon sarnie I'd be scoffing about now, but needs must when the devil drives. My only concern is, will I be left with surplus skin?




Colin said...

I do them all simultaneously, when I can!