Friday, September 27, 2013

Gib and the Falklands - a political fiasco; Euro-Vegas; The Spanish economy; and Bad books.

Just when you thought Spain's Motormouth Margallo had had his blow-hole stitched up, along comes his meeting with Argentina's demagogic Presidenta and a press statement from the latter saying Spain and Argentina had signed an anti-British agreement aimed at getting the UN to order the handover of the Falklands/Malvinas and Gibraltar/Gibraltar. Cue panic in Madrid, where the non-existence of such an agreement and the importance of Anglo-Spanish relations were quickly stressed. Separately, Sr Rajoy told the UN that Gibraltar was the only colony left in Europe. He couldn't say 'the world', of course, as Spain skates on (very) thin ice as regards its (violently acquired) 'non-colonies' in North Africa.

Talking of Argentina, I'm not sure how this works but someone there has just issued warrants for the arrest of 4 Spaniards, accused of torture during the Franco era. In the unlikely event any of these octogenarians leaves Spain, he'll be arrested on an international warrant. I would have thought Argentina had enough to worry about in respect of its own repression, now and then, not to involve itself in Spanish affairs. Other than by nationalising Repsol and other Spanish assets, I mean. Strange bedfellows.

Topically, UN experts are currently visiting Spin to determine what happened to thousands of people who just ‘disappeared’ in the Franco-era. As in Argentina a few decades later.

The promoters of the vast, multi-billion Euro-Vegas project ("260,000 jobs. Honest!") have won a partial victory in their deal-breaking demand that smoking be allowed there. It won't be permitted where the croupiers work but it will be where dual-addiction punters play the machines. Perhaps a percentage of profits from these will go to cancer research.

The Spanish economy: A selection of recent headlines:-
  • Bad loans held by Spain's banks reached a record high in July - a sign of persistent fragility in the bailed-out financial sector.
  • Spain's trade deficit plunged by a further 54% in July as the country rode a boom in exports.
  • Spain's trade balance in March saw its first surplus since 1971, mainly due to a sharp fall in imports because of falling domestic demand.
  • Cast as the sick man of the eurozone a year ago, Spain seems to be luring back investors despite lingering threats to its recovery.
  • International accounting giant PWC is predicting Spain's growth will outstrip that of both Germany and France from 2015 to 2019.
  • Spanish president Mariano Rajoy tells The Wall Street Journal “Spain is out of recession, but not out of the financial crisis. A bailout in 2014 is unlikely".
  • Spain's two-year recession appears to be drawing to a close, the country's central bank has said, predicting an end to the downturn in the third quarter of 2013.
  • Spain will stick to its path of austerity in 2014 with pensioners and public workers losing out despite a slowly improving economy.
So, pick the meat out of that. Possibly none of it is terribly positive to a family in which all members are unemployed.

Finally, I learned yesterday that, if you decide to persist with a badly written book, you can eventually reach a point where enjoyment of the unenjoyment justifies your going on, albeit post haste, to the very end. Still, I wouldn't recommend it as a use of your time. In comparison to, say, sticking red-hot needles in your arms.

4 comments:

Perry said...

Colin,

Which is the book that is so bad that you have obtained pleasure from it. The people have a right to know.:<)

On another subject, a simpler time perhaps, Portuguese fishermen braved the Atlantic to sail to the Grand Banks. Here is their voyage in 1996.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaXl6m85dOY

Best regards,

Perry

Perry said...

The Santa Maria Manuela is presently in Toulon.

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/shipdetails.aspx?mmsi=263759000

Colin said...

Thanks for that, Perry.

I couldn't possibly reveal the title of the book; the author may well be a reader of my blog . . .

Perry said...

Shirley not Alfie?

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