Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Southern corruption; Madrid madness; The British class system; Odd diseases: Woeful Spain; and Some fotos.

Corruption in Spain is not confined to the ruling PP party. The Opposition party is effectively in the dock down in Andalucia, where 2 ex-Presidents of the Junta, and many, many others, are implicated in a huge scam (labelled 'the ERE case') whereby €1.3bn was siphoned from public funds into false redundancy and pension schemes. As if this weren't enough, one of the main unions in Andalucia is also charged with corrupt dealing. Sunny place, shady people. As they say.

Perhaps the obvious fact that everyone was/is in the trough explains why the leader of the Opposition is said to have rejected an anti-corruption pact proposed by President Rajoy a couple of weeks ago. But nothing explains why the PP can't go ahead alone with anti-corruption measures. Apart from the obvious reason, of course.

I was surprised to read yesterday that Madrid had, over 12 years, spent almost as much trying to get the Olympic games as the British government reportedly spent hosting them last year. Numbers of €9 or 10bn have been cited. Much of this, of course, was during the anything-goes years, when running up debts was quite fashionable. And profitable. Things look different now. Here's David Jackson on this theme. I'm a tad surprised - and disappointed - that we haven't had anything from Graeme on South of Watford on this. He's been a relentless critic of expenditure in the city and I hope his silence merely means he's working on a detailed denunciation of the Madrid administration. Which certainly will be fun to read. It seems that much of the expenditure made in the city over the last decade - e. g. the M30 motorway - was made with the Olympics in mind.

Over in the UK, Michelle Dewbury is an English lady who earns a great deal of money but sees herself as 'working class'. And wants her kids to feel the same, despite being brought up in luxury. This is daft but, hey, it's her life. Let's just hope they don't go round saying We was and Wasn't we, like their mother on TV yesterday. If they do, they're going to be ribbed at the private school she'll surely send them to. What hope for the elimination of the British class system is there when people think like this? It's not as if the British 'working class' is what it used to be anyway. As for me, I had no problems with moving from 'lower middle class' (complete with thick Scouse accent) to 'upper middle class'. I'm just sorry I never made it to the aristocracy. Thanks to bad marriage choices.

Talking about memories . . . I was wondering yesterday whether any of my primary (or even secondary) school friends could have been considered to be suffering from ADD or, worse, ADHD. With the possibly exception of myself, I couldn't identify any. So, are these effectively conditions in search of patients? Or are they labels for long-standing conditions that nobody thought to categorise over at least 2,000 years? I suppose that, if you've got a kid who's been said to qualify, there's something wrong. But I do wonder.

Sadly - but understandably - Spain is not the happy country it was only a few years ago. Economic woes, high unemployment and antipathy to corporate and political corruption lie behind a fall to 38th position in the latest UN survey of national happiness levels. I can't see that rising in the next survey in a couple of years time.

I cancelled my Economist subscription yesterday. I sent an email and quickly got one back saying they'd done it and that they'd sent 28 quid to my VISA account as the balance due to me. Bloody hell! So that's how it''s done. I'd quite forgotten.

Finally . . . Some Pontevedra fotos:

The city's railway station is quite pretty. Normally. Right now it looks like this, as they lay the line that will accommodate the AVE high-speed train.

It does rather look as if the La Coruña - Vigo line will be finished, even if the Madrid-La Coruña line isn't. At least not for several years. Some of us think the vast sums of money could have been better spent on making the existing line double track.

This is the evening view over the city from the petrogliph rocks near my home. The old port is to the left of the (motorway) bridge on the right-hand side. And the turbines are on the distant hills.

This is a snap of inside the city's very first disco bar, La Cabaña. There are hundreds now.

This is the latest owl to appear in the city's cafés. I still haven't been accorded any honour for introducing this solution to the pigeon problem.

And, finally, this is something I saw yesterday and snapped before it ceased to be a figment of my imagination. The young lady owner was so proud of her handiwork that she tried to get the dog to pose when she saw me raise my camera to shoot. I wished it had been my rifle.

My apologies to those who've already seen this on my Facebook page.


Perry said...


Not all boys diagnosed with ADD or ADHD have the condition. Around 1 in 1,000 boys are born with a 47,XYY karyotype.

The list of references is long.



sp said...

Given that it sometimes takes ten days to arrive in Andalucia from Madrid, the Economist has lost its function as a purveyor of news. Now it sits by the loo accumulating pathogens.

Bill said...

Could you not subscribe to the Economist on-line, unless you have gone off it completely? I find subscribing on-line to various newspapers and magazines much more convenient as there are never any delivery problems wherever I happen to be provided I can have a broadband connection.

Azra said...

Nice photos... especially the evening view over the city!

Colin said...

I'm pondering that, Bill. Thing is, I'm less interested in the majority of it than I am in other things that I'm failing to read. Plus I find it's easy to get access to Economist articles on line without a sub.

sp said...

I don't want to leave my ipad next to the lav.

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