Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Olympics fallout; Nepotism; Spanish attitudes towards politicos; Flourishing Fascism; Naughty play; Tax dodging; and Funny lines.

The Olympic Games: There's been been a lot of fun at the expense of the woman who fronted Spain's failed bid for these - Ana Botella, the mayoress of Madrid. And (almost inevitably) wife of ex-President, José Aznar. Here she is giving her address, along with hilarious(?) verbatim and phonetic subtitles. Call me soft but I don't think she's that bad. Maybe I'm just used to hearing strangulated English.

Which reminds me . . . My author of the week, Steven Pinter, tells us that nepotism is universal, reflecting the fact it's good for one's genes. So it takes a long time for society to eliminate it. Or at least significantly reduce it. Spain has a long way to go. Perhaps even further with croneyism. Most of us have more mates than relatives.

The latest survey of attitudes in Spain has the PP and PSOE parties neck and neck, at 30% of the vote. It also records that 83% of the population thought President Rajoy was in the wrong when he told parliament the Bárcenas corruption case was now a closed subject. Almost the same percentage - 81 - felt the government was not cooperating with the judicial system on this case. And only 8% agreed with the President that the economy had touched bottom and would recover within a few years. Most people felt that recovery will be slow and take a lot longer. An impressive 32% even felt the economy will get worse before it starts to improve. So, a pretty desperate situation. But nothing to prevent the government continuing to do exactly what it wants. Including riding out the Bárcenas affair. There's time yet for pork-barrelling before the next elections.

Which reminds me . . . Up near Ourense, here in Galicia, there's a small village where the 74 year old (unpaid) PP mayor is a huge fan of Franco. His office is littered with fotos and mementos of the good times under the wee Generalisimo. And the streets of the place are still named after his bloodthirsty generals. He says the PP party knows all about his affiliations but has not asked him to hide them. The day they do, he says, he'll happily retire. Now that he's come to national attention, perhaps they will. But I, for one, am not holding my breath.

Thanks to Dr Lucy Worsley and BBC4, I know a lot about a 17th century Restoration play by the Earl of Rochester which scurrilously satirised the horizontal activities of Charles II. It's called Sodom: Or the Quintessence of Debauchery and, astonishingly, he got away with it. The list of characters is here and it's not for the faint of heart. If this troubles you, you really shouldn't move on to the play itself. If you do, you'll learn that most modern obscene terms were current back then and that they had a few which have, sadly, fallen out of use. Such as to to swive and merkin.

Talking of bad behaviour, it's reported that Spain's recent tax amnesty was a relative failure, with only 3% of 'targets' making a declaration. Even so, the government got almost half of the €2.5bn they'd hoped for. As to why more people didn't take up the offer, perhaps it's because the government last time round welched on the promise they wouldn't go back more than 4 years. Trust, once lost, is hard to regain.

Finally . . . If you found that rare creature - a parking space in the city - would you be confused if you saw this set of lines parallel to the pavement?

I certainly would be. But not Spanish drivers, apparently.

Unless the yellow line was painted while they were parked there. A sneaky new way to raise revenue from fines? A 'stealth tax' par excellence? Why didn't Gordon Brown think of that?


Steve Paul said...

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Anthea said...

I've heard much worse Spanish pronunciation than Ana Botella's. The subtitles, however, are an art form in a class all of their own!!!

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