Wednesday, October 02, 2013

!966; PP popularity; Airports here; Airports there; Utility prices; and Corruption.


One of the films which garnered a lot of plaudits at the recent San Sebastian festival was "Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados" (Living is easy with your eyes closed). Set in Spain in the iconic year of '66, its central character is a teacher who uses the Beatles' songs to teach English and who sets off for Almería when he hers Lennon is filming down there. Trailer here.

The governing PP party has said it's shocked at the extent of the fall of its popularity in recent polls. I can only say I'm shocked the PP is shocked. I'm just guessing that it didn't do them much good stopping a parliamentary ban of the annual Toro de la Vega bull-lancing 'fiesta' a week or two back. One of those events which makes you wonder just how much in hock to the far right the party is.

One of the backers of the proposed changes to both the Spanish clock and the daily timetable has said "We work like the 3rd World here" and asked "What sense does it make starting a football match at 10pm?" Quite. Though I have an inkling there've been some which started even later than this. As he says, madness.

The Galician Xunta has said it's not going to continue playing the subsidy game with Ryanair and the like. Rather, it's going to leave it to the 3 municipalities of Vigo, Santiago and La Coruña to do this individually. And it recommends that they agree on one single negotiator representing them all. A greater recipe for dissension and continued decline, I cannot imagine. They must be holding their sides down in Oporto.

Talking of airports . . . There's a new one down in Corvera, in Murcia. It cost €200m to build but no one seems to know who owns it and who's entitled to run it.The regional government and a company called Aeromuc are contending the issue in the courts. The bigger question, though, is whether it will ever open its doors, as it appears to lack any commercial rationale whatsoever. Corvera, by the way, boasts only 2,000 citizens. I wonder if it was the birthplace of whoever took the decision to build the 'Murcia International Airport' there. But, anyway, thanks to the dry Murcian weather, the airport should survive many years of non-use before it crumbles and is re-named 'Ozymandias Airport'.

Spain now has the most expensive electricity in Europe. Scandalously, prices are twice as high as in France and they're about to go up yet again. It would be nice to have some explanation - even a mendacious one - as to why but this ain't the way things happen here. I feel even more angry about my internet line, which is high cost and low efficacy. But, as the girl in the shop said, I've no option but to wait until Movistar(Telefónica) decides to put in a new exchange. Or until someone runs underground cables up the hill.

Finally . . . I read that, if I typed "do a barrel roll" into my Google search box, something amazing would happen. Well, it didn't. Thrice. Perhaps because I use Safari. Maybe someone could tell me what I should have seen.

And finally, finally . . . A rundown of the major corruption cases currently going through Spain's courts:-

Corruption 0: Tougher penalties: Under Spain's new criminal code, politicos will face up to 12 years in prison for financial skullduggery. This is aimed at improving confidence in the people who run the country. Fine, except that it's the minnows who tend to stay in gaol, while the big fish get pardoned and released. Until this stops, the goal of confidence looks a forlorn hope.

Corruption 1: The Bárcenas case: Illegal corporate donations to the governing PP party; illegal and untaxed payments to leading PP politicos, including the President: The Spanish Tax Office (Hacienda) has pronounced that, even assuming payments were made, no offences of any kind were committed, for one (convenient) reason or another. I can't help feeling they'd take a different view if it were you or me. Details here and here. The very latest development in this case is that the judge has said it looks like the . . . of the PP HQ in Madrid were financed by black cash.

Corruption 2: The ERE case. Payments (€136m) into non-existent redundancy and pension funds. The several ex-Presidents of Andalucia (among many others) are implicated in this scam. The existing (new) Presidenta may not be.

Corruption 3: The NÓOS case: This involves the husband of one of the King's daughters. It centres on the diversion of €6m of public funds meant for charities. The princess was also implicated but, either because she was innocent or because the Public 'Prosecutor' intervened on her behalf, she was allowed to go off and live in Geneva. Her husband, though, is still in the dock. And is persona non grata at the palace. Details here. Incidentally, the princess must be doing a great job for the bank she works for as her salary has increased almost 3-fold over the last 10 years. You sometimes wonder whether Spain's royal family isn't running out of feet to shoot.

Corruption 4: The Pokemon Case: Involves the mayor of Ourense and 181 other politicos and officials in both Galicia and Asturias - in the cities of Ourense, Lugo and Santiago. But no one from Pontevedra. It may or may not involve the running of a brothel by the mayor of Lugo. The details get lost in a miasma.

Corruption 5: The Ourense-EU funds case: If this has its own name, I don't know it yet. The President of the Ourense province (we have a lot of presidents) is accused of misspending €10m funds. Partly by dishing out contracts without wasting time with a tendering process. The EU has said it would like the money back, please. They may find much of it has gone on the ex-President's truly vast collection of vintage cars.

That's quite enough of all that.

4 comments:

Sierra said...

The €200m build cost for Corvera is just for starters, there is also €54m as compensation to San Javier airport just down the road. This military airfield (home of the Spanish Red Arrows) recent built a second runway so that tourist planes could use it all day, and upgraded the passenger facilities in the last year or so.
Also €600m was spent at Alicante airport on a new terminal, etc.(only 60 km away from the Murcia airports). So the area has 4 runways available - same as London

James Atkinson said...

Colin, Theres a demonstration of someone doing a google barrel role on You Tube. I wouldn't bother though, it isn't that amusing, assuming it's intended to be.

Colin said...

@Sierra.

Nothing short of astonishing. Though the more one reads of the totality of things, the less one is surprised by individual items. I got the impression the banks lent the 200 to the construction company, which is now refusing to pay it back, triggering the guarantee obligations (aval?) of the regional governement-

@ James. Many thanks. I'll give it a try. I read that it was hilarious . . .

Perry said...

Colin,

The page turns a "barrel roll".

Ten years ago Terry Pratchett wrote a book about a woman who became a soldier.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monstrous_Regiment_(novel)

http://www.lspace.org/books/apf/monstrous-regiment.html

Cordially,

Perry

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