Following a petition, the Spanish parliament - dominated by the right-of-centre PP party - has predictably decided to bestow the accolade of 'Cultural Heritage Asset' on the country's Fiesta Nacional - bullfighting. This won't affect either the regions in which it's been banned or the regions - most of the rest - where there's no interest in corridas but it will allow the government to subsidise the activity with taxpayers' money. Even though most of them aren't aficionados. And even though we're living through austere times, with cuts to healthcare, benefits and pensions. As and when the opposition PSOE party gets back in power, the ban will surely be restored. Heigh ho.
In my dissertation on Spain's major corruption cases the other day, I inevitably missed one or more that have been going on for some time. Preeminent among these is the Malaya case involving €2.4bn of misappropriated funds down in Malaga. More here. As the report asks, how many will actually go to jail? Well, none of those who are sentenced to fewer than 2 years, for sure. It has to be said that things were even worse under the regime(s) of the ex mayor, Jesus Gil, who actually did undergo a spell in jail, before death prevented further stays at his majesty's pleasure. If there really is a grim reaper, he surely (and ironically) took Jesus down below.
For single men living in Spain, here's The Local's latest Top Ten list - of things to do and not to do on a date with a Spanish woman. I've sent it to a trio of Spanish lady friends and will report on their reaction sometime soon.
A while ago I asked whether Pontvedra (pop. 83,000) really needs the 18-20 jewellery shops I'd noted around town. And I wondered whether they'd all stay open. Well, all of those which weren't money-laundering operations for local narcotraficos. I need to do another survey but, meanwhile, here's one I walked past yesterday.
Talking of town . . . As in most places in Europe these days, it's hard to avoid Rumanians. Most frequently as beggars outside the supermarkets. Or as people who knock down your front door when you're out and ransack your flat. Recently though, we've had a new team in town - a group of guys who specialise in breaking into tobacco shops. Usually by entering the place next door and breaking through a shared wall. Luckily, the police caught them in flagrente delicto this week and, after a bit of a battle, duly arrested them. Incidentally, Spanish has a specific word for the breaking in through a hole in a wall or ceiling - un butrón. Effected by butroneros, of course.
Correction: Spain's public debt is not approaching 100% of her GDP; it's only 90%. Not my error but that of the typist who compiled the number for the government's announcement. Odd that no one picked up on it. Especially as it frightened the markets for a while.
For some reason, I was checking on my old university last night - King's College, London -
to find that the Laws faculty had finally moved from the Strand to the East Wing of the magnificent Somerset House next door. King's had finally leased this after a negotiation which had lasted - wait for it - 180 years.
Finally . . . I have to confess to checking this blog's readership stats early in the morning and then last thing at night. The overnight number is usually between 100 and 150. But this morning was a sliver under 600. I have no idea why but I did use the word Sex in the title of yesterday's post and this may just be the reason. Against this, I've tried in the past to see if this and other obvious words coincide with increased readership numbers but failed to find any correlation. So, a minor mystery.