Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spanish politics; Trolls; Botín in Wonderland; Fascists; Words; and Complaints.

When you reflect on what the Spanish president and his government can do and get away with and on the fact that no one here takes any responsibility for anything until they have it forced on them by a court, you begin to wonder just how far Spain has moved away from the dictatorship of Franco. And on whether Spain isn't a pseudo-democracy, where the democratic element is the 4-yearly choice of a different quasi-dictator. But, then, isn't the power of the British Executive so great that the Prime Minister there is also seen as an elected dictator?

Is it going too far, I wonder, to see the Spanish establishment as a corporate-politico nexus - a fusion of the Masons and Opus Dei - whose first rule is to treat everyone outside the blessed circle with contempt? Possibly not when the PSOE socialist party is in power. Or not as much, anyway.

Talking of democracy . . . Members of the 19th century British establishment and the intelligentsia (not the same things, by any means) were worried that expanding the electorate would lead to mob rule. One wonders what they'd have thought if they'd been able to read the comments of the vicious trolls to whom the internet has given such a wonderful platform and megaphone, for example in the case of the poor McCanns as they desperately try to find their daughter, Maddy.

The 79 year old founder, owner and President of Santander Bank told his audience of business people this week that everything in Spain was hunky dory and the place was ripe for profitable investment. It was going through a "fantastic period" he said. The banking sector was now strong again; government borrowing was cheap; the stock market was soaring; and people were falling over themselves to lend money to the government. Yes, he admitted, there was still a bit of a credit crunch and 4.9m people were unemployed but these couldn't stand in the way of renewed profits in the financial sector. Which was good to hear. It's a relief to know that the massive amounts of taxpayer money were put to good use.

There was a letter in El País yesterday in which the writer complained of the misuse of the word fascista. This, he insisted, should not be applied to people who simply loved their country and its flag but only to people of truly fascist beliefs. I concluded years ago that the problem was bigger than this, in that it was a word routinely applied by Spaniards to anyone who simply disagreed with them. Regardless of their respective beliefs.

I mentioned a couple of nice Spanish words yesterday. Today, here's a couple of probably obsolete English words, from a 19th century novel I've just read:
To loophole a wall: To make slits for arrows/rifles.
To invest a city: To surround a city, as the first stage of a siege.

Spanish newspapers this week almost gleefully reported that Gibraltar might be compelled to return funds to the EU. Which, of course, is something they've plenty of experience of reporting from a Spanish perspective.

There's a convention in Spain that the media only reports the initials and not the name of people arrested. Which is a tad ironic as, within a short while, we get to know everything about them, meaning that identifying them is a piece of cake. But it must make sense to someone,

If you're thinking of taking on a Spanish partner, this may be of interest. If you've already done so, it's too late for you. Get used to it.

Finally . . . There's always one . . . .


My wi-fi speed fell on Thursday night to 0.05megas, from its normal vertiginous heights of around 0.6megas. It was still almost zero yesterday and so I called the Telefónica help line.

The first two calls were cut off within a minute or so but during the 3rd one I managed to speak to a technician. Or, rather, I spoke to a machine and answered all its questions as best I could. Finally, it told me there was a fault on the line and that their technicians would be working on it.

When the machine asked whether I was satisfied, I just rang off.

The machine then called me back and insisted I said whether I was pleased or not with their operator. I said not.

I then got a call from a real person, who wanted to know why not. "Because I never spoke to an operator" I said. "I spoke to a machine, which eventually told me what I already knew".

She told me a technician would call, which he did this morning.

He fiddled a round a bit and checked a few things. Finally he told me I now had about 1 mega but more than this was impossible because the line wasn't very good. As if I didn't know. He added that a 3G modem would give me a better service and suggested I call Movistar and get a price quote.

So, there you have it - Instead of Telefónica making the investment to give me the service I pay for, I'm invited to make them a gift of a new profit from supplying me with a new router. After the purchase of which I still won't be getting the 6mega product I pay for.

I sometimes feel like I'm living in a parallel universe. In which Telefónica is both God and the Devil.

The good news is that our new natural gas pipes, I'm told, are als used for fibre cables, offering me the prospect of thousands of megas. Vamos a ver. That might be so in the real world. But here . . . . ?

P. S. I just got another machine call asking me about the quality of the repair service. To get it off my back, I said everything was perfect.

1 comment:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

My dear boy,

Did you really, earnestly, seriously mean to say that the PSOE is a better party than the PP?

Were you really?


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