Thursday, November 21, 2013

Catholic slaughter; Spanish incredulity; Weddings and the Taxman; Driving risks; & Gib again.

Yesterday, I mentioned nasty schisms and splinterings within religions - Catholic/Eastern Church/ Protestantism and Sunni/Shia, for example. By chance, I read last night of the 12th/13th century Cathars who upset the then Pope with their differing (but still Christian) views and who were then slaughtered in the southern French town of Béziers by Crusaders sent by said Pope in 1209. Up to 20,000 are said to have perished in the siege, including a number of non-Cathars living in the town. When asked how his avenging angels could distinguish between Cathars and true Catholics, the local Bishop is reported to have said: "Kill the bloody lot. God will recognise his own." More on this rather unChristian episode here.

Here's a surprise - 95% of Spaniards don't believe the Public Prosecutor when he bangs on about there being no case to be answered by the princess who's married to the guy currently being tried for malversion of public funds into their shared bank accounts. But does this mean that she'll face trial at some time? I rather doubt it. The Establishment has closed ranks. And petty magistrates have no power against this.

And another non-surprise - Despite the government constantly telling us that the corner has been turned (but not about the EU demanding further austerity next year), 88% of Spanirds say they haven't noticed signs of improvement. And 75% of them don't believe Spain is beginning to emerge from La Crisis.

I've been to a couple of Spanish weddings but until I spoke to a local friend about them yesterday, I didn't know I was supposed to contribute money at them. Indeed, in today's Business over Tapas, Lenox advises that I should have purchased a bit of the brides' garters. But, anyway, I mention this because Lenox also tells us that the Spanish Tax Office wants in on the plentiful cash spent at weddings, christenings, first communions, community parties and the like. So inspectors have been instructed to attend. With warrants?

To me, this is a good example of how life in Spain has become rather more officious than it was when I came here a dozen years ago. In this time I've seen many measures introduced which seemed to be designed more to wring money out of people than for any other reason. For example, the range of motoring offences is now so vast and the police so vigilant that, as someone has said, the only way to avoid regular fines is to stay off the roads. This supersedes my long-standing advice to drive everywhere outside the towns at at 50kph. In the latter case, you might, for example, put one wheel on a white line when a police car is stationed at the side of the road. Or there's a camera. Actually, things are now so bad that there was a report from the South last week of a couple of traffic cops fabricating a series of offences in order to get 100 euros from a driver. One of these was that he'd made a phone call while driving. Which was dropped when the phone's record was shown. Just before said phone was knocked from his hand. I don't know if it was relevant that the driver was a (soft touch) Brit, who just happened to speak Spanish.

Which reminds me . . . several times in the last week the Guardia Civíl had had a road block at the roundabout halfway down the hill. But only for traffic coming up the hill. And they've always been around 7.30pm, a strange time to be checking for drunk drivers. The roundabout is situated just before the road splits to pass both of our permanent gypsy encampments and herein may lie a clue. I will ask as and when I'm stopped, prior to which I will have to rip out my earpieces, as having them in is one of the petty offences I mentioned. Even if I'm listening to a BBC podcast at less than a quarter of the decibels of a single Spanish passenger.

Finally . . . Bloody Gibraltar: Spain's Foreign minister, Motormouth Margallo, has said that the ship which entered Gib waters last week was acting under EU orders to survey the sea floor and he has told the Spanish public that Spain "always follows the law". Putting aside the latter dubious claim, I guess we're expected to believe that the EU also ordered the massive rise in incursions into Gib waters since this right-wing PP government took over from the PSOE government that was making progress in seeking a tripartite solution to this old problem. This show will surely run and run, as right wingers tend not to believe in compromise. Or retreat.

1 comment:

Tractor mal aparcado en el Círculo de los poetas Zúticos said...

Tuez-les tous, Dieu reconnaîtra les siens

Me interesa tu opinión acerca del "pollo" montado por la entrevista en, si puede ser y no molesta.

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