Saturday, November 09, 2013

Trials; Religion; The latest fraud case; British manners; The political scene; and Pontevedra beggars.

I was wrong to say that the kamikaze driver jailed for 13 years had been pardoned and released after only a few years. It was actually after only a few months. I wonder whose son he is.

Asked about how a jury could possibly be objective in the case of the Santiago parents accused of murdering their daughter and already tried (and convicted) in the media and in the court of public opinion, the Public Prosecutor said the jury would have to reach a verdict based only on the evidence presented to it in court. Fat chance, I would have thought. As with the driver of the Santiago train that crashed a few months ago.

One of the few things to escape the 2014 budget cuts, in Galicia at least, has been the amount spent by the regional government (the Xunta) on the salaries of teachers of religion, i. e. Catholicism. This amounts to €28m a year. Further evidence, I suppose, of the power of the Church under our right-of-centre PP government, both regional and national.

In a father-and-son case centreing on tax fraud and money-laundering via the company Damm, bail has been set at a mere €765m. Which may or may not be a judicious joke.

I read last night an amusing (and accurate) Spanish article on British 'courtesies'. It reminded me an English friend's story about her sister who's married to a chap from Cádiz. She obviously hasn't done a good job on him because, when he abruptly told her to pass the milk, and she asked him for the 'magic word', he responded with "Immediately". For non-Brits, the phrase 'magic word' is what UK parents use for kids who don't say 'Please'.

I'm not fond of the seagulls which hover around us as we take our wine and tapas at midday, sometimes swooping down to seize the food from our very hands. But one of them has risen in my esteem, after I saw it give a vicious beaking to one of the bloody pigeons which are even more of a nuisance.

Here (via reader Ferolano and Google Translate, mostly) is an overview of the Spanish political scene:-

The two parties which have agreed to take turns in power peacefully are two packs of men who aspire only to feed on the budget. Lacking ideals, no higher aim moves them, not to improve living conditions of this very poor, illiterate and unhappy race. It will be one government after the other leaving everything as it is today, and taking Spain to a state of illness that, for sure,must result in death. Neither of them will rush to solve either religious, economic or education problems. It will only be pure bureaucracy, despotism, sterile labour recommendations, favours for cronies, legislation without any practical effects and going forward slowly ... If nothing can be expected from the royalist mob, we shouldn't have faith in revolutionaries either. . . . I don't believe in revolution, either new-style or old-style. . . It will be years, perhaps decades, before this regime, its ethics attacked by disease, is replaced by another bringing new blood and new mental fires. We will have to wait at least 100 years for this, presupposing some "lucky " people are born wiser and we have fewer crooks than we have today. . . . Poor Spaniards! What it will cost us catch up.

The interesting thing about this is that it was written in 1912, by Benito Pérez Galdós. Despite this, as my Spanish friends agreed at dinner last night, it could've been written yesterday.

Finally . . . Here's my promised list, of the types of beggar we have in Pontevedra. It's quite possible I've missed a couple:-
The dwarf woman, who defies you not to give
The coin man, clinking money in a corner of the main square
The gypsy women who stand outside supermarkets
The gypsies who stand outside churches
The shop men, sitting on the steps with a placard in front of them
The common or garden panhandlers
The man who sells cheap books
The gypsy crone who regularly curses me
The man kneeling with his hands held out supporting a plate/dish, even in the rain
The man with the large iguana lizard
The 'jugglers' and their docile dogs
The people who 'guide' you into free parking places
The people who cadge cigarettes.
The 'musicians':
- Bagpipe players
- Accordionists
- Flautists
- Trumpeters
- Guitarists
- Violinists
- Tin whistlers
- Recorder players

I exclude from this list the excellent singers and musicians who have fixed patches and who brighten up our summer months. And some of the wandering troubadours are not too bad either, even the mariachi bands. But not the tin whistlers and recorder players!


Lenox said...

A wonderful beggar in Granada, a Spaniard, can cry at the drop of a hat. He's known, understandably enough, as The Crying Man. Wonderful to see him work!

Colin Davies said...

We await his estreno in Pontevedra.