Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Troubled banks; Government v. the courts; Jewish fears; Ponters shops; and Judicial nonsense

Bloody 'ell - Things really must be bad. The bank manager called last night to give me birthday greetings and to apologise they were 2 days late. I wonder if I'm their sole remaining customer. There hasn't been a lot of activity - or any, really - whenever I've walked past recently.

The motorist who killed someone when (deliberately!) driving the wrong way down an autopista has been identified as 25 year old Ramón Jorge Ríos Salgado. It's also been revealed that only 19 of the 36 judges of the Supreme Court voted to overturn the pardon which the government had given him. What we don't know is why almost half of the court thought the pardon should stay in place. No wonder this country is awash with conspiracy theories. This, by the way, is not the end of the story; the government now has 3 months to decide whether to accept the Supreme Court's verdict or to reinstate the pardon. The Supreme Court, it seems, is not very supreme. Meanwhile, the government has published details of the hundreds of requests for pardons it has had this year and the percentage of acceptances per category of crime. The question arises - Why is the Executive so involved in the judicial system? It'd be an invitation to corruption even in a more ethical country. A hangover from dictator days?

Worryingly, 76% of Jews surveyed in the EU recently said they'd felt increasing rejection by the societies in which they lived. The researchers tried to ask Jews in Spain how they felt but, of course, couldn't find any.

Which reminds me . . . The President of the Catalan government has insisted the existence of Israel proves an independent Cataluña would be viable. This is an argument so specious I heard it in respect of Galicia 10 years ago. I believe it's simplistically based on population numbers. As if half a million people living in the Sahara desert would make a viable nation because Luxembourg is.

My churrasco restaurant is not the only place to have closed in Pontevedra city in the last few weeks. Shops continue to put up the shutters as they run out of patience/money. That said, my guess is that, for every 10 that close, 2 or 3 open up in new hands. What they all sell seems to be bags, scarves and accessories for women, if not an entire wardrobe. Beats me. Can they really all be fronts for money-cleansing? Or are there enough wealthy females here to sustain them all?

Taking of town . . . Here's a report of a pensioner in the UK who, fed up with cyclists endangering her wellbeing, took the law into her own hands. I know how she felt but won't be following her example as I don't have a dog.

David Kynaston is a social historian who's written a massive trilogy on Britain between 1945 and 1979. Some of his observations are fascinating, like this pronouncement from a judge trying several gays in 1954: "Once this vice gets established in any community, it spreads like pestilence, and unless held in check it threatens to spread indefinitely." This belief/fear that homosexuality was contagious, like a disease, lay behind his decision to put some of the accused on probation on condition they received 'treatment'. One wonders what this entailed and how successful it was. More quotations in due course.

Finally . . . I've regularly thought it should be possible to de-clutter my Inbox by using some sort of computerised bring forward or follow up system. And I finally decided to check on whether one existed. Of course, it does and here it is. Seems to work fine.

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