Saturday, December 14, 2013

High-speed trains; EuroVanish; God & His works; France; & Motormouth Margallo.

The Atlantic Axis is not a long-lost German battle-fleet but an association of cities along the coasts of NW Spain and Portugal. With apparent sincerity, its Secretary General said this week he's convinced that by 2017 it'll be possible to travel on high speed trains between La Coruña in the far north of Spain and the Algarve in the far south of Portugal. And before that between La Coruña, Pontevedra, Vigo and Oporto. You have to laugh. Has he learned nothing from the Galician experience?

So, as the sceptics predicted, there's to be no Eurovegas gambling city on the outskirts of Madrid. Apparently the Spanish negotiators finally found some cojones and said No to the demands for preferential tax and legal treatment. Mind you, even if they'd agreed to these, Brussels had already said they'd be illegal under EU law. So perhaps it wasn't too tough a decision after all.

I heard in a podcast today an American farmer bemoaning the worst storm in 150 years and saying that God had given him and his colleagues their animals and they'd failed Him by allowing them to die. But God had to be thanked for allowing him to survive the storm. It didn't seem to occur to the guy that God might carry some responsibility for it in the first place. Anyway, I love this image of God deciding who'll live and who'll die. Or as Fitzgerald put it (masquerading as Omar Khayyam) - Destiny with men for pieces plays. Hither and thither moves and mates and slays. And one by one back in the closet lays. Of course, the Calvinists take this nonsense to its extreme, believing that The Chosen are selected before they're even born. And the rest of us are going to Hell in the proverbial handcart. So why bother creating us?

The international tourism industry produces two lists - the first is of visitors to countries and the second is of their per capita spend. France always tops the first but comes bottom of the second. Which raises a question or two. Perhaps France is routinely swamped by boatloads of Brits, desperate to buy cheap fags (cigarettes, not gays) and booze, returning an hour later on the next ferry back to Blighty.

Finally . . . The Spanish Foreign Minister earned (from me) the soubriquet of Motormouth Margallo, following his interventions over Gibraltar. Now he's opined on the issue of Britain and the EU, saying that the UK economy would be 'reduced to rubble' it it left the EU. Demonstrating that he knows as much about economics as he does about diplomacy.

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