Corruption is the second greatest concern of the Spanish, after unemployment. President Mariano Rajoy managed to give a press conference this week - the first (and last) of the year unencumbered by restrictions - without even mentioning it. Even the right-of-centre El Mundo found this rather odd. What Rajoy did do was apply negative labels to the last 2 years but a positive label to 2014. I wouldn't be surprised if few of his listeners believed him. Of course, the reason corruption was left as the elephant in the room is that Rajoy's party is mired in allegations of it, at both national and regional level. But so is the PSOE opposition party, so they were possibly quite pleased there was no searchlight shone into murky corners. Or even promises made of future committees of investigation. Only Greeks and Italians are corrupt in our world. Oh, and the Turks.
Relatedly . . . I've sometimes wondered why anyone would want to go into politics. And then I was reminded last night that you merely have to keep your job for 7 years in Spain before you're entitled to a full pension. And you can vote to increase it in line with inflation while your'e simultaneously reducing pensions for the poorest in the country. And failing to provide the cash for the disability benefits you promised before getting back into power. If ever there was a self-serving profession, it's politics. As well as banking, of course.
Another lovely Spanish vignette . . . Having, as usual, had my pen stolen by my younger daughter, I went to the hotel shop to buy a replacement. The first problem arose when my statement that I needed a pen was interpreted by the woman as a request to borrow hers. This cleared up, she got one from a box and then tried to establish its price by doing various things on the computer and with bar codes. After several iterations, she told me it was 2 euros. I thought this a tad expensive for a basic pen but was anxious to get out of the shop before death overtook me. So I paid and left. Half an hour later, as I was reading a newspaper in the lobby, she came over to me and asked me to come back to the shop at 6, when it re-opened. "I overcharged you a euro," She explained. "And I need to give it you back". I was so pleasantly surprised, I forgot to ask her why she couldn't just give it me immediately.
Finally . . . A new English usage for me: rammed. As in "The place was rammed". It's short for 'rammed full'. So, 'full'.
And a new English word - muntered. No idea what it means. But here's someone's definition of munter - 'An unattractive person, especially a woman'.