Saturday, December 07, 2013

Spanish pride; A famous Spanish judge; Spanish shame; Me and Nelson Mandela.

I'm not sure I've said this before but, even so, it bears repeating - while the perpetual-motion busload of corruption cases involving politicos and businessmen is shaming for Spain, the prosecution of these is something the country can be proud of. Even if said politicos usually (and shamelessly) dilute the sentences handed down.

Talking of corruption cases . . . One of the these (El caso ERE) is presided over by Judge Mercedes Alaya. This lady has the (mis)fortune to be good looking, well-shaped and invariably elegantly dressed. Which means she appears often on TV, usually filmed from the toes to the tip of her well-coiffed head. Which some find sexist. Or at least macho. Anyway, here she is in a funny video which portrays her as a safeguard against corruption. If this doesn't work, click here.

And here are numerous fotos. Decide for yourselves. I guess it's true you wouldn't get many British judges turning up like this in the UK but the systems are totally different. In Spain you study to be a judge and start young. In the UK you're selected only after a long career in the law, usually way past middle age and no longer desirous of/worried about looking elegant. Or, dare one say, attractive. I, of course, am neither sexist nor macho. But I do think Ms Alaya looks best in red.

And talking of the shame in Spain, here's an article which portrays the country at its very worst. One in which 19th century exploitation/slavery still thrives with the connivance of the authorities, for the enrichment of a few families who are almost certainly contributors to the right-of-centre PP party. A taster - This is a remote corner of the continent, where corruption and unlawfulness prosper largely unchecked in a cosy, conflicted and circular establishment embracing corrupt local government, the law, big business and a media that quickly condemns and closes ranks on prying outside eyes.

Watching a youth orchestra perform last night, I noticed there was no hint of a tattoo on the arms of any of the ladies. Which is not to say they weren't elsewhere, of course. But it was a pleasant change.

Finally . . . Someone has written of Nelson Mandela that his human failings (e. g. being a poor tipper) are what made him special. I like to think that's true of all of us. Though I'm a good tipper, by the way. My failings lie elsewhere. As does my specialness. Which really is a word, it seems.

Postscript: If you study the Alaya pix, you'll see where Nigella Lawson got her stunning look from.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Exploring your frequent theme of Spanish corruption, my researches led me here - Most enlightening

Clearly Spain's veneer of democracy is much thinner than it outwardly appears to be.

There is a section on ERE, which cites your poster girl Mercedes Alaya.

My choice, for what it's worth is

Feeding your hunger for league tables, here is the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013

Spain comes 40th out of 177 Countries and territories, meaning that there are only 39 LESS corrupt. Denmark is cleanest with the UK at 14th.

As for slavery, it's everywhere these days, from Mexicans in the U.S. to Rumanians in London restaurant kitchens and Filipinos in Saudi households. As for Polish and au pairs . . . I'd better stop there.