Saturday, December 21, 2013

The tragedy of unemployment; Ugly utility bills; Galician ex-banking; Señor Who?; & A driving test.

The Spanish government would have us all believe corners have been turned, tunnels have ended and new days have dawned but the majority of the populace have quite some difficulty believing this. This video, for example, highlights the unhappy situation of three Madrid families bighted by the curse of unemployment. They become involved in a protest movement and one wonders again how long it will be before these turn into something more violent.

With the immaculacy of timing for which governments are renowned, it was announced this week that the price of electricity in Spain will rise by 11% early next. This is despite the government promising this wouldn't happen and after increases in the last few years cumulatively greater than anywhere else in the world. That said, the increase may not happen. Or, more likely, it may well happen but at a lower percentage. The government has been so shocked by the (predictable) reaction that it's said it'll review things. And the Competition authorities have said they're looking at the government buying process because of indications of funny business. The system is that the government has an auction of suppliers every few months. And, whadyknow, the prices of the bidders all rise in the wholesale market just before each auction. Which may be just a coincidence, of course.

The only Galician bank of note, NovoCaixaGalcia (NCG), has been sold to a Venezuelan bank half its size. The Spanish government had used €10 billion of EU funds to keep the bank afloat and managed to sell it for a whopping €1 billion. If I've got my sums right, that's a loss of €9 billion. But, hell, it's somebody else's money, the cheapest of the lot. The new owners have, of course, ducked the question of redundancies "Not worth talking about" and said the bank will remain "Galician". As if. Near term, of course, we will have to get used to the 5th logo change in the same number of years.

The Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, is so dull he makes John Major look like Joseph in his coat of many colours. Unsurprisingly, when he attended an EU conference this week the security guards failed to recognise him and asked to see his badge. Yet another blow to Brand Spain.

Finally . . . Maybe there is a God, after all. Ahead of a long road trip tomorrow, I dropped my MP3 USB cable in the road last night, where it was run over by a car. But, with the help of a pen-knife, I managed to fix the connector and load up on podcasts. But I really will believe there's a God if I can manage to get to the south coast without being fined for wearing an earpiece while driving. Or for anything else, for that matter. Taking my hand off the steering wheel to change gear, example. Or taking my eyes off the road to look in the rear-view mirror. Hey, ho.


paideleo said...

Boa viaxe e boas festas polo sur !.

Colin Davies said...