The headline read that Andalucia's black market - to no one's surprise, I'm sure - is 5% greater that Spain's as a whole. What they meant, of course, was that it's 5 percentage points more. Anyway, according to a local study, the most corrupt town is Almería (34% of the total), followed by Granada (32%), Cordoba (32%) and Cordoba (31%). The 'best' percentages were Huelva (26), Sevilla (27) and Malaga (29). Tellingly, all these were above the Spanish national number.
Talking of corruption . . . After passing quickly over 4 or 5 pages in the Voz de Galicia of the reports on local trials, I came up short at a foto of the shrink who's guiding the reduction of my post-depression medication, below a headline about a trial for 'corrupt practices'. Fortunately, it turns out he's the one who's taken out the writ - against the health services for giving a job to someone he thinks less qualified for it. In a belt and braces approach, he's initiated both legal and 'administrative' cases. So, plenty of material for us to discuss at our next 15m session in March. Last time, he treated me to a very nice sketch of the thyroid and the impact of various antibodies. In a word, destruction.
The following is something I read yesterday in the latest edition of Prospect magazine. It's about French women but I venture to say it's equally true of Spanish women (and society):- When these writers invite us to ape French women, they omit to mention that the tricks lying behind her so-called mystique - dressing to seduce, hiding her beauty secrets, playing hard to get - are those of our mothers and grandmothers. The school of feminism that advocated policing the private sphere as well as the public one seemed to bypass France during the 1960s and 70s. French feminism left the roles traditionally played by men and women virtually untouched. Nor did there seem to be any appetite among the population at large to revolutionise private relations between the sexes. We’ve seen enough French cinema to know that French women are not expected to play by the same rules as we Anglos do. La Française is still allowed to behave with her menfolk like an overgrown, pouting toddler. These women don’t have to be grown-up mainly because there has been little movement in France towards equality in the bedroom. French gender roles are not contractual but hierarchical. That’s why there’s relatively little conflict. Judging from the success of books such as Mireille Guillano’s, we seem to find this state of affairs refreshing compared to the pitiless transparency of male-female relations in Britain and America.
Finally . . . Pontevedra trivia. I was surprised to hear from a neighbour last week that the street I use daily to exit the city is now part of a zone which is "Services Only" and that - over the last 2 months - I'm lucky to have escaped the fines imposed on other drivers for ignoring (or not understanding) a single sign that says Agas Servicios, which is Gallego for Sólo Servicios. Anyway, along with other odd measures - such as reversing the flow of traffic in one street and blocking off half a roundabout at the end of it - the clear purpose of all this is to close the main bridge to traffic leaving the city and to funnel drivers, up and over numerous speed bumps, to the new bridge which is further away from where most people want to go. It would be nice to say it's all part of a master plan but my suspicion is they make it up as they go along. Anyway, my neighbour and I agreed it hardly mattered what the mayor decides to do, the people of Pontevedra are never going to resort to Burgos-like riots. They're far too placid for that. Reflecting the fact, perhaps, that most of them are funcionarios working for the provincial or municipal administrations.