Unlike in Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions, a Spanish criminal case starts with a court of instruction in which the judge takes evidence - sometimes over many months - and then decides whether the case should go forward and, if so, what charges will be levied. If the accused is important, what usually happens then is that the Public Prosecutor - an appointee of the government - publicly states the judge is wrong and that the accused has no case to answer. This is exactly what has happened this week in the case of Princess Cristina and her husband. He hasn't had the benefit of any public support but, as regards the princess, the Public Prosecutor has accused the judge of bias and, basically, of not knowing what the hell he's doing. So, not exactly a unified system of justice. More a case of one part of the judicial system acting as an arm of the executive in defending any and every member of the establishment. Though it has to be said they don't always succeed. Some bigwigs do end up in jail, albeit not for very long, usually. The government's last resort is always a pardon.
There was a letter in today's El País bemoaning the fact that Spain is a nest of corrupt vipers. The author suggested that laws should be brought in before corruption becomes accepted as the norm. I would have thought there were already laws in place and that this milestone has already been passed. A few minutes after reading this letter I read an article in our local paper about funeral directors formally asking the bishop to stop priests indulging in fraudulent behaviour at funerals and burials. I mean, priests, for God's sake.
Talking of Galicia - and bear with me here - we used to have 2 caixas, or savings banks. They were essentially the playthings of local politicians, as elsewhere in Spain, but they did finance a lot of cultural activities as well. They were Caixa Nova and Caixa Galicia. Anyway, they merged 3 or 4 years ago into Novacaixa Galicia. Then they became Novacaixa Bank. And now, having been acquired by Venezuela's Banesco, they've become Abanca (or //ABANCA). Which in Gallego means TheBanking. It's been a wonderful few years for sign-writers and shop-fitters. Not to mention logo designers. But hopefully the boondoggle is over now.
Today I found out 2 things from my own bank:- 1. I have a choice to use chip & pin or a signature; and 2. They're about to be taken over by another bank. So I'll probably leave the issue for now.
Finally . . . There was another letter in El País today, complaining about the plague of (rude) 'Taleban' cyclists terrorising pedestrians on the pavements of Spain. And the fact that the local police stood by and did nothing about them. I was reminded of the recent Camino I did, where the cyclists (or most of them anyway) rode as if they had prior rights to the paths. None of them seemed to possess either a bell or a horn, meaning the best you could expect was one of a variety of strange verbal warnings/commands as they hurtled towards you as if aiming for a new personal best on that stretch of the Way. A real pest. And we didn't even have any local police to sit around doing nothing. Something should be done! Before I give in to the temptation to stick a pole through the spokes of some cyclist and break his neck.