Apologies: I wrote yesterday's blog very early and then simply forgot to post it. A nice mix of efficiency and inefficiency. Anyway, here it is . . . .
Spanish governments are very good at helping their corporate friends, in one way or another. One sees this with the monopolistic professions, the subsidies to favoured industries, the tolerance of abuse and poor service from larger operators such as Telefónica, and the cotton-bedding of those industries - such as taxi-driving and hotels - which are facing new forms of competition from the internet. The latest example is the so-called Google tax, a charge to be paid by those who extract information from Spain's media and pass it on to others. This is designed to provide income for Spain's struggling media companies but quite what the law will mean in practice is unclear. Will I, for example, be obliged to pay for every citation I make of an El Pais article, even if it means more people reading the paper than would otherwise be the case. With possibly more clicks-per-view.
Speaking of Telefónica . . . The Supreme Court has just annulled a fine of €10m on them for abuse of a dominant position. What more can one say?
There are some who feel that Spain is already a de facto federation and should be converted into a de jure federation in the face of Catalan demands for independence. I thought of this when reading these comments of a supporter of Scottish Independence - A British federation is a non-starter because a federation merely invented to head off a secession wouldn't survive, and wouldn't deserve to.
Finally . . . I wrote this a week or two ago: As I was leaving town on Tuesday night at 10, there was a blackbird singing its throat out on the roof of the offices of the provincial administration. Can there be any more pleasant sound of an evening? So I was naturally pleased to see what Orwell wrote in 1946: It is politically reprehensible, while we are all groaning, or at any rate ought to be groaning, under the shackles of the capitalist system, to point out that life is frequently more worth living because of a blackbird's song, a yellow elm tree in October, or some other natural phenomenon which does not cost money and does not have what editors of left-wing newspapers call a class angle?
And, after I'd typed that, I heard this bit of a poem ('Adlestrop') by Edward Thomas:-
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
So, a bit of a coincidence.