The Spanish word casta normally 'means' caste or 'class'. But it seems to be increasingly used to mean 'the establishment'. Or perhaps that subset of it comprising corrupt politicians. Whatever, it's clearly a term of abuse. If anyone has a good handle on its current meaning, I'd appreciate hearing it.
The International Monetary Fund has doubled its forecast for the growth of the Spanish economy this year, to 1.2%. Since their last forecast was only 6 months ago, you can see how reliable they are. Adding to the joy of the Spanish, the Minister of the Economy has boasted that he can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and that Spain is increasingly seen as a model for other economies. With unemployment still at 26%, this has naturally been met by a huge national raspberry.
"The Spanish economy is growing more rapidly than forecast but still needs liberalising reforms." This is a headline from one of the Spanish newspapers. But which one? In fact, it's the left-of-centre El País. Perhaps it has a different definition of 'liberalising' from those Continentals to whom it mean Anglo-Saxon free market savagery.
My internet colleague Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas makes these interesting observations on one particular aspect of Spanish life: "Spain has a lot of prohibiciones. You can't do this, you can't do that. Many national laws, many local ordinances. A journalist called Francisco Canals has been collecting them – from prohibiting owning chickens at home in Alcúdia to the prohibition against rusty beach umbrellas in Barcelona. You can't put the image of the King inside a 12th Night Cake, eat a croissant while driving, or sell cakes in schools. No laundry hanging on city balconies and no 'extravagant or peculiar names' for newborns. According to Canals, the BOE (state bulletin), published each week, uses the word prohibición an average of 5,665 times in each issue. There are, he adds, a massive 2,917,000 people in the Public Sector who can promote or sign over fresh prohibitions. In Mojácar, municipal workers may not listen to the radio and women may not walk around their apartments in high heels. As Groucho once said – Whatever it is, I'm against it!"
Finally . . . There are a couple of roads on my route into town whose direction has been changed at least 3 times (back and forth) in the last few years. The latest has rendered the two roundabouts at the end of them inoperative and, in each case, half of the roundabout has been closed off. Town planning?