Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Bad banking; Fiestas and rockets; Post-war silence; & Me moaning again.

There's a political storm next door in Portugal, where the government has bailed out a failed bank at the expense of the taxpayers. Said the leader of the Left Bloc: “We live in a democracy, not a bankocracy. It is unacceptable for the prime minister to take money from the salaries of workers and pensions, and funnel it to a private bank.” Nice sentiments but they won't butter any Portuguese parsnips. Any more than they have elsewhere. Needless to say, there was vast corruption within the family which owned the bank.

Which reminds me . . . Bankia is a new Spanish bank, forged in 2010 from the remains of several failing savings banks. In 2012 it collapsed and received a €19bn bailout from the Spanish state (= taxpayers). And then proceeded to lose exactly the same amount of money for that year. Both the bung and the loss were the greatest in Spanish history. More recently, I think the bank may have turned a small quarterly profit. Having been in one of their branches yesterday, it's clear that one plank of its strategy is to reduce personnel to the bare minimum. One teller for 9 customers. Though there were 2 employees at the back, chatting to each other. Until one went for a coffee. I hate to think what Bankia's annual fees and card charges now are.

The August fiesta in my barrio began yesterday. I realised this when a couple of bagpipe players walked into and out of our cul-de-sac this morning, accompanied by a chap who was launching large exploding rockets. From his hand. Surprisingly, he still had 2 of these.

When Spain entered its Transition, after the death of Franco in 1975, there was an official omerta on the crimes of the Civil War of 1936-9 and thereafter. This was El Pacto del Olvido. Or The Pact of Forgetting. This ensured there were no prosecutions for those responsible for death and suffering. I hadn't known there was a British precedent, after the Civil War of 1642-51, and the restoration of the monarchy in the form of Charles II in 1660. This was The Indemnity and Oblivion Act. In fact, there were a few people executed - those whom Charles felt were directly responsible for his father's death. Oh, and Oliver Cromwell was dug up and hung at Tyburn.

Telef√≥nica is investing €9bn in the purchase of a Brazilian company. Which is odd, as they can't afford to invest in increasing my download speed from today's low of 0.2megas.

Finally . . . I don't know how much longer I can go on reading the Comments on articles in British newspapers. It's not the abuse - as I've said, there isn't really much of this - it's the misuse of 'it's' and 'your'. Even by obviously intelligent readers. Is punctuation no longer taught in British schools? Is it just me?

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