So, where are we in the Never-Never world of the Catalan independence referendum, originally schedule for 9 November? Well, following the Constitutional Court's verdict of illegality, the plans for it have been formally shelved but the process will continue. Whatever that means. And the people of Barcelona, like those of Hong Kong, have flooded the streets under umbrellas to demand that the referendum takes place. The Spanish government, of course, continues to insist it won't and their spokesperson has sanctimoniously said that without law (and adherence to it), there's no democracy. As I've said, this is hard to stomach from a party which clearly thinks the anti-corruption laws don't apply to its national, regional or local administrators. Including those who hang on to power while sitting in the dock. And they accuse the Brits of hypocrisy!
Which reminds me . . . The Justice minister resigned a week ago, after failing to keep his ('reactionary') abortion bill in the government's program. This week it's been announced he's joining the Consultative Council of the Madrid Region. He'll attend one meeting a week and get €8,500 for doing so, or €102,000 a year. Perhaps €119,000, if he gets the standard Spanish arrangement of 14 months' payments. So he didn't exactly hurl himself into the void when he resigned, on principle.
You may recall the American plan to build a mega-casino outside Madrid which aborted a year or so back. Well, a new project has surfaced, to be financed by a Chinese businessman. Truly does politics (and economics) make for strange (but wealthy) bedfellows.
Talking of economics . . . Spain's budget for 2015 sees growth rising from the last forecast of 1.8% to 2.0%, and unemployment falling from 25% to 23%. Let's keep our fingers crossed, especially for the 350,000 who are forecast to find employment. Though possibly not in education, where the budget has been slashed again, taking the reduction to 25% over the past 4 years. And it's not as if Spain were a big spender in this vital area.
Talking of 2015 budgets . . . That for public expenditure here in Galicia has the AVE high-speed train at the head of the list, by a long way. Whether this is justifiable is highly debatable but one thing's for sure - the original finish date is many years in the past and the actual finish date is many years in the future. But no one seems to care much. And no heads will ever roll. Así son las cosas.
Finally . . . In a small town near the Galician city of Lugo, our own brand of nationalist terrorists struck again this week, blowing up bits of the town hall and nearby houses. Fortunately, this was at 4am and no one was injured. That said, this is 'progress' from their normal targets of rubbish bins and cash machines.