Vodafone has been finding out first-hand about corruption in Spain. Several executives of a company it bought, Ono, appear to have helped themselves to more than €60m in bonuses after the sale of a company whose accounts neglected to mention off-balance sheet transactions that jacked up the profits. Oddly, it seems Vodafone weren't advised of an ongoing Spanish investigation into these when they bought Ono.
President Rajoy spoke out on corruption at the weekend, stressing that cases were confined to only a few folk and that this didn't mean 46m Spaniards were corrupt. The fatuity of his comment was highlighted by the announcement today that more than 50 people around the country had been arrested on corruption charges. Plus the First Secretary of the PP governing party. There must be quite a few worried people around Spain right now. Or possibly visiting their money in Andorra and elsewhere.
Which reminds me . . . A prominent leader if the Asturian miners, accused of corruption, has said his just-revealed offshore fortune of €1.4m is an inheritance from his parents. One that he just forgot to mention to the tax authorities. This is the same implausible explanation proffered by the disgraced doyen of Catalan politics, Sr Pujol. I suspect this has now become the defence du jour. Meanwhile, Comrade Villa has been expelled from both his Union and the Socialist Party. Which might just be the very least they could do.
The Spanish economy:-
1. Between 2008 and 2012, around 700,000 Spaniards left the country to seek employment elsewhere. Followed by a further 547,890 people in 2013 including 79,306 more Spaniards. I assume the unemployment numbers are reduced accordingly.
2. There was a time - not long ago - when Spanish teachers enjoyed not only a relatively easy life but also the best salaries in Europe. Now, after 6 years of salary cuts, they're reduced to merely the former. And it's possibly no longer true that everyone wants to be a teacher.
Phrase of the month: Montar un pollo. 'To mount a cock(erel)'. This is translated as: To kick up a row with someone; To make an exaggerated fuss/scene; and To cause a scandal. Take your pick
In some languages the letters F and P are pronounced similarly. So in Persian telephone is telepon. And, reading a bit of Chaucer today, I saw that 'flat' used to be 'plat', as in French. But has since transmogrified.
I really would hate to be a woman. For the latest invented complaint I'd have to worry about is a 'sensitive bladder'. Whatever that is. One that easily takes offence? Or just one that leaks.
Finally . . . Nostalgia - as the Galicians well know - can be a powerful emotion. And it's possibly most frequently provoked by songs. I was hit by a brief bout of it today when hearing a song that reminded me of leaving a girlfriend behind in the Seychelles when I was 19. But this was nothing compared to the truly debilitating nostalgia for the islands that regularly hit me when studying in London over the next year. Made worse by the fact it took me all that time to figure out what was going on.