If you came to Spain today and travelled around the entire country, you'd doubtless be amazed and impressed in equal measure. Magnificent new roads; a high-speed train system that's the second largest in the world; stunning geography; wonderful, friendly, fun-loving people; excellent food and wine; a mind-boggling historical heritage; and marvellous beaches. All-in-all, a thoroughly 21st-century country going places. Below all this, though, is a corrupt corporate-political nexus of truly depressing dimensions. Which forces you to ask how many hotels, roads, railways, airports and numerous 'vanity' projects were really necessary and how many were built primarily because of kickbacks. Is there another developed country in the world quite like this? Greece? Italy? Either way, Spain has been managed like this for centuries and one wonders how long it'll be before things materially improve. The daily litany of arrests and trials gives little cause for optimism. Meanwhile, folk like me are unaffected in our daily lives. Except to the extent that our taxes our inexorably rising to pay, inter alia, the interest on the debts run up to finance the investments and kick-backs. As yet, this isn't painful enough to spark a revolution. But one day. Maybe. One thing's for sure, absent pressure from Brussels, the politicians and their corporate friends have no incentive to clean up their act. They rarely pay for their transgressions. In fact, I wonder whether the word 'resign' appears in the latest Royal Academy dictionary issued this week.
Compare and contrast: "The IMF say Spain’s economy will grow by 1.7% in 2015. This is the fastest predicted growth of any advanced European economy. " And: 2. "The IMF says Britain will see its GDP increase by 2.2% in 2015." The only explanation for this discrepancy can be that the UK either isn't European or doesn't have an advanced economy. Or both. Or maybe it's just bad, selective journalism.
If you're truly interested in what is and isn't happening in Cataluña, this article will interest you.
Another new scandal in Galicia - a nun and two or three civil servants have been arrested for taking babies from single mothers, who were told they'd died. The nun was possibly acting out of misplaced religious reasons but the officials are thought to have had rather more pecuniary motives. But we'll see.
Finally . . . Last week I mentioned I'd downloaded Apple's new OS, Mavericks. A day later, I learned they'd just introduced an even newer system, Yosemite. So I've downloaded this, also for free. It looks good but it's taken me a while to find out where the Reader button is. This allows you to read an article without all the crap that surrounds it and is well worth having.