Thursday, November 06, 2014

Communication; God; Podemos; Justice; Taxes; & A letter.

I wrote a bit about Spanish discourse yesterday and today I came across this: If we wanted to explain to someone what communication is like here, it'd be enough to put the TV on for a bit and let them see that what they see and hear has nothing to do with communication. The "You're worse!" of our politicians, the round-table discussions on any channel in which everyone talks at the same time, presidents who communicate through a plasma screen . . . all examples of anti-communication. It's aggressive communication - attack and defence, in which the objective gets lost. It's not a question of listening but of winning the contest. This is not much different from our day to day experience. Sometimes in our personal relationships we lose lose perspective and engage in a field battle even when the objective is shared - to understand each other so that things will improve. I rest my case.

Cocido is a Galicia dish I can take or leave. It's based on bits of the pig (plus a cabbage leaf) and an Englishman has actually written a book about it (Everything but the Tail) which details its various manifestations. I mention it simply because it's reported to be what the ex Ebola patient asked her mum for as she was leaving hospital. Said lady is also reported to have thanked God for her 'miraculous' recovery. Shame about all those coloured folk down in Africa whose entreaties went unanswered. Maybe she's led a more Catholic life than these unfortunates.

Now that the government's own survey has confirmed that 9 month old Podemos party is in the lead ahead of next year's elections, the Spanish media is in quite a tizz. For me, the outstanding question is - Will next year see the election of the first Spanish President to sport a ponytail? Or will that be Sr. Iglesias's first bow to convention? Meanwhile, here's El Pais on the phenomenon, in English.

Just a bit on corruption today - The president of the Galician government is saying zilch on the subject. Which is odd as there's a least one case here in the country's current Top Ten and you might have thought he'd want to disassociate himself from it.

Some say that justice is slow in Spain but I beg to differ. The invaluable Codex Calixtinus was stolen from Santiago cathedral in mid 2011. The (alleged) (inhouse) thief was arrested in mid 2012 and the trial begins as promptly as next month. The perp may get 15 years, or about 10 times more than the average corrupt politician. Plus he might have to stay in jail for a while, without a pardon. It's tough for the little crooks.

These are hard times for both taxpayers and the people charged with squeezing the pips until they squeal. Spanish inheritance tax is one of those things which would be labelled a 'postcode lottery' in the UK. It differs from region to region and can be either very high or zilch. Where it's high, people are now declining to inherit (unsellable?) property rather than cough up a substantial sum here and now. As for the collectors, they've taken to hovering in helicopters to identity home improvements which have increased value but haven't been reported to the tax office. I wonder what they do if they see a pool that's been filled in or a conservatory knocked down. Nothing, I imagine.

Just following up on the citation of setear yesterday. . . .There's no evidence that Spanish has borrowed 'to set' to give setear. But, then, resetear ('reset') isn't in the dictionary either. Yet.

Finally . . . The best source of public views is perhaps the Letters page of the press. Here's one example from today's El País:

In Spain, everyone steals in his own way

I was one of many young people forced to register falsely as self-employed, with a low income and total dependence on the employer. Unable to move to another job, you tolerate all they throw at you - they pay you in black money, your work is poorly paid, and they demand more and more for less and less. Now I find they haven't paid my last salary. They've taken advantage of my youth and innocence to trick me. After all that I've endured. Why do politicians steal? I don't see it as strange, since in Spain everyone steals what he can. What is needed in Spain are not new politicians, but the moral and social reform of Spaniards. A change in our values, which can only be done through education. I hope the cheeky Spaniard who jumps the queue on the bus or in the metro ceases to represent us. In the end, our politicians are a reflection of what happens in our day-to-day life.

Patricia Benito Castro.

No comments:

Search This Blog