The Times reports that "Every Briton is to be offered a government-backed virtual ID to store personal data online, file tax returns and apply for driving licences through a single portal." Big deal. All of this is already available to us here in Spain. You can even make doctor appointments on line and check how many points you have on your driving licence, in theory at least. This is one way in which Spain feels ultra modern, to compensate for being ultra non-modern in other aspects.
One of the Spain's vice-presidents has accused the Catalan government of indulging in a 'legal fraud' and a 'perversion of the democratic process'. Which is rather rich. But, then, they do know what they're talking about. The Catalan president has accused Madrid of hypocrisy. They know a lot about that too.
Showing how attuned it is to hard times, the Sevilla city council recently announced an intention to fine rubbish-bin-riflers as much as €750. There was quite a reaction, with opposition socialist councillors pointing out that, if these people had that much money, they'd hardly be likely to be scouring bins for food. In the face of much anger, the proposition was duly dropped.
Despite 7 years of falls, the IMF says Spain's house prices are still too high. Specifically, they're 15% above the level determined by disposable income.
The day after the Apple boss came out as gay, his monument in St Petersburg was taken down, as being illegal gay propaganda. Oddly enough, Russia's RT TV Channel didn't report this.
I mentioned a while ago there were 6 or 7 e-cigarette shops in Pontevedra. Maybe not any more. It seems the national total has fallen by 90% in the last 12 months, from 3,000 to a mere 300. Must check it out.
For those who speak Spanish, and have some time on their hands, my blogger colleague at Kalebeul has pointed me to this explanation for Spain's infamously high electricity prices.
Talking of utility prices . . . . After last year's staggering Q4 water bill of €615 - thanks to an underground leak - I'm doing my best to reduce use to compensate via future bills. This has been a success so far, with the latest bill showing use of only 8m3 of water, at a cost of a mere €1.94. But you can see the impact of fixed costs and large-family subsidies when I tell you I actually have to pay €26.67 for my piddling usage. And then there's the rubbish collection charges and other 'Coefficients', of which I have no understanding whatsoever. Leading to a total bill of €48.99. Quite impressive really. But probably still a lot less than in the UK, as money-printing machinery has yet to be installed in Spanish utility companies. Other than the electricity companies, of course.
Oh yes, my car tax has doubled in a year. This taxation business is really easy when you can massively increase your take at the stroke of a computer key. And take the money direct from bank accounts.
Finally . . . Here's an amusing list of daft laws in the USA.