Saturday, November 29, 2014

Reforming Spain; Living happily; Unhappy youth; Heating houses; New houses?; Spanglish; & Fotos.

Well, maybe there's really going to be a sea change in the way the Spanish government and judiciary treat corruption here. A major offender (Fabras) has been denied the standard avoidance of prison. Someone in Madrid is finally getting the message. And is, by the by, demonstrating again just how politicised the judicial system is here.

As expected, the promise of the Spanish PM to clean up politics has been greeted with scorn from the opposition parties. As has his claim that Spain is not corrupt, just has some corrupt people whose misdeeds are coming to light. I'll say! But, anyway, his reforms will 'go a long way to preventing future scandals', he says. With some justification, the leader of the PSOE opposition replied that Sr Rajoy lacked both the capacity and the legitimacy to renew democracy. True, but a bit of a cheek from the leader of a party also embroiled in corruption scandals. So, who can do it?

Hard as this may be to believe, the Happy Planet has produced an index which puts the UK higher than Spain as a happier place in which to live. At positions 41 and 62, respectively. A big clue for this comes from the fact that 1 of the 3 criteria is a county's 'ecological footprint', the others being life expectancy and wellbeing. Taking this to its logical extreme, if you lived surrounded by wind turbines, you'd be the happiest person in the world. Just in case you're asking, the worst place to live is Botswana. No turbines at all. And the best - Costa Rica. Of course.

A countervailing bit of news is that the number of Spaniards signing on to the UK's national insurance scheme fell 9% in the year to September. There are even suggestions that those already there are beginning to leave.

But can this be to return to Spain, where youth unemployment has just been labelled the worst in Europe? Well, yes in the case of those who went to the UK ill-prepared to do anything but the menial jobs which don't give them the chance to improve their English. Said youth unemployment rate in Spain is now 54%, higher even than that of Greece and 7 times that of Germany.

Talking about the UK . . . My (superficial?) observation from my stays in 7 places is that the old (i. e. my mother) can afford to heat their houses to furnace levels, whereas the young can hardly afford to heat them to adequate levels. Or am I just less hardy than I was when I lived there?

Maybe young Spaniards can take comfort from the fact that both building permits and mortgage applications have recently shot up here. That said, the construction industry is still languishing at 4% of GDP, against 12% back in the 'fat cow' years.

Back home, I can again watch Moscow's TV channel, RT. This has allowed me to invent a new expression to replace "When Hell freezes over". It's "When RT reports on Russia".

Spanglish: The word 'toffee' has made its way into Spanish, as part of a dessert. Technically, it should have been transmuted into tofi but we saw it as toffe. Which is a nonsense really. Neither fish nor fowl. But maybe it was just a typo.

A puzzle: Should there be any punctuation between Thieves and Beware? If so, a full stop (period) or a comma? And does anyone know what Police Aware means?

Finally . . . For Richard, and anyone else who might be interested:

En route to the Nuptial Mass:


Alfred B. Mittington said...

If you ask me (but you rarely do…) there should be no punctuation at all between Theives and Beware, since the thieves are actually being addressed here, not their potential victims (if they were the best formulation would be 'Beware: thieves!'). See the 'Don't risk it', which I figure is a second address to the thieves.

'Police Aware' is probably Twitterstyle, which anybody under 30 now supposedly masters perfectly…

Your faithfAl.

Colin Davies said...


Alfred B. Mittington said...

For crying out loud… As if YOU never make a typing mistake…!!

Never heard a Thank You Alfie, by the way, for pointing out the horrid typo you wrote yesterday in your very first sentence…

Or for the numerous times I corrected your anal grammar.


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