Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Spanish politics; French rule-breaking; Gib; Car-cleaning; Confused cops; Resetear; and Marriage advice.

It sometimes seems that Spain is being run primarily for the benefit of the pockets of leading businessmen and politicians. Any coincidental public benefit is exactly that - coincidental. But the corporate-political nexus is running scared. A group of leading companies has announced a plan for bringing the unemployment rate down from 24 to 11% within 4 years. This, they say, will involve the creation of 2 million jobs. A tall order, I would've thought. But let's hope they succeed.

As for politics generally, here's the FT's overview of current developments: Spain’s established political parties were on Monday scrambling to find an answer to the meteoric rise of Podemos, a leftwing insurgent party founded less than 10 months ago. According to the latest polls, the group would emerge as the biggest party in the country if elections were held now. Analysts caution that the latest spike in Podemos’s poll rating may be a gut reaction to the recent corruption scandals shaking Spain’s political establishment. But they also point out that the group has shown far greater staying power than sceptics predicted – and that it is likely to emerge as a credible rival to the country’s two mainstream parties in next year’s general election.

If you want even more on this subject, click here for Reuters' view. Like the rest of us, they're sceptical about the government's promises of reform.

So, France has shown once again that, in the EU, it's best to be big and bolshie. Its repeated breaching of the key rule on budget deficits will be overlooked for at least the next 2 years. Smaller members, though, can't expect such largesse. So the moral hazard risk doesn't arise. Except in respect of France.

The latest silly incident around Gibraltar is that a Spanish plane changed its flight path and caused an incoming BA flight to do likewise. Possibly an accident and possibly not. But, with ISIS threats growing, there's a suggestion the next Spanish fishing boat making a macho intrusion into Gib waters might find itself blown out of the water. Now, that would be a test of EU friendships.

I was told years ago that it was illegal to clean your car in the street. I've ignored this until today, when I finally decided to use one of the 'boxes' that flat-dwelling Spaniards resort to when necessary. There were 7 options at a euro each, including one for cleaning mosquitoes. Off the windscreen, I assume. I used 3 of these but didn't notice any difference between them. But I was glad the 4th one was just water. The vacuum cleaner was a challenge, given the strength of the suck. I almost lost a duster to it and then it virtually consumed the rubbish bin liner when I was putting it back on he assembly.

A wonderful headline in today's Diario de Pontevedra - The fining of a national policeman by a local policeman sparks controversy. It seems the former was on a drug-related mission and didn't take too kindly to receiving a ticket for using his mobile phone when driving.

So, guess what resetear means. It's the verb used, by Renfe at least, when you want to change your password. Or to reset your computer, modem, etc. As in: Resetear ('Reset' en inglés) significa colocar a un sistema en sus condiciones iniciales de encendido.

En passant - I noted in the press today that electricity prices have risen 18% since February. 

Finally . . . My younger daughter gets married later this month. As it happens, I heard some good advice from a long-wed couple today - Never fall asleep during an argument. Wish I'd known that.

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