Monday, December 01, 2014

The Spanish parliament; Cataluña; The EU; Spanish salaries; Cough syrups; UK baby names; & The Vows

Spain's president, Sr Rajoy, has again addressed the issue of corruption, complaining that the Congress has become like a huge police station, with everyone under suspicion. "Where would we be", he asked, if everyone facing an accusation had to resign?" Answering his own question, he replied the place would be empty. Well, quite.

Rajoy paid a visit on Saturday to troublesome Cataluña and doubtless warmed the cockles of local hearts by insisting he wouldn't allow any challenge to national unity. The Catalan president, he said, had taken the Catalans on the journey to nowhere. In Rajoy's lexicon, this amounts to a conciliatory speech. So, this could well be a prelude to long-awaited sensible negotiations. Maybe.

Does anyone understand why David Cameron is having so much trouble with his EU immigration proposals while Angela Merkel is happily announcing restrictive measures? It is because the latter relate to people already in Germany - meaning she's not trying to stop them coming in, just planning to booµt them out if they've not worked for a while?

On this theme, a similar question applies to the statements made by presidential re-candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy. He's recently claimed the EU will explode if half of its powers are not returned to member states and it the EU doesn't stop meddling in all aspects of citizens’ lives. I can't imagine David Cameron getting away with this. Or Mrs Merkel staying silent if he voiced similar sentiments.

Years ago, in the UK at least, it was said public sector workers accepted lower salaries than private sector employees because of greater security and good pensions. Things then changed, with public sector salaries inexorably rising to reach, or even surpass, those of the private sector. But nothing like to the extent in Spain, where the average public sector salary is reported to be double that of the private sector. No wonder virtually everyone here wants to stay in their home town and work for one or other of Spain's national, regional or local governments. Tough to criticise their lack of ambition, really.

I recently read that cough medicines are essentially useless. Which probably explains why a UK TV ad can only come up with the the claim that 'There's nothing stronger' than the product featured. Equally weak and ineffective, therefore.

My elder daughter, Faye - the one with the very curly hair in the wedding fotos - is staying me for a while. A brief conversation yesterday:-
[Looking at my chin] Have you started to grow a beard again, dad?
No, I've just trimmed the beard I've had for the last 5 years with my new trimmer.
[Saving face] Well, it looks like stubble.
Yes, I may have overdone it.

Finally . . . The most popular boy's name in the UK last year was . . . . . Muhammed. Well, that's what Sky News said this morning. Someone else says the top 5 were Oliver, Jack, Harry, Jacob and Charlie. Not many saints' names there. For girls, the top 5 were Amelia, Olivia, Emily, Ava and Isla. For the latter compiler, Muhammed only came in at 15th. Better than Colin, which came nowhere in the top 100. BTW - Isla means 'island' in Spanish.

For Richard et al:  

The vows (during which Hannah corpsed)

1 comment:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

The business about first names is a matter of how we count. Recently, different spellings of Mohammed, which in the past were counted separately, have been merged,with the result that the item Muhammad-Mohammad-Mohammed ends up nº 1. That may make a certain sense; but - as the Guardian pointed out - if you did the same with Ollie and Oliver, or Harry and Harold and Henry, the results would be completely different…

But as the Bard said: what's in a name anyway?

Muammar Al-Mittington