Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Corruption around Spain; Street protests; University profs; Holidaying; The Sunday flea market; Iceland; & Walter Mitty.

An amusing cartoon in a local paper - A politician is saying, from behind bars: "I want to fight corruption; that's why I've handed myself in."

On this theme, this is how Spaniards recently answered the question - "Do you believe there's an abuse of power and self-enrichment in the following institutions":-
  • Political parties - 84%
  • Politicians - 72%
  • Banks and financial institutions - 54%
  • Private companies - 45%
  • The police and customs - 41%
  • The courts - 38%
  • The Health & Safety inspectorate - 36%

For me, the last 4 would be the most surprising, not to say worrying.

Still on this theme, over a million people are said to have turned out for a demonstration in Madrid on Sunday against the nature and policies of the current PP government. With smaller protests in other cities around Spain, including Santiago de Compostela here in Galicia. Is Madrid listening?

Getting off the subject of corruption . . . A survey of Spanish universities shows the extent of endogamy here - 73% of professors in public universities are from the institution they studied in. Though this figure falls to as low(?) as 32% in private universities.

And getting really positive . . . . Expedia tells us that, along with Denmark, France and Germany, Spanish employees get the highest number of holidays in the world - 30. Against the EU average of 28 and the US average of 14. Plus, they make sure they take them all. And then there are all the public holidays and the 'bridge' holidays that occur when one of the latter falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday. No wonder Expedia tells us the Spanish get the highest number of days off in the world. When asked what they'd sacrifice for an extra week’s holiday, 16% of Spaniards aid they'd give up showering for a week – the highest rate in the world – while 48% would give up social media and 28% would forego sex. Believe it or believe it not.

As usual, I walked round the flea market in Veggie Square on Sunday. And, as usual, there was little beyond junk and trinkets. But I have, over the years, found 5 or 6 items to buy. An even better reason for my Sunday ritual is that, I'm convinced that, one time I don't put in an appearance, someone will be selling a coco-de-mer. Meanwhile, the most interesting aspect of the market is that gypsy sellers are expanding it down the adjacent streets. Christmas? Or problems with traditional businesses?

Finally . . . What are the odds on this? I listened yesterday to a podcast on Iceland. And then last night I watched a film - Walter Mitty - set partly in Iceland. BTW: Last time I saw a film called Walter Mitty, it was - I think - set in Yorkshire. Starring the luminous Julie Christie, whose picture (face only) had adorned by bedroom wall. Wrong on at least 2 counts: The film was called Billy Liar and it was set in the UK Midlands. NYT review here.

For Richard et al:

The Signing


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