Saturday, December 20, 2014

The president's perspective; Corruption (again!); Galician rain; EU rules; Mandy R-D; & Ryanairing

As mentioned, in recent weeks the insensitive Spanish President has taken to insisting that Spain is not only finally out of her recession but also growing at such a pace she's become a model for the rest of Europe. Someone must have had a quiet word with him and told him this didn't go down well with the populace when so many millions remain unemployed and bars and shops continue to close. So his office has now clarified the President's remarks, explaining that what he really meant was that Spain is at the start of the path that leads towards recovery, not that wages are rising and shops full of happy customers. So, that's alright then.

I heard the phrase collusion, coercion, corruption today and was then surprised to find it wasn't about Spain, but India. But, anyway, "Why is Spain so corrupt" is a question which occurs to all of us at some time. And here's The Economist's attempt at an answer.

Notwithstanding the corruption - which, in truth, never affects your daily life - if you aspire to fully assimilate into Spanish life, here's 7 reasons why you'll never succeed. It'd be good to see a Spaniard's equivalent list for the UK and the USA.

I've mentioned the new, Orwellingly entitled, The Law of Citizen Security. Less formally, it's referred to as The Gag Law. Here's some detail on it from El País.

There's a new film set in Galicia. And recorded in Gallego even. Sadly this reviewer endorses the myth that it never stops raining here - Diego Romero Suarez-Llanos’s photography does a fine job of rendering the rich tones and textures of Galicia, which seems to be composed of darkness, rain, moss and stone in varying quantities. But if it keeps away the foreign tourists, I guess it's worth tolerating this nonsense. The stone is granite, of course. Which looks almost as good when it's raining as when the sun shines on it. Or perhaps I've gone native.

I've mentioned France's penalty-free flouting of EU rules. Here's someone's acute observation on the EU, from a UK perspective: Berlin may be allowed to drag its feet for two decades on completing the single market in services. Paris may be able to ignore supposedly non-negotiable limits on eurozone budget deficits. But when it comes to an issue of crucial importance to Britain, Angela Merkel has made it clear to David Cameron that we would not be given similar leeway. For every year of our forty-year membership, Britain has paid more into the EU’s coffers than we get back. But apparently it’s we, strict observers of every EU rule, who are the bad Europeans. Give a dog a bad name, I suppose.

A small light has gone out and the world is a tad poorer, with the death of Mandy Rice Davies (no relative). For those who don't know, she was a minor character in a huge sex-&-spying scandal which hit the British government in the 60s, when she was the (very) young consort of a trio of rich middle-aged men and the star of the trial of one of these. Her witty riposte "He would say that, wouldn't he?" is now commonplace in the UK. She seems to have lived in Spain for a while but I can't find out where. Anyone know? It's interesting to note that Andrew LLoyd Webber feels that, 'given a different roll of the dice', Ms Rice Davies was smart enough to have become head of the Royal Academy. That said:-
The moving finger writes and, having writ,
Nor all thy piety nor wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.
All in all, though, she seems to have had a pretty good life, with 3 husbands.

Finally . . . More on the new Spanish word ryanairing: This has been defined as:- A new sport for experiencing extreme emotions. This follows the panic stimulated by the de-pressurisation of one of the airline's planes en route to Spain. Apologies for giving the company some publicity.

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