Saturday, January 31, 2015

Charlies; Podemos; 'Desleal'; Corruption; Mindfulness; FIFA; Bird prodding; & Waste.

A wonderful cartoon on the front of the latest edition of Private Eye: It's a foto of all the politicos who attended the Paris rally in honour of Charlie Hebdo. They're carrying a banner which reads: Je suis charlatan. Or Nous sommes tous charlatans. Can't find it right now.

Spain's new left-of-centre political party - Podemos - is currently ahead in the polls. This is despite - or because of - not having any policies, only 'proposals' that will be refined. Meanwhile, the established parties are doing their utmost to tar Podemos with the same corruption brush with which they've been besmirched. That's Spanish politics for you. 'Whatever we're guilty of, you're worse'. Y tú más! What thick black files they must have on each others. And on their own people, of course.

The Spanish phrase for 'unfair competition' is competición desleal, usually alleged when some guild is being dragged out of the Middle Ages. But this week I've read of administración desleal, which seems to be a crime. And must mean more than disagreeing with your boss. Though some would say that many Spanish bosses certainly would like to see this as a crime. And probably your doctor as well. But, anyway, my research suggests desleal here means 'abusive' or 'fraudulent'.

Talking of corruption . . . The president of the Galician government has said there'll be 50 new measures under 3 new laws. I can't help wondering whether all the abuses to date weren't already criminal under one or other pre-existing law. The problem has not been a shortage of laws but the complete lack of political will - at regional and national level - to do anything about the corruption. Until such time as it began to concern the voters. Which might or might not turn out to be now. We'll find out later this year, at the elections.

As I've mentioned, one of my challenges of the last 14 years has been to answer the question: "So, what do you do here?". As I've said, I've recently taken to saying I'm training to become a dilettante. But I've hit on a good alternative - viz. I've been practising mindfulness since I came to Spain. As you may know, this is A state of active, open attention on the present. Or The intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment. And it's taken over from crude cognitive behaviour as the latest wonder response to (some) depressions. But, anyway, for me it just means doing what I enjoy doing every day. A privileged position, I admit. But 'mindfulness' sounds a lot better than 'self-indulgence'.

So, there was a challenge to Mr Blatter after all. Luis Figo threw his hat into the FIFA ring only minutes from the deadline. And garnered nil support. So, onwards and upwards for Sepp. What an organisation. Is it too much to hope that fans will stay away from Qatar? And will it make any difference if they do?

I was at first pleased to read that, in next door Marín, they'll be spending €13,000 on the control of pigeons and seagulls. And then I realised where these pests would flee to if the measures are successful. Time to resurrect my plans for a salt-gun. Or even an electric bird prod. So, far, though, I've only been able to find prods for cows, and wielding a 90cm stick in Veggie Square might just get me noticed by the imbeciles who feed the blasted birds. And who might get desleal.

Finally . . . Although Spain's efforts at sorting waste seem impressive - we have 4 different bins - less effort seems to go into reducing the quantity of waste. I bought a greetings card yesterday. It came wrapped in cellophane. But, before I could stop her, the shop assistant had further wrapped it in paper, sealed it with sellotape and put it in a small plastic bag. Everything gets wrapped like this in Spain. A box of tablets in the pharmacy, a single screw in the ironmongers and 6 eggs in a plastic box, for example. Much the same wasteful attitude is displayed towards water. Which might be forgivable in the Green Third of Spain but not south of that. This cannot go on. Where is Spain's Green Party?

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