Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Greece and the EU; Queen Sofía; A corrupt President?; Death notices, here and there; Cervantes bones?; & In house crooks.

Somebody pointed out yesterday that a major objective of the creation of the EU was the prevention of the rise to power of extreme governments. Developments in Greece are a bit of an irony, then.

EU rules: Greece is seeking to bend these but you have to big for this to be allowed. Say, Germany or France and the the 3% deficit limit. France has recently asked to be given more time to comply with this particular rule, not for the first time. And, of course, this'll be given. It always has been. Might is right, as Hegel is reputed to have said in his bath. Or was that Archimedes? Or Marat?

Click here if you want to see details of the Greek imbroglio, from Our Ambrose.

I commented to a Spanish friend yesterday it was odd the Greeks hated the EU - or at least the Troika - but still wanted to stay in the EU. "But, of course", she said. "They want the money to keep flowing in the other direction. Just like us Spaniards." Ah, yes, I thought. That old 'solidarity'. You pay for us but we owe you nothing.

The Times columnist Matthew Parris tells us that Queen Sofía of Spain, fed up with the king's pretty open and humiliating philandering, took to living in London - in Claridges - for most of the final decade of her husband’s reign. And that, for one reason and another, the British press totally ignored this. Not much was made of it here either. And even less was made of the fact that the king's girlfriend lived in a house on the royal estate in Madrid. Parris adds that Sofía - Greek by birth - could regularly be seen shopping in the King’s Road, often with her children, to whom she spoke English, preferring it to Spanish. Perhaps her husband - with whom by now she was scarcely on speaking terms - had put her off Castellano. Understandably.

The Bárcenas corruption case: It's one word against another. The guy who may be about to be lengthily jailed for illegal party funding insists both the PP party and the President, Sr Rajoy, knew all about it from the start and that the latter certainly did receive the illegal top-up payments detailed in the documents held by the Public Prosecutor. Mr Rajoy says he didn't. And that proof lies in the fact that neither he nor any other member of the PP party has been arrested. Quite a quandary, then. Who to believe?

In the UK, when someone dies, it's the custom to put a small announcement in the Births, Marriages and Deaths section of the local paper. Known vulgarly as the Hatch, Match and Despatch columns. Here in Spain, on the other hand, you get (I guess if you're important enough) a black-rimmed esquela (obituary) in the local, regional or national paper(s). The paper I looked at yesterday had 4 pages of these at 10 a page. But I guess you can get them even bigger. Is this practice - which smells of nobility or aristocracy - dying out, I wonder. No pun intended. Possibly not, if reports are true that the gap between rich in poor in Spain is now the widest in Europe.

Roll over Richard III (3), who never wrote a thing. Archeologists think they've found the coffin and remains of Cervantes. He of Don Quixote fame. This won't be at all bad for tourism, of course - currently coming to the rescue of the Spanish economy.

Finally . . . The guy who bought my UK house from me has been jailed in the US for trying to defraud a major computer company. Which is doubly odd as a previous owner of the house had also been jailed - albeit in the UK - for defrauding investors. Something in the water, perhaps. 


Anthea said...

How interesting that Queen Sofia might prefer speaking English. In the early years of her marriage to Juan Carlos I understand that she was frequently criticised for just that. it was often said that she couldn't speak Spanish properly.

paideleo said...

As esquelas pódeas ter calquera que ten un seguro de vida. O seguro inclúe os gastos do enterro ou cremación e a esquela no periódico. Se queres a esquela máis grande entón hai que pagar máis.
Muitas veces é o único momento da vida dun pobre que pode sair no periódico. Unha fama un pouco tenebrosa, nonsi ?.

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