Sunday, January 11, 2015

Oil and Scotland; Oil and Petrol; Book-reading; Shoping & shops; & Terrorism.

Alex Salmond's pitch for Scottish independence was based on an oil price assumption of more than 100 dollars a barrel. Since then, of course, it's plummeted to less than 60. Here's Mr Salmond's response to the claim this would have led to serious economic problems for a go-it-alone Scotland:- " . . . . . . . ."

As the price of oil has fallen, so have petrol(gas) prices around Spain. The average price this week has been below a euro a litre, with some places around the country enjoying prices around 90c a litre. But, as ever, not here in Galicia, where the average price is still €1.14. The smell of cartel is rank but no one seems to have the political will to do anything about it. Though the President of the Xunta has said he wants to talk to the petrol companies, who must be quaking in their proverbials. Our breath remains unbated. Secret illegal party financing?

I've mentioned a time or two it's rare to see anyone reading a book or even a magazine in public in Spain. So I wasn't too surprised to read the claim yesterday that 35% of Spaniards never or 'hardly ever' read a book. In true Spanish blunt honesty, nearly half of these said this is because they're 'not interested'. To be fair, I've no idea what the percentage is for other countries.

Spanish newspapers have naturally carried cartoons about the events in Paris. One of these featured the 2 terrorists but, instead of being pictured in the balaclavas they actually wore, they were shown in Arab dress and headwear. I was reminded of the stock portrayal of capitalists as men in long-gone frock coats and stovepipe hats. The first shorthand signifies 'murderous muslim' and the second 'rapacious, rich bastard'. I guess.

Well, it's 3 weeks now since my local IT store said they'd get a replacement keyboard for my de-beered laptop. And I'm beginning to wonder whether I'm going to suffer another 'lamp-shop' experience. I'd consider cutting my losses and going elsewhere, if I hadn't paid a €50 deposit.

Talking of shops . . . There seems to have been a rash of closures in the last week or so. This confounded me until a friend reminded me yesterday that the New Year had seen the abolition of long-standing rent controls and a precipitate increase in some rents. I guess we'll learn soon enough whether this has happened nation-wide.

Finally . . . A friend of mine commented thus on the events in France. I feel it merits wider publication:- A friend, reacting to the events in France, suggested it was time we put our foot down, prompting me to comment: The problem is where to put the foot. Undercover police work is often effective, but there's no stopping all attacks by "loners". Another problem is how eagerly some governments exploit such attacks to cow their populations into accepting more curbs on their privacy and freedoms. That's another fascist dynamic. As is "guilt by association", when only a tiny handful of the world's billion Moslems supports Jihad. What I'd like to see is an explicit explanation and stalwart defense - even a celebration - of the "civilised" values and principles we claim to cherish, as a way of seizing the initiative from the obscurantist barbarians, keeping in mind that religion is only their handy pretext, while their actual motivation is resentment, frustration, marginalisation, humiliation, and hopelessness. But such an initiative is hardly likely, since it's an open secret that our "civilised" Western societies have been gutted by greed, corruption, violence, cronyism, secrecy, and hypocrisy, and that our politicians (and our key news media) are with very few exceptions the paid lackeys of the plutocracy, not servants of the people. Which is what alway happens when you drop your guard. How can we expect our values to prevail when most of us don't know what they are and the rest of us assent to seeing them mocked every day?


Barcelona's Singing Organ-Grinder said...

Hook up a 10€ USB keyboard and don't take the laptop to the pub quite as often?

Colin Davies said...

Done exactly that, mate. Which is how I can type this . . .

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