Friday, January 23, 2015

The EU & QE; Spanish hours; Moving to Spain; Bureaucracy; & Irreligious cartoons.

A momentous day for the EU; the technocrats, bankers and bureaucrats who run 'the project' and who've been experimenting with a single currency for more than a decade finally got round to hosing money at the southern European states that have been mired in recession/depression for 5 years or more. Of course, none of these people will ever be held responsible for the increased misery caused by their delay of at least 3 years. And now the question is whether Europe's effective rulers - Germany - will accept this defeat lying down. As Our Ambrose has noted: This Latin revolt violates the sacred contract of EMU: that Germany gave up the D-Mark and bequeathed the Bundesbank's legacy to the ECB on the one condition that Germany would never be out-voted on monetary issues of critical importance. And the germans are not the only angry party; Holland, too, is making nasty noises. So, will they stay in the club? Our Ambrose - who supports the ECB measure, feels Mr Draghi may have saved Italy from a debt-deflation trap in the nick of time. He may have gained another year or two for Southern Europe to recover before radical populist parties sweep the stale elites from the political scene. But in doing so he risks losing Germany. Vamos a ver. Will the Germans take it lying down? Probably.

I've taken to wearing my first plastic wrist-band - a yellow one. Or I will when I find one. But this is not just because the lovely Queen Letitia does so; it's because the band is a plea for sensible working hours in Spain. This may take another 20 years or more but it has to come. You can't really know how ridiculous Spain's horario is until you live and, more so, work here. So, I commend to you the efforts of the Association for the Rationalisation of the Spanish Timetable, the good folk responsible for the yellow wrist-bands. Being far too individualistic and proud - not to say bloody argumentative - the Spanish don't go in much for associations but this is clearly one which merits existence and success. Which might be more assured, if you could find out how to buy one of their bands.

Talking of living in Spain . . . Here's the latest useful list from The Local - Moving to Spain; a Guide for Beginners.

And here's one piece of advice from me for all visitors and newcomers:- Spanish pastries will always entice and will always disappoint. Especially if you've lived in France. I'm still trying to find a meringue that isn't all goo in the middle.

One obstacle not really mentioned in The Local's list for tyros is Spain's infamous bureaucracy. Or Los funcionarios. An outfit called Legally Yours says of them, quite accurately: Like most civil services, Spain’s bureaucracy wants to bring order to the world and everything in it. But while in other places they seek to do this simply with laws and regulations, Spain adds a wild card to the mix: it gives public servants discretionary powers whenever possible. More here.

Finally . . . There are other anti-religious cartoons which are milder, more even-handed and a damn sight funnier than those of Charlie Hebdo. One such is Jesus and Mo, which even Christians have been known to enjoy. Nine years ago it mentioned Charlie Hebdo and you can see the cartoon here. If you don't want to be offended, don't look.

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