Thursday, February 12, 2015

Trouble & Strife; Podemos problem; Pot & Kettle; Religious funds; Siestas; Mystery Spain; Rotondas; & Weather.

When you get sacked by your party boss in the UK, the strongest reaction allowed you is a letter which is slightly critical of his/her action. Or, in exceptional circumstances, a brief defensive speech in the House of Commons. Here in Spain, you go in front of the mikes, accuse your boss of being an idiot out to destroy the party, and threaten to take the matter to the courts. And your supporters besiege the party HQ, scream insults at those inside and engage in token fisticuffs. All this happened yesterday evening, when the PSOE leader let go his number 2 for fear, they say, he will be arraigned for - what else? - corruption during the upcoming Madrid region elections. Factional warfare in the party now seems guaranteed. If not all out civil war. And it's not as if the PSOE wasn't already suffering from inroads into its constituency from the tyro left-of-centre party, Podemos. Not much chance of the PSOE returning to national power now, I wouldn't have thought. And an increased chance that Podemos will make it first time round, in the wake of its homologue in Greece. Click here for more on the party's stellar rise. Fascinating. Or terrifying, if you're President Rajoy, of the PP party.

All that said, Podemos has its own corruption cloud, circulating over the head of the party's number 3 and being gleefully reported by the media mouthpieces of the traditional parties. Not a great start but one that will probably be forgiven for now.

There's a very old joke about the definition of chutzpah, involving a letter box and a hallway, as I recall. But now we have a new one - Spain's PP party demanding that Podemos prove that its financing is legal. You have to laugh.

The Falciani list of HSBC clients evading tax via Swiss accounts has some interesting Spanish names on it. None more so than that of the San José Religious Institute in Gerona, which managed to accumulate €2.7m in one of its accounts last year, and as much as €9m ten years ago. Whether the nuns paid tax on the interest accumulated isn't yet known. Another name - and a huge one - is the recently deceased President of the Santander bank. Strangely, this subject isn't being pursued as hard here as it is in other countries. Taxes are only for little people, someone once said.

Having discovered it decades ago in Iran, I wasn't too surprised to read that scientists have proved siestas have 'multiple health benefits'. The Spanish, of course, discovered this long before me. Allegedly, though, they're giving up on it.

One gets a little tired of lists but here's a good one about the 10 things one guiri will never understand about Spain. I particularly like no. 8. Even if it doesn't square with my oft-stated view that the Spanish are the best apologisers in the world. When caught.

Regular readers will know I find the Spanish rules about roundabouts(circles) to be a (dangerous) joke, specifically the rule that you should never use the inside lane unless you're doing a U-turn. But things appear to be changing. Here's a video on new turbo-rotondas which actually force you to use the inside lane. In other words, to negotiate a roundabout as in other countries. An interesting prospect.

The weather gods have always been celestial jokers. After days of fierce cold and snow on the hills, we now await a wave of warm Saharan air bringing sand particles in its wake. Meanwhile, storms along the Asturian coast have uncovered petrified trees said to be more than 300 million years old. So it's not all bad news. 

Finally . . . Oz has been invited to join Euroviz. What on earth is the world coming to?

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