The doubts about the leadership qualities of the Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, have naturally been increased by the very poor showing of the PP party in the Andalucian elections. Faced with the nutcracker of declining popularity, on the one hand, and the rise of Podemos and Cuidadanos, on the other, the party's doyens must surely be looking at alternative leaders for the elections later this year. But who? Could this really be the hour of Spain's 'Iron Lady', Esperanza Aguirre, currently positioned as the next mayor of Madrid? I guess we'll soon know, as they surely won't wait until the last moment. There's actually a cavalcade of regional and local elections between now and the general elections, so maybe they'll wait on one or two more before plumping for regicide. Dressed up as sword-falling.
As for the socialist PSOE opposition . . . They gained the same number of seats in the Andalucian elections as the previous time, showing that "the corruption scandals barely dissuaded voters away from the PSOE." Is it, then, any wonder that politicians think they can get away with it? Especially as Andalucia is the most corrupt region in Spain. And the (unpunished) PSOE have been in power there for more than 30 years. What does that tell you?
To no one's surprise and after a lengthy investigation, the inquiring judge has announced that said PP party ran an illegal slush fund for 18 years, financed by payments from companies in search of lucrative contracts. Needless to say, this flourished during the years of Spain's phoney construction bum. The ex-treasurer - and personal friend of President Rajoy - will now be tried for tax fraud and embezzlement. Predictably, he suffered from 'sticky palms' during his years at the helm and amassed a Swiss-bank fortune which he found hard to explain. Sr Rajoy has denied he too got a brown envelope every month and says his only mistake was to trust his friend. No one believes him, of course. Except maybe his wife. Last October Rajoy finally showed an iota of contrition, saying "I understand that Spaniards are fed up and outraged. This behaviour is especially hurtful when they have had to endure so many sacrifices to get our country out of the economic crisis." I'll say. Is that the sound of chickens coming home to roost that I can hear?
Happily, "Health & Safety" is not the curse in Spain it is in the UK, and probably the USA too. But now and again one reads something like "Spain is the 3rd highest EU country for dangerous products" and one wonders whether things shouldn't be a bit stricter. That said, the statistic mostly relates to reports on harmful products that try to enter the country but are stopped by the customs authorities. So, more of a good thing than a bad thing. Except that it means Spanish companies are trying to import them in the first place. But not quite as much as German and Hungarian companies are.
Notwithstanding my positive comments about the risk v. safety balance in the last paragraph, there are, of course, the cyclists of all ages who treat the pavements as velodromes and the kids who career down slopes in brakeless vehicles with total disregard for people who might be coming around the corner. And Pontevedra has a lot of slopes. And uncontrolled kids
The Sunday Times - overwhelmed by its "picturesque old town, fancy shops and the slow-paced charm" - has decided that the best place in the world in which to live is Palma de Mallorca. They obviously didn't visit Pontevedra, which has all of these, plus octopus. My impression is that the paper's survey of 50 places around the world was done in conjunction with estate agents. Quel surprise.
Actually, I don't like octopus. So I'll go with Palma de Mallorca.
Finally . . . I have the word DRIERS in my notebook and have been trying for 3 days to figure out what it relates to. Please write in if you have any ideas. Unless you're Alfie Mittington.