Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Post code lotteries; Frogs; Cuisines; Words & phrases; Headlines; & The Hacienda on the rampage.

In the UK, a biting criticism is that healthcare or education, say, have become a 'postcode lottery'. Meaning it's better or worse wherever you live. Possibly this concern is connected with the famous British affection for fair play. Here in Spain there couldn't be more of such a postcode lottery in respect of healthcare and education. As regards health, the range is from €1180 per capita a year (poor Andalucia) to €1714 (not very rich Asturias). Whether the reason is simply size of the population I don't know. In Education, the range is €1224 (País Vasco) to €791 (Madrid). No one seems to be surprised or dismayed by this.

France's President Chirac, who was clearly pig-ignorant of agricultural history, once said that Britain's only contribution to farming was mad cow disease. Funny but very untrue, of course. Needless to say, he was defending the EU's ruinously expensive Common Agricultural Policy. Which just happens to benefit France most of all. Showing additional ignorance of developments over the last generation, Chirac was also very rude about British cooking. The Spanish, I should say, also still believe there's no such thing as British cuisine. But that's mostly because they believe Spanish cuisine is the only one worth talking about. Which probably annoys the French. And several Asian countries.

Another of today's 'in' phrases in English is 'to drill down'. Especially on serious programs.

If you speak Spanish, did you know that Calcetar means 'to gab, rabbit'. As well as 'to knit'.

Couple more headlines:
  • Spain rejected on Monday an EU quota system to share the migrant burden among member states
  • Rampaging bull injures eleven at fiesta
Finally . . . Spain's Tax Office (the Hacienda) wants to know how much Spanish and foreign residents have offshore. The don't want to tax these assets, they say, but want to be aware of the amounts. This law came in in 2012 and appears to be retrospective, in that some monies will be considered as income before the relevant 'amnesty' year. So no surprise there. That's what tax authorities do. Take the low hanging fruit and forget about the big boys and girls. Anyway, based on submissions in 2013 and 2014, the Hacienda says they now know about €20 billion in Switzerland, €4billion in Andorra and only €260 million in Gibraltar. Some people may need to know about this, as the fines for not declaring what you can legally own and which is not taxable cuiare vicious.

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