Saturday, May 09, 2015

The UK election; The EU; Spain - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly; Tapas in Ponters; & Scotland.

By midday yesterday Ed  Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage had all resigned after their failures as leaders of the Labour, LibDem and UKIP parties, respectively. Try as I might, I can't see this ever happening in Spain. But I may be being too harsh here.

I may have been too hard on Ed Balls. He was extremely gracious in defeat and the BBC political analysist insisted he was a much nicer person than he's given credit for and a great deal of fun to be with. He even predicted the sort of TV career for Mr Ed that Michael Portillo enjoyed after he suffered a shock election defeat when riding high as a potential Tory prime minister. Vamos a ver.

There's said to be a lot of concern in the EU that Cameron will be able to continue to seek treaty changes, ahead of a referendum in the UK. They're right to feel worried. By the way . . . You may not be aware that Brussels - theoretically at least - punishes not just those members with an excessive budgetary deficit but also those with an excessive surplus. But it's never tackled either France or Germany on the former and is now ignoring Germany's annual achievement of the latter. You could forgive Greece for thinking it was getting differential - not their deferential - treatment because it's small and weak. Unlike, say, Luxembourg, which is small but rich and seems to get away with its constant flouting of EU financial rules. One rule for the poor . . . . .

Turning to Spain . . . In the last week alone, there've been the following stark headlines:-
  • Spain has the best tourist industry in the world
  • Spain has the worst pollution in the EU
  • Innovation in Spain is low and declining
  • Productivity in Spain is low and declining
  • Spain has the lowest ratio of nurses to patients in the EU
  • Is the UK NHS depriving Spain of its nurses?
  • Spain is the most polluted country in Europe
  • Unemployment is falling but still staggeringly high at 24%
  • Most Spaniards will be overweight by 2030
  • Spain tops world organ donation rankings

So, I thought I'd round off this list with The Local's 7 reasons why - despite the negatives - Spain is still 'the best place on earth':-
  1. It's blessed with great weather
  2. It has the highest life expectancy in Europe 
  3. It's one of the best places in the world for mothers.
  4. It's a UNESCO paradise - No. 3 in the rankings of world heritage sites
  5. It has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, particularly if you need a transplant.
  6. It's a foodie paradise, with 4 of the top ten restaurants in Europe and a marvellous tapas tradition. 
  7. They still cherish their old folk and their children

Talking of tapas . . . I was rather surprised to see the place I recommended yesterday ranked only 56 in the Trip Advisor list of the best places in town. So I checked out the top 10. I knew only 5 of these and had eaten in only 3 of them. I checked out the No. 1 place yesterday and found it to be nightclub. My guess is the ratings are heavily biased by (ignorant) tourists, not knowledgable locals. Which is all self-perpetuating, of course, as new tourists read reviews only of previous tourists and never get to go where we go. Which must be a universal phenomenon, of course. And then there's all the phoney reviews . . . 

By the way - If you do get to Meigas Fóra, mention my name to one of the waiters. And they'll be sure to add something to your bill.

Finally . . . Interesting to hear that, now the Scottish Nationalist Party controls everything in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon says they're going to abolish the country's lousy weather.

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