Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Spain's politics, old and new; Birth bureaucracy; Eviction laws; Britain and the EU; & Perilous trains.

Spanish politics: Another nice quote from Raymond Carr, talking about the civil war: As so often in history, the Spanish right had entered an era of paranoid politics, embracing a Manichean vision of absolute evil and absolute good. Some vast international conspiracy was threatening the essential values of society. Spain was threatened by Marxists and Masons - the old bogey of the right - supported by international Communism. When absolute evil confronts absolute good, no compromise is possible; things must be fought out to a finish. Things are not so polar in modern Spain, of course, but one can see elements of these attitudes in the PP's approach towards Catalan autonomy/independence, towards the new political parties of the left, towards citizen protests and even towards Gibraltar. [Footnote to this: The Governor of Gib has just resigned because of the failure of the UK government to stand up to the PP sabre-rattling of the last 4 years.]

As for Spain's rather more ecent political developments. See here for the view of the Financial Times on these.

Hooray! One small element of Spain's infamous bureaucracy is about to disappear. New parents will be able to register births in the hospital, rather than having to queue for possibly many hours at the local Registrar's office. Every little helps, as they say. 

In the event of mortgage default, Spain's laws come at you from the 19th century. For they are very decidedly on the side of the banks, who can turf you out at will and fail to give you any credit for the value of the property possessed. Or, rather, this was the case until a court decided otherwise. But this was only one of Spain's numerous regional supreme courts and the national Constitutional Court has now struck down the judgment which blocked banks from repossessing homes from the poorest families for up to 3 years. This, it said, was as an attack on private property rights. And this was all that mattered, apparently. 

The EU: There seems to be a widespread and deep concern in Spain and the rest of Europe that Britain really will leave the EU. This is abject nonsense, of course. The entire British establishment, including the BBC, is in favour of staying in and c. 60% of the UK population toes this line. One europsceptic says there are 6 reasons a Brexit will never happen:-

  1. Mr Cameron will not be allowed any reform of the EU.
  2. All he will be allowed are a few cosmetic concessions which won't alter Britain's subordinate relationship to the EU in any way.
  3. When it comes to the referendum on which Mr Cameron plans to will lead the campaign to stay in, all that will be heard from the Yes camp will be claims that, if Britain left the EU, it would be disastrously shut out from trading with its single market.
  4. The argument the Yes camp will do everything to prevent being heard is that, by remaining as one of the 32 members of the European Economic Area, Britain could continue to trade with the single market just as it does now.
  5. Many Eurosceptics don't actually want Britain to leave; they only want the reform of the EU they're not going to get.
  6. So successful will all this propaganda be that the British people will vote by a large margin to stay in, even if Mr Cameron has achieved nothing.
Finally . . . Catching a train to Vigo last week, I found the main doors to the platform were locked, with a sign directing me 30 metres to the left. Why? Because now that we have the AVE tracks - though not yet the AVE trains - we have to pass our bags through an X-ray machine. Has it suddenly become more dangerous to travel (a bit faster) between Pontevedra and Vigo? I guess so. But I can't figure out the logic. I'm just impressed at the symmetry of a parallel machine in Vigo. Which really is logical.

Finally, finally . . . If you have some spare cash.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

The Financial Times article seems to be behind a pay wall and the Spare Cash link leads to Error 404. You may want to redo the links to the present post.

(Oh, and by the by: WHO ever says 'every little helps'? First time I ever saw that written, and never ever heard it said).


Anthea said...

Someone needs to explain to the great British public that the consequences of leaving the EU might not be good. otherwise i fear that a lot of poorly informed people will vote us out!

Perry said...

No spare cash left. We've just purchased a 1970 Freeman 22 Mk 2 cabin cruiser to while away the hours on the River Thames.

A man's gotta do etc........

Colin Davies said...

Go for it, Perry!

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