Sunday, July 12, 2015

Safe driving; Greece; Technocrats; The EU; Dream flying; & La Perla.

I've cited the freedom of Spain's traffic police to generate revenue under wide-scope laws re safe driving. Now it's emerged that, though it's not per se illegal, they can decide that, if you're wearing flip-flops, you're not 'adequately controlling the car' and then fine you €200. But don't worry: you then have the chance to appeal and prove your driving was safe. As if. Presumably the same applies to 6 inch heels. And stilts.

Watching the news reports on the Greece shenanigans - and ruminating on events of the last year or more - it struck me that it used to take a handful of Greek ministers to decide on the country's economic and fiscal policy. Now it seems to take half the world's politicians and technocrats. For a country that amounts to less than 2% of the EU's GDP.

Incidentally, using Google's ngram app, I see the word 'technocrat' didn't exist before 1930 and came into its own in the 60s, exploding between then and 1990. It's no coincidence, I guess, that this mirrors the growth of the EEC/EU. There must be many thousands of the beasts now, all terrified of losing their unconstrained power, their vast salaries and their huge pensions.

Finally on Greece . . . The French Economy Minister has warned: "If we don't solve this problem, the EU won't exist in 10 years' time". I've got news for you, mate. Even if you do kick the problem down the road, the EU probably won't be around in 10 years' time anyway.

On this theme, here's today's overview from a long-standing critic of the EU project: So, wherever we look, we see Europe enmiring itself in a maze of unresolvable crises, each of which seems to be reaching an impasse. In the face of all these competing national interests, the EU looks dingier and more powerless by the day. Everywhere the fantasy that 'national interest' could somehow be eliminated by a crackpot supra-national form of government is crashing into reality. More here.

I heard today that everyone dreams of flying. Do they? I know I do. When I was younger, I dreamt I could hover about 60cm(2ft) above the ground and then move off in any direction I wanted. These days I dream of being able to either avoid a difficult situation or impress people by rising up to the ceiling and circling the room from there. No idea what it all means. I think I heard years ago that it suggested you felt superior to everyone else. But this clearly isn't true.

Finally . . . On top of the closures I mentioned yesterday, there's another one I can cite, though it's not a place I would ever patronise. Driving back from Santiago yesterday, I saw For Sale signs on the windows of the famous brothel, La Perla, on the edge of the village called Esclavitud. Or 'Slavery'. 'Famous' because it was mentioned in Giles Tremlett's book - "The Ghosts of Spain". He, too, noticed it while driving through Esclavitud. But, then, you can hardly miss something bright pink, with a flashing neon sign on the roof saying 'Brothel'.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

For your edification, last time I looked (a couple of years ago) these were the numbers for 'technocrats':

Worldwide there are 55,000 civil servants working for the EU.
33,000 of these work for the European Commission
22,000 of those 33,000 work in Brussels
Of these 22,000 the Euro-parliament employs 6,160.

It is my guess that today there will not be fewer of these…


Colin Davies said...

But, presumably, not all of these are real technocrats.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Indeed. They are unreal Technocrats. As in Alice in Wonderland…

What, pray tell, is a 'Real' technocrat? And in what does he or she differ from a common civil servant?

Proposal: would you agree that a Technocrat is an educated, skillful, expert civil servant occupying a post which really ought to go to an elected public servant, taking decisions which ought to be under the scrutiny of the electorate? In that case some 90 % of the above, in my humble view, deserve the title.


Sierra said...

Colin Davies said...

Technocrat: "a scientist or technical expert who has a lot of power in politics or industry". Not a clerk, a secretary, a translator, a researcher, a hostess, a guide, a driver, a cleaner, etc., etc. With a power to influence policies that affect us/we small people.

Stories said...

I used to dream that I could fly just a bit off the ground too! I remember having to put a lot of effort into it, and could go for short distances. I never flew really high above houses and people. Do you know what this could mean?

Colin Davies said...

Well, here's one theory:

And here's another.