Sunday, August 02, 2015

Spain's economy; Spain's political structure; Changing Spain; & A lovely day in a lovely spot.

As he's entitled to do, President Rajoy is doing his utmost to convince the electorate that this year's GDP growth of more than 3% is indicative of an about-to-boom economy. He may be right but, down at street level, it doesn't feel like it. The swarms of beggars in Pontevedra are bigger than ever and, once you get out of the very centre of the city, the retail scene is a veritable wasteland. Whether Sr Rajoy can generate any sort of a feel-good factor before regional and national elections at the end of the years is debatable. Let's hope not, as the party still does a good impression of being run by Opus Dei, a far-right Catholic organisation that should have been ostracised at the end of the Franco dictatorship.

There's not a sliver of a doubt that Spain's multi-layered political structure needs to be overhauled, as the 1978 model is no longer fit for purpose. Likewise, perhaps, its voting system. One party not only thinks this but has a plan to effect change. This is said PP governing party, which favours something akin to gerrymandering. This is possibly because the reform it intends to implement will bring it an extra 200 town halls. Naturally, not one of the other parties is persuaded that this would be a good thing. But this government is fond of ignoring all opposing views. On abortion, for example. So we can expect the new law to be brought in before the general and municipal elections at the end of the year. Here's Antonio Rovira on the subject, in Spanish.

At a local level, there are examples all over Spain of new left-wing councils taking measures that challenge Spain's traditional ideas of fun. And since there's nothing Spaniards are more serious about than having fun, this is potentially dangerous for their tenure of office. One example is the leader of the council of Villafranca de los Caballeros down in Toledo. He thinks bullfighting is cruel and has decided to spend the budget for this on materials for local schoolkids instead. Contrary to international perception, most Spaniards will support him.

Finally . . . I attended a wonderful family BBQ yesterday, at the invitation of my friend, Fran. Well, not exactly your standard BBQ; really the roasting of 2 lambs over a charcoal fire. Stupendous. And all only 100 metres from a magnificent little cove, where Fran's family have houses on land bought for a song by his far-seeing father 50 years ago. I won't tell you where it is, as you might want to go there, but here's a couple of fotos. Locals will probably recognise the peninsula on the horizon, but not the particular cove. So many are there along the Ría X.

Sadly, I forget to get Fran out of this foto before I took it.

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