Saturday, January 30, 2016

More notes from Madrid

The Spanish king's sister, Princess Cristina, has failed in her final bid to get the courts to stay her prosecution for alleged financial irregularities. Of course, she'll never serve any sentence she gets but the trial will be hugely interesting nonetheless. Reader Perry has described her plight as being up smelly creek in a barbed wire canoe with no implement for propulsion. Which I can't improve on.

Relatedly . . . There are an astonishing 17,621 people in Spain who have some sort of impunity from prosecution under the laws which apply to the rest of us. These are the aforados and El País here describes – in English – a state of affairs which is well past its sell-by-date. And would be even in a country of much higher ethics than Spain.

Talking of money badly spent . . . Here's a list – in ascending order of funds wasted – of Spain's dubious, even worthless, white elephants of the bum years:-
  • The Centre for the Creation of the Arts in Alcorcón. €90 million so far. Unfinished and work has stopped.
  • The Setas de la Encarnación park in Sevilla. €102m.
  • The tram system in Parla, Madrid. €255m. €134m cost with the rest in interest payments.
  • Castellón airport. €170m. Unused.
  • The Caja Mágica (multiuse tennis stadium) in Madrid. €300m.
  • The City of Culture, Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Over €300m. Finished as a smaller project. Already in disrepair.
  • The Palacio de Congresos,Oviedo. Over €360m.
  • Terra Mítica, Benidorm. €400m. Sold for a mere €65m.
  • Reform of the Palacio de Cibeles, the new town hall of Madrid. €500m.
  • Ciudad Real airport. €1,000m (€1 billion!). For sale. You might be able to get it for a hundred quid.
  • The City of the Arts and Sciences, Valencia. €1,102m(ditto). This city, of course, takes the national prize for civic corruption. To date, at least.
I touched on the touchy subject of transgenderism the other day. This relatively new development is already old hat. Now we have transpeciesism. A Norwegian woman insists she's a cat in a human body and has adopted feline mannerisms to prove it. Happily, she can still talk like a human and you can read her/its words here. Anyone got any idea where this madness will end?

According to the not-always-reliable National Institute for Statistics, the number of foreigners here is reducing. If so, can it have anything to do with the outrageous Model 720 provision, which fines you more than your overseas assets are worth if you fail – however innocently – to declare them under a 2012 law that was never publicised to said foreigners? Could well do.

It's always a good thing to look skywards in a city, especially on a Sunday when traffic is light. Here's a few of Madrid's many fine buildings near my hotel:-

And here's the splendiferous Catedral cafe, where I've had my breakfast for the last 2 days:-

It rather reminds me of the Philharmonic pub in Liverpool

Finally . . . Here's my elder daughter holding perhaps the world's smallest tea-pot. She has tiny hands, by the way:-


Sierra said...

One of your "bêtes noires" solved, maybe. Will it catch on with the locals?

TORO THE GAME, is the first bullfighting arcade videogame. You will be able to face the bravest bulls ever digitalized

Sierra said...

Your list of "white elephants" missed the biggest one of all:

Zapatero's desalination plants:

"But after José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s Socialist party won the elections in 2004, it cancelled a plan backed by its PP predecessor to channel water from the Ebro river in the north to help the dry south-east. Instead, the Socialists chose to invest €2bn in a string of big desalination plants along the coast"

Didn't help that they forgot that desalination plants require huge amounts of electricity, which was in short supply at the time. Few, if any, of the plants are working currently (sic)