Thursday, April 07, 2016

Ponters Pensées 7.4.16

The Spanish Clock: A couple of years ago, it was mooted by the government that the country would return to the (UK & Portugal) time zone Franco took it out of in 1942, out of sympathy with Hitler's Germany. But nothing happened. However, it's now back on the agenda of the PP party, which is the caretaker government until the current mess is sorted out. Everyone will stop work at 6pm, says President Rajoy - meaning the end of the long lunch-break between 1.30 and 4.30. This is always called 'the siesta' in British media, but the truth is that only a minority of Spaniards (plus me) take a nap at this time. But, anyway, I suppose the latest barrage of words on the subject amounts to progress.

Spanish Festivals: Spain has a unenviable reputation for involving a wide range of animals in these, usually causing distress and pain to those participants with four legs. Yesterday came news of a (small) fine imposed on a town council for allowing kids to chase and try to capture greased-up squealing pigs. Naturally, the winner got to take the pig home. Albeit not as a pet. No one believes this will stop the same thing happening next year.

Spanish Wine: This had improved tremendously over the last couple of decades and Spain is now the largest wine producer in Europe. Naturally, this improvement in both quantity and quality has upset the touchy French, some of whom have started to dump unsellable wine in Spain. Let's hope the Spaniards give their northern neighbours some of their own aggressive medicine. More here.

The EU 1: No one with a brain would quarrel with the British government's claim that the UK would be better off in a reformed EU. But notice how the word 'reformed' has been slipped into this sentence. And never defined. So, has the EU shown a capacity to reform itself? If not, will it ever? Can it? Someone who does think the EU is a disaster which can be brought back from the brink of collapse is the ex Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis. He's formed a group which aims to persuade the unaccountable technocrats and politicos who drive the openly political project to row backwards. And possibly put themselves out of a job. Obviously an optimist, he stars in this article and in this fascinating podcast, which produced these gems:
  • The eurozone is probably the most idiotic idea ever devised in the history of finance, and
  • At one point, the Greeks hated the Germans, the Germans hated the Greeks and everyone hated the French.
Personally, I think Varoufakis has got his description(the What) right but his prescription(the How) wrong. The EU will never reform itself; it's not in the nature of the beast. It should be allowed to collapse under the weight of what I've long called its internal incongruities and then rebuilt - with a much bigger nod towards reality - as a smaller, more democratic institution. Rather than the world's biggest ever committee, paying only lip service to democracy and national differences.

The EU 2: Yesterday, the Dutch – albeit not in great numbers – displayed their disaffection for the EU by roundly rejecting an 'association' deal with Ukraine. One more signal to be ignored by said technocrats and politicos in Brussels?

The USA: What wonderfully diverse nation this is. And like a bar of Cadbury's chocolate – now American – full of nuts and fruit(cakes). See here and here.

Finally . . . Modern Galician music: Here you go. And here too.

The foto: Private Eye's comment on that unfathomable deal with Turkey over refugees:

P. S. I'm (slowly) writing my autobiography. This is for my daughters, so it will be a bowdlerised version of my life. However, I might just do full version, if enough people want to read it. Of course, my daughters will never succumb to the temptation to read the latter. Frankly, judging from the lack of interest in the bits I've sent them to date, I doubt they'll read even the basic version. Perhaps understandably so, as this will be the less interesting of the two. 

1 comment:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Ever since the transition and the entry of Spain in the EU they've been trying to abolish the Siesta.

I also once knew a fellow who was training his parrot to stop eating…

Meanwhile, down south, the siesta break is an absolute must. Try walking the streets of Granada at 4 p.m. of a July afternoon…