Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ponters Pensées 11.5.16

Spanish (non)Government: Here and here are timely articles from The Spectator and The Financial Times on the current Alice-in-Wonderland situation. From the former:- What of the supposed new breed of Spanish politician represented by Albert Rivera, the leader of Ciudadanos (‘Citizens’) and Pablo Iglesias, leader of Podemos (‘We Can’)? They were meant to have ushered in a ‘new political era’ but the farcical, self-centred nature of the post-election negotiations have shown these two young men to be not so different, in some respects, from the old guard they vilify.

The Spanish Health System: Someone wrote the other day that some things works very well here and some, well, don't. On the face of it, the repeat prescription service here in Galicia is one of the former. The doctor taps into into a computer in front of you; this connects to the network of the pharmacies; and, hey ho, your stuff is available when you leave, once you've shown your health card. But things go wrong, firstly, when you leave Galicia for any other part of Spain and, secondly, when for some reason – e. g. you're doing a camino in next-door Asturias – you go past the final date for picking up your medication. The first problem arises because Spain's health service is not national but regional, as health is a 'competence' of the the country's 17 'Autonomous Communities'. So it is, as some readers might recall, I've had my card laughed at in Madrid. The second problem results in you being refused your medication in the pharmacy and being told to talk to your doctor. This is when things become very inefficient. First, you have to call or visit your health centre make an appointment with said medic and this might not be available for several days. Though, if you're lucky, he or she will call you the next day. All this instead of a simple form – as in the UK – that you can leave with the receptionist, asking for a repeat prescription. Anyway, let's see what happens today.

Institutionalised Theft: Certain Spanish banks were recently judicially ordered to repay investors who'd been misled into making duff investments. So, the banks lost and the innocent investors duly gained. Or did they? For the Spanish Tax Office will relieve them of at least 20% of the repayments. The net result, of course, that only the Spanish state benefits from this crime. I guess it makes sense to someone in the government.

Gibraltar: Click here for an amusing and accurate comment on the deliberately-created brouhaha around Spanish intrusions in British waters. Amazingly, it manages to report that both the British and the Spanish governments would like to see sovereignty to Spain, something I've been saying for a decade. The barriers are 1. The Gibraltarians; 2. Stupid right-wing Spanish governments who alienate these for short-term election purposes; and 3. The scabrous British tabloid media who love to seize on the latter and play the nationalist card against the evil Dagos. The previous left-wing administration here in Spain did some good work in lowering these barriers but the last PP government undid all this, in the (in)capable hands of Motormouth Margallo. So, the show will run and run.

Finally . . . Exciting Galician News: If you live in or near Lugo, you'll be interested to know that a foreign lady - I guess - is planning to give belly-dancing lessons. Her name is Camille Motion. I kid you not. Circular, I assume.

Some odd fotos I found on my computer very early this morning when struggling with what I suspect are withdrawal symptoms arising from the non-availability of my anti-depressive.

A statue in Barcelona
A bar in Ponters. Possibly for redheads. Or one, anyway.

Another bar. Though possibly not in Ponters.

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