Spanish(non)Government: The leader of the PSOE has 'guaranteed' there'll be a government after the looming repeat elections. This can only mean he's prepared to do a coalition deal with either the right-wing PP party or the (far)left IU-Podemos team. My take is that this will increase the support of the former and lose his party votes and seats. But vamos a ver. A triumphant Rajoy???
The Unemployed: Spain is the country with the highest quality of inactive population in Europe - people of working age, but not looking for a job. There are 38 million people of working age, 20 million of whom are jobless or inactive. Worrying. And a huge counter-weight to the stories of impressive GDP growth.
Refugees: With good cause – e. g. organ donations – the Spanish see themselves as a generous, sympathetic people. So how come its government has done bugger-all to fulfill its moral and legal obligations to take some of these in? Possibly because, as Amnesty International claims, its asylum system is "inefficient, obsolete and discriminatory", resulting in a "embarrassing" low number of refugees that have been taken in. Some numbers, of people taken in in 2015:- Germany 140,000; France 26,000; Bulgaria 5,605; Spain 1,030 - despite a pledge to take in 17,000. Hmm.
Modelo 720: This is the tax form for those affected by the appalling - and probably illegal – law of 2012 which demands details of overseas assets of more than €50,000. As predicted, this has not gone down well with those foreigners either living in Spain or contemplating retiring here. Numbers of the former fleeing are well up, and numbers of those arriving are well down. It's hard to believe this is what Madrid wanted. A case of not thinking about the day after tomorrow? On the other hand, the government must be very happy with the unknown assets declared by its citizens and the money collected from the humungous fines whose legality is belatedly being considered by the EU.
Said EU and a Brexit:
- Says one prominent Outer: We are in the absurd situation of having the "remains" warn about the consequences of scenarios they know will never happen, based on ill-founded and vague ideas promoted by the "leavers" that can't ever happen – both sides dancing around fictions of each other's creation. That means that the real "consensus" is an agreement to be unreal. We debate about non-events, things that will never happen and spend no time at all considering what might actually happen, and how to deal with it. No wonder so many feel the campaign is unreal – that is precisely what it is.
- There is no safety inside the arrogant, imperial, and dangerously unstable EU, says the writer of this column, which begins: The starting point for any sensible discussion is to acknowledge that the EU is facing an ongoing economic and social crisis, and is desperate to deepen its integration further. And later adds: The EU was always intended by its founders to be a process – a mechanism by which formerly independent European countries gradually bind themselves together into an ever-closer union. Crises were seen as useful flashpoints that would trigger a further push to integration, and its central institutions were deliberately designed to seek and accrue power. And: Comfortable, middle-class voters who are considering sticking with the devil they believe they know need to think again. Voting to remain is a far greater leap into the unknown than voting to leave. It’s self-evidently normal to be independent and prosperous. But there are no known examples of a previously independent democracy being subsumed into a dysfunctional, economically troubled technocracy and doing well as a result. As mad gambles go, it is hard to think of anything worse. Amen to that, say I.
FHC: A couple of the costumes I mentioned yesterday. The girl's (bridal) outfit can be rented for a mere €98 and bought outright for €268
One of the ridiculous sailor/admiral outfits for boys, or wrongly gendered girls:
Finally . . . I went last night to an exhibition of the works of the Calician left-wing writer and artist, Castelao. I couldn't decide which best showed his style. So, here are all the fotos I took. I'm no art critic but I love his economic, cartoonish style:-
These first 2 are of the man himself:
Castelao had a bit of an obsession with blind folk, as in these 4 pictures:
He wasn't too fond of the idle rich:
The village idiot:
A bit hard to see but this shows a religious procession in Santiago. There are several fat, rich people in it. But no one is as fat as any of the priests.
Rich and poor: