Friday, July 22, 2016

Ponters Pensées: 22.7.16

Spain's Economy: As expected, Madrid has demanded another 2 years to meet the EU's 'sacrosanct' deficit limit of 3%. Of course, no one believes it will achieve this. Least of all in Spain, where we might well have a 3rd general election in November. Meaning more lies, give-aways and phony promises.

Spain's Civil War: Somewhere this week I read and noted that: Spain’s darkest hours are very much part of a living discourse. This near-three year disaster (it would endure until April 1 1939) is not so much dusty textbook subject as angry scar – still red and sore in the places where people are prone to pick at it. Sorry, can't recall where. But the comparison was with other recent civil wars around the world where attempts ar reconciliation have taken place. Here, there's an omerta around the war and its traumas, called El Olvido. The Forgetting. Which has not been entirely successful. Here's one 5-star book on the subject.

Spain: Here's another 6 questions to test your knowledge:-

1. When did the Catholic Church begin to distance itself from Franco's repressive dictatorship?
a. 1942
b. The late 50s
c. Never

2. Was the 1971 attempt by certain Spanish Catholic clerics to get the Church to aplogise for its role in the Civil War:-
a. A success
b. A failure
c. A hoax.

3. After Franco's heir apparent was blown sky high by ETA in 1973, what was he nicknamed?:-
a. That fascist bastard
b. That hell-bound fascist bastard
c. Spain's first astronaut

4. Spain's middle class was ony 14% of the population in 1950. To what did it grow by 1975?
a. 25%
b. 30%
c. 33%

5. Women were 15% of the working population in 1950. To what had this grown by 1974?:-
a. 19%
b. 25%
c. 30%

6. Charlie Chaplin's 1937 film The Great Dictator was first shown in Spain in:-
a. 1945
b. 1967
c. 1972

The Camino: At least here in Galicia, 2016 numbers are well up on the previous record year of 2010. No wonder, as reader Sierra has pointed out, new albergues are springing up in village and towns along the 12 Ways to Santiago. Or Finisterra, if you're really serious about your pilgrimage.

Finally . . . Fashion: My friend, Phil, tells me the latest thing for men is sandals with socks. This reminds me of the old joke that the only reason British men wear sandals is to allow their socks to breathe. And . . Taking a refresco in town yesterday evening I clocked a stocky chap sporting a side-cut, a top knot, a full beard, a shoulder bag and, inter alia, baggy harem(?) trousers. He reminded me of a a tartar horseman. And might well have been happy with this comparison. Ignoring the head on a pike.


Here's a couple of pretty nondescript fotos of some parked cars. Up until this week, this was a 'secret' place down by the river - opposite the old quarter - where I and a few others regularly parked for free. Suddenly, it's been discovered and was packed to the gunnels yesterday and the day before. God knows why. But I now confidently predict:- 1. Some guy from Nigeria or Somalia will turn up to 'look after' the cars and demand payment; then 2. The council will make it an offical, fee-paying carpark. Or un parking.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Your Spanish Civil War quote comes from the article on the 8 or 10 most noteworthy commemorative sites of the conflict, which I think you referred to in your blog two days ago.


Perry said...


Spain's Economy (& many others).

To some extent we are all creatures of habit. Each morning, I read my favourites. Welsh Highland Railway, EU Referendum, Guido Fawkes, WUWT, Bishop Hill, Andrew Bolt & yours. Monday to Thursday at 11-00 am I enjoy listening to Steve Price & Andrew Bolt on

Andrew also has the Bolt Report on Sky & I listen to his podcasts.

Two days ago, he interviewed David P Goldman, who writes the Spengler column at Asia Times.

His recent book "How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is dying too)" is astonishing. I ordered it last night from the US for just over £14 with delivery, but I have the Kindle version included, so I got started. The book was written in 2011 & the reviews at Amazon have been overtaken by events, but listen to the podcast of 20th July from 8 mins-14 secs to 26 mins-45 secs hear from D P Goldman. He predicts that by mid century there will be 40 retired for every 100 workers in Iran & that spells a demographic disaster. Germany, Poland, the Baltic states, France, Italy & Spain are also headed off a cliff, because of declining births. Do listen please.



Perry said...


Rather than watch RT, take a look at Russia Insider?


And then there’s the German question.

Germany now exports 50 percent of its GDP. It used to be only 24 percent in 1990. For the past 10 years, half of German growth depended on exports. Translation: this is a giant economy that badly needs global markets to keep expanding. An ailing EU, by definition, does not fit the bill.

German exports are changing their recipient address. Only 40 percent - and going down – now goes to the EU; the real growth is in Asia. So Germany, in practice, is moving away from the eurozone. That does not entail Germany breaking up the euro; that would be interpreted as a nasty betrayal of the much-lauded “European project.”

What the trade picture unveils is the reason for Germany’s hardball with Greece: either you surrender, completely, or you leave the euro. What Germany wants is to keep a partnership with France and dominate Eastern Europe as an economic satellite, relying on Poland. So expect Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy to face a German wall of intransigence. So much for European “integration,” it works as long as Germany dictates all the rules.

Anthea said...

The chap with the top knot, full beard, etc - I think you spotted a hipster! Get out your I-Spy book of social types and tick him off.

Colin Davies said...

Anthea: Yes, I knew that. Faye lives in Malasaña, their Spanish HQ!

Colin Davies said...

Perry: Many thanks for this. I am, as you'll have guessed, fascinated by the subject of the decline of empires and cultures. From Easter Island upwards. Will certainly read and listen to what you've kinldy supplied. Thanks, again.

Colin Davies said...

Perry: could you just clarify this: "I ordered it last night from the US for just over £14 with delivery, but I have the Kindle version included, so I got started."

I went to the Spanish site, where the price for the kindle version alone is just under €19 and the sole reviewer says it's crap as there are no footnotes. Or at least they're not 'indexed'.

Amazon/kindle will only let me download from the Spanish site so I haven't gone to the US site yet.

Your US deal sounds very cheap but i'm really interested in the reviewer's comment about the kindle edition.

El Casareño Inglés said...

Hi Colin,

Very good to see you are alive and still blogging. It's been almost 8 years since I left Casares to return to the UK having never visited Galicia.

That's all about to change in September when I'll be walking the camino ingles. Some complicated logistics and itinerary mean that I'll be flying into A Coruna and then train to Ferrol to the start point. I have allowed plenty of time, about 10 days to do a 5 day walk, so I'd like to meet you in person one day if possible and buy you a drink at least.

I'll also be following up on your links about the routes across Galicia, the route is not well documented on the sites I've visited so far. At least I can read the Spanish sites!

Colin Davies said...

@El Casareño Inglés: Nice to hear from you. 10 days will be plenty of time. If you send me an email address to I'll send you all the stuff I prepared and all my fotos. It was a very enjoyable walk, unlike the earlier Primitivo. As for meeting up, just send me a message to that address as and when. Pontevedra is well worth the short train trip from Santiago. Buen camino!

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