The European Central Bank (ECB): The estimable Don Quijones blows the whistle here on its latest example of what (s)he labels its Financial Darwinism. . . The ECB has secretly been buying bonds from companies, thus handing them directly its freshly printed money. The two Spanish companies involved were the energy giants Repsol and Iberdrola. The Bank of Spain, now no more than a local branch of the ECB, was among the select buyers of a €500 million bond issued by Repsol. It is also the owner of part of a €200 million bond issued by Iberdrola. . . . Among the advantages of issuing debt in a private placement is that it allows companies to raise cash quickly because there is no prospectus or the other formalities required in a normal bond offering. So, no transparency. Says DQ: It amounts to giving these large operators an artificial competitive advantage that most companies could only dream of, which will almost certainly serve to accentuate the concentration and consolidation of Europe’s markets, massively skewing Europe’s corporate debt market even more in the favor of the biggest and strongest. Hmm.
Spanish Politicians: I've yet to see evidence that any of them - except perhaps Alberto Rivera of Ciudadanos - can hold a conversation in the world's lingua franca, English. Which rather contrasts with senior/junior police officials in Thailand and the Philippines recently heard to be totally fluent.
Spanish Tourist Tat: Here's yet another mildly interesting list from The Local on this. Here in Galicia, you can always get a miniature version of the Queimada set - used for burning off the alcohol from the spiced-up local aguadiente, orujo.
Not to mention small statues, etc. of our local meigas and brujas/bruxas. Or good and bad witches. And, naturally, of St James. Plus scallop shells, staffs, T-shirts, etc. associated with the Camino de Santiago.
Driving in Spain 147: The police will be operating a special anti-speeding campaign on secondary roads next week. Since they have a permanent campaign to maximise revenue, this can only mean they will be setting up more traps/tricks to fleece motorists during what just happens to be the busiest week of the year on the roads. Naturally, this financial exercise is dressed up as concern for safety. Incidentally, I tried yesterday to drive up the long, steep hill to my house at the limit of 30kph/19mph. I could only manage this is 2nd gear, going down to 1st for the sharp corner at the very top. Needless to say, no one obeys this injunction. But I guess this makes sense to someone. As with the use of phones by drivers going round the roundabout at the bottom of the hill, if the police were really smart, they'd station a patrol in our barrio and collect a fortune every day. But they're not, it seems.
Pontevedra Beggars: These were worse than ever, of course, during our Semana Grande. And I'm more convinced than ever that somewhere there's a Beggars' Institute or the like training them for the streets. On Sunday, every one of them had the same line: "The comedor is closed. Could you give me something so that I can eat." The comedor, also known as the Pan de Pobre, is the place where the San Francisco church hands out free 3-course meals at midday every day except Sunday. And possibly Saturday. Incidentally, there was an incident between me and one of the (many) new panhandlers recently. After he insulted me for refusing to give him money, I told him to got to hell. Whereupon he retorted that, if I were younger, he'd punch me. All of which he seemed to have forgotten when he was hassling us last night. Of course, I do look like lots of other men in Pontevedra. Not.
Finally . . . Going back to language abilities: A Times columnist comments that: If it is true
that Britain’s young were predominantly Remain voters, and are now
furious at possibly “being robbed of the chance to live and work in
27 other countries”, there’s an odd irony. That fantasy of expat
life in the sun, or chilling at a cool Berlin café table, may not
involve talking to anyone local. For our rising generation is
woefully unlikely to be comfortable conversing freely in anything but
Finally, finally, I promise:-
Dexsys Midnight Runners: J'món, Eileen.