Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ponters Pensées: 25.8.16

The Spanish (non)Government: Acting-President Rajoy's latest tactic in the challenge to retain his job is to threaten that, if he isn't invested early next month, the 3rd round of elections will be held on Christmas Day. After the vast meal of the night before. Is there anything he won't stop at?

Tourism: Spain has benefitted enormously from terrorism elsewhere. Numbers this year are way up and the hoteliers, etc. are happy for once. Galicia has done better than average and the south of the region - the Rías Baixas - is the star performer here, with an increase of 15% over last year. Nationally, the percentage of GDP represented by tourism is now 11-12%. Great but a tad worrying, given the volatility of things.

Tourism Competition: Despite this bumper year,  Spain's hoteliers persist in their campaign to have all competition wiped from the face of the country. As ever, the government is sympathetic to business, for reasons we must guess at. Hence the raft of laws in respect of AirBnB and of private rentals. This is the Spanish way - death by the thousand cuts of 'regularisation' - registrations, licences, inspections, certificates of this that and the other, and - of course - new taxes. And no evidence at all of thinking of either tomorrow or of consumers.

A Possible Galician Agenda: I've just received this from my friend, David. Happy to say I've done 17 of the 20. Interestingly, the favoured months for foreign tourists here are July and September. October even, if the weather holds as well as it did last year. But Spanish tourists prefer August. As do the traffic police and Guardia Civil revenue collectors.

Galician Nosh: One of our famous dishes is Padrón peppers. There's a laudatory bit on them here. This quotes the local refrain: Os pementos de Padron, uns pican e outros non. Or 'Padron peppers: some are hot, some are not'.  The Gallego doggerel would read better if they'd bothered to put the accent on Padrón. They also suggest we all fall about laughing when someone gets the hot one. Well, firstly, there's always more than one hot one. Secondly, because of a very hot and dry July and August, the ratio of these this year is so high, you'd be lucky not get a hot one. Hilarious.

The EU: A looming Frexit?: See here for the comments of Ambrose E-P. Or P-E. I can never remember.

That British Airways Gesture: Yesterday, I joked that the luggage of the Olympics heroes had gone on to Manila. Reader Sierra has kindly advised that the reality really was funny . . .

Finally . . . A true professional: My young visitor, Jack, leaves early tomorrow morning - just as his friend, my younger daughter, arrives. In fact, they won't even meet to say Hello, despite both passing (inevitably) through Oporto airport. But, anyway . . . As I was putting his washing in the machine this morning, it occurred to me that this was his last day. Que cara! Incidentally, Jack is head of a Religious Education department in a school in the UK. He was telling me early this morning about the GCSE results of his pupils. I suggested that, if God really existed, he'd surely engineer it so that everyone got an A*. From the non-very-religious language used in Jack's response - I suspect he wasn't impressed with this line. God knows what God thinks of my thought.

GALLERY

Another cartoon on the hapless leader of the British Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn. Or at least of the far-left subset of it. Which is rather more like a sect, in fact.

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