Thursday, September 01, 2016

Ponters Pensées: 1.9.16

That's it, then: It's September 1 and the summer is officially over. At least here in Spain, where dates are critical to this issue. That said, the good weather should continue for at least another month and Galicia's cities will be blessedly free of tourists from the rest of the country. Last year Lorenzo stayed with us until well into December. I fear an influx of guiris.

Spanish Government: All seems set for another failed attempt at the formation of this. President-won't-resign-to-make-this-possibe Rajoy naturally blames the opposition PSOE party for casting a shadow over democracy. I've post-pasted an article from The Economist on the subject below. And here's an article on a cartoon from the satirical magazine, El Jueves, in which Rajoy is threatening to kill Christ(mas) if he doesn't get invested by next week. The mag refers to him as President by Virtue of his Balls.

How Things are Done in Spain:-
Aug. 16:
  • I receive a note from the postman saying he couldn't deliver a registered letter from the Tax Office - sent in the month when everyone is on holiday. Doubtless with a deadline to reply by.
Aug. 29:
  • Go to the Central Post Office - the only one in Ponters, a city of 82,000 souls - to collect the letter. 
  • Am told it was sent back to the Hacienda after 7 days, not the 14 I thought it was.
  • Am also told I need to go to the office, not to write to or even call them with a request for a re-send.
Aug. 30:
  • Go to the Hacienda tax office to find it's completely empty except for me, a restless security guard and one very bored-looking clerk.
  • Am astonished, as the last time I went - admittedly on the last day for submitting tax declarations - you couldn't move in the joint.
  • Ask if it's closed.
  • Am told by the eager-to-work security guard that it isn't.
  • Go through the security hooha, amidst much friendly chat.
  • Hand the Post Office note to the clerk.
  • Am asked to prove who I am - as if I could be anyone else. Resist the temptation to say I'm an impostor who's stolen not only the note from the Post Office but also the wallet and the ID of the tax payer it was meant for.
  • Hand over my (much expired) Residence Card.
  • Watch my letter being printed off.
  • Listen to the clerk tell me out loud that it's about a fine arising from the infamously villainous Modelo 720 law of 2012 recently held to be prima facie illegal by the EU Commission. As if that matters to Madrid.
  • Go home to contemplate spending good money to get inconclusive advice from an 'expert' on whether or not I should pay this.
The fine, by the way, was for late submission of my 720 declaration. I made 3 in March last year and received the first fine just a year ago. Now, I've received the second and expect to wait another year for the third. The Hacienda (Tax Office) published very little in Spanish - and nothing in English - when the law was bulletined in September 2012. And has done little-to-nothing since then to inform those affected by it. This results in lots of heavy fines for non-compliance. Which - like sending out notices in August with a 2 week deadline for payment or appeal - might just be a coincidence. As I've stressed before  . . .  If you're resident here and have overseas assets, you need to know about this law or be prepared for the consequences. Which could well be a fine larger than the value of your

Finally . . .  Black adhesive tape: In a funny circular doing the rounds right now, there's the suggestion you only need 2 DIY items during your life:- 1. WD40, for things that don't move when they should, and 2. Duct tape, for things that move when they shouldn't. I beg to add a 3rd, said electricians' tape. I've used it for a thousand things, the latest being to mask the tiny scratches on my Kindle, through which a bright light emanates.

This shows the tape before I've reduced it to the perfect size . . . Probably scratching the screen in the process. But only the top one obscures words or part thereof.

BTW . . .  Did you know that most people refer to duct tape as 'duck tape'. Which is plain wrong.


Rajoy warns impasse casts shadow over Spain’s democracy.
Delay in forming government puts country in ‘gravest’ danger, says prime minister

Failure to end Spain’s protracted political blockade would cast a shadow over the country’s democracy, Mariano Rajoy warned on Tuesday, as the prime minister made his case to parliament for a second term in office.

“Spain needs an efficient government urgently,” Mr Rajoy said, arguing that after two inconclusive general elections there was no viable alternative to a new administration led by his conservative Popular party.

He went on to warn that Spain faced one of the “gravest” situations since its return to democracy four decades ago. “It is hard to think of anything that could cause more damage to Spanish democracy than telling citizens that their vote has been useless on two occasions and that a general election needs to be held for a third time,” Mr Rajoy said.

The veteran conservative leader was speaking ahead of this week’s parliamentary vote that will decide whether his bid to form a minority government will succeed. Despite recent progress towards a cross-party accord, Mr Rajoy still lacks the votes that are needed to form a new administration.
Spain has been without a proper government since December, raising fears that a country used to decades of political stability has entered a new era of fragmentation and drift. Spanish voters have gone to the polls twice in the past eight months but on both occasions they delivered a hung parliament with no clear governing majority.

On Sunday, Mr Rajoy struck a deal with the centrist Ciudadanos party that assures him of 32 additional votes in parliament. Even so, he can for the moment count on the backing of just 170 out of 350 lawmakers.

Mr Rajoy will formally put his candidacy to a vote in parliament on Wednesday but is expected to fall short of the absolute majority required. Spain’s veteran leader then faces a second round of voting on Friday, when a simple majority of votes will suffice.

Even that threshold, however, is expected to be beyond his reach after the centre-left Socialists made clear on Monday that they were still committed to voting against another Rajoy-led government. He needs at least some Socialist deputies to abstain.

If this week’s political drama plays out as expected, Wednesday’s vote will trigger a two-month countdown towards another dissolution of parliament — clearing the way for yet another general election.

As in recent weeks, the crucial player during that two-month period will be the Socialist party, which holds the balance of power in the legislature but has far fewer seats than Mr Rajoy’s PP. Pedro Sánchez, Socialist leader, could still try to form an alternative government himself — though to reach a majority he would have to assemble a broad and highly disparate coalition.

Many analysts expect the Socialist leader ultimately to change course, and agree to let the PP govern after another round of voting in parliament in October. Alternatively, he could force a third election, in the hope that leftwing voters will reward his refusal to endorse the PP and so expand the Socialists’ lead over Podemos. The far-left movement has emerged as a dangerous new rival on the left and has drawn millions of votes from Mr Sánchez’s party. More recently, however, there have been signs that Podemos’s support is in decline.


Perry said...


Without prejudice:

Pulled pork. Aaron Franklin started his BBQ business in 2007 & is one of the leading proponents of low temperature smoking. We have his book & the link below gives you the opportunity to see the complete process.

My sons & I then contemplated constructing a brick built smoker as part of our summer kitchen, but later saw some videos about converting a 4 drawer cabinet into a smoker. We sourced one on Ebay for £5-50 & I've started cutting slots into the bottoms of each drawer. Then I'll fire it up to burn off the internal paint & start smoking for pulled pork on Saturday.


Smoking takes hours & disturbed sleep is a consequence of cooking the most mouth watering, tender, tasty, feast for an out & out carnivore. In order to justify gluttony, read this book.

Perry said...

James Delingpole has written about the Polar Ocean Challenge, whose aim is to circumnavigate the Arctic in a sailing boat while the summer ice-melt allows. One fact new to me, is that a Stamukha is a grounded accumulation of sea ice rubble that typically develops along the boundary between fast ice and the drifting pack ice.

Peter Wadhams is a few planks short of a full load.

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