Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 14.9.16

Spanish Society: So, is it as corrupt as some say? Or is it only – as a Spanish reader once said – merely a country of low ethics

Well, there can be little doubt that, at a macro level, Spain is extremely corrupt as regards the corporate-political nexus. Witness its (worsening) ranking with Transparency International. And the endless (and admirable) litany of accusations, arrests, trials and sentences. The latest example of these is a Catalan family accused of defrauding the Tax Office – i. e. we Spanish taxpayers – of hundreds of millions of euros. And who've just been permitted to escape jail by paying back a mere 93 million of these. Witness, too, the recent news that Spain was bribed by Churchill to stay out of the Second World War. Doubtless some would argue that today's politicians are no less corrupt than they were in the 1940s.

At the micro level of everyday life, it's certainly arguable that there's no corruption; you never have to pay someone for something you're entitled to. But cronyism and nepotism will certainly impact on your life, as you are pushed down various queues. And you will certainly pay more for everything because the already very rich are avoiding and evading taxes on a monumental scale. And because corporate overheads frequently include bribes to politicians. Or always in the construction sector.

That said, it's more true that you will be hit far more obviously by low ethics. The end result of the latter is that no one here trusts anyone they don't know. And quite a few of those they do know:-
  • Your ID is demanded for absolutely everything, regardless of how irrational and unnecessary this is.
  • A new insurance company won't trust your alleged No Claim Bonus.
  • No one will believe your Full Service History when you sell your car. So, they don't even ask for it.
  • Friendly bar staff and waiters will charge friends less than they should, if at all.
  • Everyone assumes that any 'proof' of anything you provide has been produced by a friend.
  • No one believes the banks and insurance companies can be trusted at all. 'Errors' will be made regularly. Ditto the monopoly utility companies, of course.
  • No one believes the conclusions of official investigations into tragedies such as those of the Prestige oil spill and the Santiago rail disaster, both here in Galicia.
  • No politician ever resigns until, rarely, he or she is sentenced to a brief spell in a luxury jail.
  • Etc., etc.
One very obvious exception to this is the wonderful trust-based system of paying for drinks in bars and cafés only when you leave. Which, being an exception, tends to prove the rule that no one is to be trusted.

So, is Spanish society corrupt? Make up your own mind.

Words: Fisty-cuffs??? Over at the no-longer-barbaric Tordesillas 'festival'.

Amazon: Here's an interesting looking book:-
Pompa y circunstancia : diccionario sentimental de la cultura inglesa: By Ignacio Peyro Jiménez
The price:-
  • Amazon UK: £52.14. Paperback
  • Amazon Spain: €47.03

. Tapa blanda.
So, not planning to sell a lot, then?

Talking of books . . .

Galician Literature Now available in English:
Incidentally, Amazon tells us that the former is in neither Galician nor Gallego/Galego but in Gallegan. This is a new word to me but it seems to exist. Though only as a noun, not an adjective.

Finally . . . The Oporto metro. Very clean and efficient. But can anyone tell me what happens if you don't take your ticket from the machine and then 'validate' it before you go down to the platform?Does the ticket spontaneously combust? Or you can't get out at your destination if there are exit machines? Or are you just fined, if you get caught, for doing something that seems to be rather pointless. And, in my experience, unique.


The sort of electric fence that local farmers resort to in order to keep out marauding wild boars. Which I read yesterday are now a menace in Egland as well!

No comments: