Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pontevedra Pensées: 18.9.16

LIFE IN SPAIN

Efficiency:- My old bank – Citibank – was taken over last year by Banco Pastor. And since then it's been one long calvario of changing account numbers, missing monthly reports, erroneous IBANs, new bank-cards, even newer bank-cards and numerous visits to the bank for face-to-face chats. It's not as if I'm new to phone and internet banking; I've been doing is it for more than 20 years with First Direct, with no cause for complaint whatsoever. The latest problem is the refusal of the bank's page to accept what I know are my correct ID and card numbers, meaning yet another visit to the bank on Monday morning, to make a simple transfer. At times one is overwhelmed by inefficiency here.

THE EU:

President Juncker. A merchant banker, I've noted. See here and here, for example. The inimitable Rod Liddle has now eloquently fleshed out my bones in an article at the end of this post.

Banks: Click here for a Don Quijones article on Italy's very sick banks. Here he is on 2 of these: While the downfall of MPS would be enough to cause serious damage to Italy’s already fragile financial system, the collapse of Unicredit, which has vast, sprawling operations across Germany and Eastern Europe, would threaten the stability of the entire Eurozone. No doubt the EU will find a solution. Possibly one which costs mountains of taxpayers' cash. The standard rescue model. Although . . . New EU regulations make it almost impossible for Eurozone governments to bail out domestic banks. But not the ECB, I guess. All in all, says DQ, Italy faces an impossible mission in trying to stabilize its financial sector.

ELSEWHERE

Russia: Hard to believe. Or perhaps not, after months of watching RT News every morning.

DOMESTIC STUFF

You'll all wanting to know about:-
  1. My worm farm: Is it successful yet? Well, yes, it is. To my astonishment, there were several earthworms(lombrices) in it yesterday.
  2. My wifi: Am I finally happy with my 30megas via cable? Well, sort of. I've had to buy a booster to get a signal upstairs and I regularly have to switch it off and on. But it seems my neighbours on both sides have even bigger problems. No idea why.
PUBLIC SERVICE NOTICES:

Mac computers: I've recently advised about the SMC re-set trick for Mac owners. Now the trackpad: If it starts doing odd thing, check which options are ticked in System Preferences. Possibly as a result of the SMC manoeuvre, every one of the 14 options were checked on my laptop. As a result, I only had to breathe on the trackpad for my Mac to go haywire.

Visiting the UK?: Here are some tips from the very rich Hayley Bloomingdale:-
  • Eggs are inexplicably not refrigerated and are often hidden in a regular food aisle
  • Don’t try to order any fancy drinks at a pub, just play it cool, order “a pint” and drink whatever is in there
  • Military time is very popular. If someone says to meet at 18:30, you will have to get out your calculator to deduce that they’d like to meet at 6:30 p.m
  • If you look confused and/or scared when crossing the street, drivers will often speed up instead of the opposite
  • Do not speak ill of the tube system. The British people love their public transportation—“transport,” if you will—even those who don’t actually use it
  • If you are meeting someone on the “first floor,” you will need to go up a level because first floor means second floor in this country
  • Don’t even bother talking about herbs with anyone because every single one is pronounced differently. [Actually, so is the word 'herbs', which Americans pronounce, a la francaise, as 'erbs. But not phrases taken from French such as en masse and en route. Which they pronounce phonetically. Hate to think what they do with chacun à son goût.]
THE GALLERY

More examples of Finnish/British nightmares:




ARTICLES

Jumped-up Juncker is Europe’s best cure for Bregret

Cometh the hour, cometh the great man: the statesman. Many of us who voted for Brexit back in June did so tentatively and have subsequently been prone to the occasional attack of collywobbles. Did we really do the right thing, we agonise. And there are those in the “remain” camp who, while disappointed with the referendum result, wish only the best for our country — rather than spending their time cheering every possible indication of chaos and turmoil as a vindication of the fact that they are educated and clever while the leavers are pig-ignorant untermensch. For all these people, the vast majority of the country, succour is at hand. Yes, yes — Jean-Claude Juncker has made a speech again. And suddenly you know we were right.

The European Commission president was one of the main reasons I voted to leave. This unelected, dwarfish panjandrum — who has recently confided that while he may appear perpetually pissed as a newt, it is only because he has a unique gait that forces him to sway from side to side, garble idiocies at people, slap them about the face and stagger like a Geordie slapper from bar to bar — was a more compelling reason for me to vote “leave” than the EU’s bureaucracy, the immigration stuff, the byzantine financial affairs of the south of our continent and so on.

An avowed anti-democrat who uses his office to punish entire nations that do not see the world as he does. Poland, for example, and Hungary — and now the UK. A politician from the might of Luxembourg. Hell, sometimes in this political world of ours things get bad and the tail wags the dog rather than the other way around. With Juncker, it’s a flea on the tail of the dog that is wagging the dog.

In his state-of-the-union speech, this man warned that the UK “might” not get access to the single European market, post-Brexit. Well, OK, Jean-Claude: run that by the German manufacturers (and indeed government) and see what they think. He pledged his support for ever-greater union and an EU military force with expensive headquarters in some unyielding martial redoubt of the EU — Luxembourg or France, perhaps — contrary to the views of about 75% of EU citizens, and to what I presume was unconfined hilarity in the Kremlin, not to mention Raqqa. And he then blamed British politicians for telling 40 years of “lies” about the EU and invoked the murder, in Essex, of a Polish man as being a consequence of this British disease, this illiberal Brexit mindset.

This last little rhetorical flourish was the most nauseating and self-serving. A Polish man called Arkadiusz Jozwik was indeed killed in Harlow in Essex and the police have arrested the suspects: let’s hope that, if convicted, they get the sentences they deserve. But that particular killing occurred as thugs went on the rampage across Europe — and especially Germany — in acts of violence against migrants, the utterly unmanageable number of migrants forced upon Europe by Juncker’s diktat and Angela Merkel’s consent (now at least partially withdrawn).

The EU’s unsustainable and calamitous commitment to free movement of everybody to everywhere — in order to service the needs of capitalism — is being rejected across the continent by one country after the other. You can gauge this new and visceral disaffection by the acts of carnage perpetrated by continental extremists and the rise of that thing Juncker particularly loathes: populist politics — that is, politicians who say stuff with which voters agree. That’s a reasonable definition of populism, isn’t it?

And all this is evident most especially in what we used to call eastern Europe — but also in Germany and, of course, France. Before his eyes, the EU is tearing itself apart. You think the UK leaving is a problem, Jean-Claude? Wait until next month’s vote in Hungary about how many refugees they should let in, or the French presidential elections.

But Juncker cannot bear to be gainsaid, which is why Hungary is threatened with being kicked out of the community and Poland suffers threats and bullying from Brussels and Strasbourg. Juncker’s state-of-the-union address was a well-lubricated howl of desperation for the passing of a hugely flawed and deeply unpopular vision of what the EU should be. We got out right on time.

3 comments:

Anthea said...

How appropriate that the Banco Pastor should prove to be a "calvario"! And is Hayle Bloomingdale American by any chance? if so, she has some cheek criticising British pronunciation of foreign words. With rare exceptions, such as Jodi Foster, Imhave come across few Americans who can pronounce foreign words at all, let alone in any way approximating the original language!

Perry said...

Efficiency.

Bearing in mind that Oporto airport out performs all three landing strips in Galicia & in a price comparison, that your hard earned loot would last you longer there, I offer you this link without prejudice & on an ad hoc basis only. http://www.livinginportugal.com/en/why-portugal/one-of-the-best-places-to-live/

Unless the Portuguese government is more avaricious than Spain's, of course?

Once Catalunya secedes from the Kingdom of Spain, then Galicia will want its Galexit & Portugal will increasingly look like a safe haven.

Colin Davies said...

Well, this much is true . . .

Portugal is also one of the best countries for buying a house, because it has clear and transparent tax rules and offers facilities for obtaining residence permits, as part of new legal provisions that are more attractive to foreign investors.

As for other taxes, bureaucracy and corruption, I hear very negative things.

Galexit could only mean more taxes for everyone!

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