LIFE IN SPAIN
Considerate Drivers: Reader - and all round pain in the arse - Alfie Mittington has suggested that they stop and let me cross the road because the Spanish are a generous people. For once, I agree with him. Against that, consider these incidents, which happened to me within 20 minutes on Friday:-
- I'm standing at one of those confusing flashing-yellow-for drivers-lights and waiting because the pedestrian light is on red. A car starts to slow down and I begin to cross to at least the middle of the road. The car then speeds up the and passenger leans out and tells me to Be careful. I shout back, of course.
- I'm walking through the old quarter's pedestrian area, reading an email on my phone. A speeding cylist brushes against me and shouts Be careful!. I don't have time to curse him.
The PSOE Party: Or should I say ex-party? Yesterday, its then leader was unceremoniously dumped, by the supporters of the ultra ambitious Andalucian Presidenta, Susana Díaz. Who will presumably never be forgiven for this. As I've said, a major factor in this farce has been the rise (and partial fall) of Podemos, a 'far left' party. The end result has is now another 4 years of right-of-centre government. Which is more than a tad ironic. (But will soon happen in the UK as well). My Dutch friend, Peter, has suggested that the Andalucian mafia have brought this about as they don't wish to see even a scintilla of more autonomy given to Cataluña and the Basque Country. Which this is favoured by Podemos and the supporters of the ex-leader. Why does this worry said mafia? Because these rich bits of Spain heavily subsidise the poor and institutionally corrupt region of Andalucia. Not so difficult to understand, then. And the funniest aspect is that Sra Díaz claims to be acting in the interests of Spain as a whole. As I say, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.
Whence Spain Now?: Ni puta idea. The Guardian has a go at this question here.
THE SPANISH ECONOMY
Banking: Here's the knowledgable Don Quijones on the latest scandalous developments here in Spain. These are supported by Brussels, need one say. Referring back to the positive statistics and forecasts which justified the Bankia scandal of a year or two ago, DQ reminds us that: It was all a blatant lie. In reality Bankia was bleeding losses (more than €3 billion) from every orifice. Within months of its IPO, the shares had lost virtually all their value. Cue the biggest taxpayer bailout of a banking entity in Spanish history with a total cost to date of €22.4 billion, of which €1.6 billion has been recovered, by a government that had repeatedly reassured the public that it would never spend “un centavo” on rescuing the country’s troubled banks. Is it any wonder that the Spanish don't believe a word their politicians say?
A Big Day Today: The latest challenge to this failing institution is Hungary's foregone-conclusion referendum today on immigration. See here for more on this.
British Humour: A take-off of the phenomenally popular Great British Bake-Off.
- Here's a review of the first 100days.
- And here's a column from the long-standing anti-EU Christopher Booker.
- And a comment from his friend and fellow Outer, Richard North: The vacuous wishful-thinking of naïve 'hard Brexiteers' could only lead us to being pushed over a very high and nasty cliff. That is why those who have done their homework (including those businesses which would be most directly affected) have come to realise that the only interim arrangement that could conceivably work is that "soft Brexit" option whereby, on leaving the EU, we remain in the wider European Economic Area (EEA), where we are now, and apply to join the two richest countries per capita in Europe, Norway and Switzerland, in the European Free Trade Area (Efta). This alone would enable us to continue trading with the single market on similar terms as we do now, without any of that catastrophic disruption that would be created by either of the first two options. It would even give us some limited power, under the EEA Agreement, to control immigration from the rest of the EU. Furthermore, it would give us time to discuss all those other problems which need to be sorted out in just two years, such as what to do about agriculture, fisheries, our relationship with the EU's 27 agencies, and dozens more. More here. If you can bear it.
More examples of Finnish/British nightmares:-