Spanish Geniuses: There are a lot of these going unrecognised, it's claimed. Click here on this. In contrast, as I said yesterday, A level and university degree results in the UK clearly demonstrate that a huge percentage of the student population there merits this label.
Energy Companies: As readers will know, these major on fixed costs. I mention this again only because – after 16 years – my supplier has suddenly noticed I'm a low consumer and has offered me 2 options which, they say, will reduce my bill. Perhaps not surprisingly, I'm sceptical. Anyway, one of the options centres on a reduction in the fixed costs by a massive 5%. The other is a fixed tariff which will eliminate, they say, my non-existent concern re differing monthly amounts. Somehow, I suspect, the resulting annual bill be in their favour, not mine. I might be more confident if there were any way of working out how they calculate their bills and/or if there were a consumer organisation which compared company offers and revealed the truth about their - probably specious - claims. As I've said, this is how you get . . .
Speaking Spanish: Re-reading the 1949 book Living Spanish, I came across the phrase Pelar la pava. Literally, 'To pluck the turkey'. Allegedly, this means 'To court a lady'. But, since it specifically means talking to a woman through the grill bars in a wall or a door- see here - I'm guessing it's fallen out of use. But it was interesting to note that una pava is not only a turkey but also a kettle. And that Pelársela means 'To masturbate'. The mind boggles. By the way, if you want to see an example of someone pelando la pava relatively recently, take a look at the 1956 film Calle Mayor. (Incidentally, in this clip – at minute 1.05 – there's clear evidence of my long-standing contention that – at least until recently – Spanish women of less than than 5 feet(150cm) were legally obliged to become nuns.) Two bits of trivia about this film: 1. It was directed by Javier Bardem's uncle, and 2. The wickedly deceived courted woman is played by an American actress – Betsy Blair – whose voice was dubbed into Spanish.
PP Troubles: Sr Rajoy's administration is now experiencing the joys of minority government. It's had its education proposals knocked back in parliament and is facing an increase in the minimum wage proposed by far-left parties. Incidentally, I didn't know that this measure only legally applies to a small group of workers. See El País on the subject here, in English.
The Brexit: See a short commentary on the negotiating strength of the EU at the end of this post, from The Times.
Only There??: Loony Evangelist preachers aren't exactly unknown in the US of A. One such - Jim Bakker - majors in ludicrous comments and predictions, alongside his main aim of selling baskets of food. He's also a convicted criminal. And, of course, a Trump supporter. Here he is promising the states in which Clinton won will all suffer retribution from an irritated god. Because they voted 'against God's will'. Apparently, God told him this personally. By the way, Bakker seems to record with a parrot by his side.
THE CORRUPTION CAVALCADE
Escaping Justice?: Rita Barberá, the ex mayoress of Valencia facing serious corruption charges, has died suddenly of a heart attack, at 68. Click here for the El País article on her I cited last month.
Incidentally, Google have improved their Blogspot site. With the result that now I can't drag fotos here from my desktop into my draft post. I guess that makes sense to someone. Plus, I've just discovered I can't copy the text either, to check for spelling mistakes. Nice one, Google.
My Stupid Cat: I've now rescued it twice from the top of my palm tree, once after 2 days and then after 4 days. Guess where it is this morning . . . And where it'll be staying for a week.
The grass is far from greener in the dysfunctional EU: Iain Martin
Weeping and wailing by Remain panic merchants will do nothing to help us
One of the curiosities of the post-referendum panic is the parochialism of those who are determined to prove that Brexit is a disaster in the making. Much of their posturing is rooted in the false idea that the UK is doomed and the European Union is a mighty bloc preparing to punish us at will.
In reality, the EU is weak, adrift and increasingly divided on how to respond to the rise of populism and voter anxiety. Austria may only narrowly escape getting a far-right president when it votes on December 4. On the same day Italians hold a referendum on their constitution that could trigger their own departure from the EU. Hungary and its neighbours are in turmoil because they have had enough of open borders.
In France, François Fillon is the likely candidate tasked with stopping the election of Marine Le Pen. Fillon’s emergence is a positive development because the former prime minister is an economic reformer (although unsuccessful). But from the EU’s point of view it means next year’s presidential election is likely to turn into an auction on cracking down on migration and scrapping the free movement that Brussels persists in claiming is sacrosanct.
Most worryingly, there are tremors in the giant European bond market. A report from Reuters in Frankfurt yesterday highlighted concerns at the European Central Bank about a potential freeze in the €5.5 trillion short-term market in eurozone government debt. Efforts are under way to avert a disaster.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the fanatical head of the EU Commission, responds to the EU’s deteriorating position with his usual arrogance.
This is the outfit presented by Remainiacs as a group of grown-ups ready to administer justice to the juvenile Brits. The 27 — the EU countries minus the UK — are said to have decided on an eye-wateringly hard Brexit, to warn others against leaving.
Perhaps that will be their approach but the EU is no longer a confident organisation. It may be falling apart and its leaders are scared. The British should maintain a businesslike relationship and resist the temptation to be arrogant. A coherent EU and an orderly exit is in our interests. A “we’re all doomed” self-indulgent weeping and wailing by Remain panic merchants will do nothing to help us.