Making my way to my car on the boat yesterday morning, I passed a group of Spanish truck-drivers in the restaurant. Their loud cursing and swearing was well up to Spanish standards. Half an hour later, I found I was prevented from putting air in my tyres by a camper van and trailer blocking access to the pump at the petrol station. The vehicles had a British registration number but the drivers turned out to be Spanish. Good to be back where the most important person in your life is you.
But I confess I had to wait until this morning to witness my first example of what we might call cavalier driving – a guy who passed me within a few metres of an autovia exit and then swerved in front of me to take it when I was going straight on.
Spain's President Rajoy has responded to a question in parliament on corruption by insisting it's a mistake to exaggerate this since ‘we are a great nation’. So, that's alright then. You voters can afford it seems to be the message. Down at the regional government level, Murcia's president has been accused of misuse of power and will go before an investigating beak in March. As for the municipal level, here's a timely list of Spain's most corrupt mayors from The Olive Press. Nice to see that women get a look in. Well, one woman at least. It's hard to disagree with reader Maria's view that Spain is a kleptocracy. But, then, some would argue it was ever thus for at least 300 years and that democracy changed nothing.
Spain's macro economy indicators might be great right now but the country is forecast to drop out of the top 25 economies within the relatively near future. See El País on this here, in English.
On a more positive note, here's an article on a trip taking in 101 Incredibles places in Spain. It's a mere 6,532 km long. Astonishingly, Pontevedra doesn't make it to the list but nearby Combarro does.
The last article by the stupendous British writer A A Gill was on his medical treatment and the UK's National Health Service (the NHS). Rather more eloquently than I've ever been able to put it, he writes: It seems unlikely, uncharacteristic, so un-“us” to have settled on sickness and bed rest as the votive altar and cornerstone of national politics. But there it is: at every election, the NHS is the thermometer and the crutch of governments. It represents everything we think is best about us. Everyone standing for whatever political persuasion has to lay a sterilised hand on an A&E revolving door and swear that the collective cradle-to-crematorium health service will be cherished on their watch. We tell lies about it. We say it’s the envy of the world. It isn’t. We say there’s nothing else like it. There is. We say it’s the best in the West. It’s not. We think it’s the cheapest. It isn’t. Either that or we think it’s the most expensive — it’s not that, either. You will live longer in France and Germany, get treated faster and more comfortably in Scandinavia, and everything costs more in America. Gill goes on to say that this sacrosanct service has one of the worst outcomes for cancer treatment in Europe. Everyone knows this, of course. Or at least everyone in politics. But no one seems capable and/or brave enough to do anything but tinker with the basic, outdated model. I hope I don't end my days relying on it.
Trump: Nothing today! Which should please at least on reader . . .