Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pontevedra Pensées: 28.2.17

The Spanish judicial system is something of a mystery to foreigners, and I would guess to most Spaniards as well. The estimable Don Quijones comments on it here. As he puts it: The Spanish judicial system has a rather curious way of functioning: not only is it deeply politicised, lacking the basic balance of powers of which Montesquieu wrote centuries ago, but it also tends to make up the rules as it goes along. And as he concludes: It is a sign of our times that in Spain’s post-Franco democracy the senior figures of the financial establishment enjoy even greater immunity from the law than they did during Franco’s brutal dictatorship. At least during the dictatorship, wayward bankers occasionally saw the inside of a prison cell.

Under a (pseudo-Francoist?) right-wing PP government, Spain also seems to be failing as regards human rights, says Amnesty International. See here. It's regularly commented that Spain doesn't have a burgeoning far-right populist party akin to those in other European countries. Perhaps it doesn't really need one.

Oddly enough, Franco era activities are haunting us in other ways this week. See here and here. As ever, the trial is taking its time. And its toll. Which is often what it's all about. Protecting the well-connected guilty.

Here's what someone thinks are the signs that tell you you've mastered the Spanish language, Castellano. At least as it's spoken here in the mother country. Seems pretty accurate to me. As an aside, I understand that robust profaning and swearing are not a feature of South American versions.

Talking of robust language . . . . Que te den is a common insult which is short for May you be fucked up the arse. Here's a video in which this actually happened during the very Spanish 'sport' of bullrunning. Query: Are the runners brave or foolhardy. Or just plain stupid.

The EU. This what the government of the 4 largest members have announced: Now is the moment to move towards closer political integration: Federal Union of States with large skills. And the United States who do not want to join immediately in that closer integration should be able to do it later. So, a real federal superstate moving at 2 speeds? Time will tell. But, truth to tell, they have to do this or watch the whole enterprise fall slowly apart in the face of voter dissatisfaction with what's been achieved todate. Which is terrific economic growth for Germany, for example, and massive economic retrenchment elsewhere. It'll surely take some convincing that this won't continue, even (especially?) if the Germans eventually accept liability for the debts of wastrel members. Can't see it happening myself. But, then, I never could.

UK Politics: You'll recall I cited last week a classic piece of political obfuscation ('spin') by Labour's John McDonnell. Well, now he's invented something to which he attributes the very poor rating of his (nominal) boss, Jeremy Corbyn. Labour's abysmally low electoral support, he says, is the result of "soft coup" by moderate MPs. Or, rather he did say this in an article for the far-left faithful last week. But now he claims he was really (vaingloriously) pleading for unity. Or, as a colleague put it: He is looking to reach out in the coming days to those across all sections of the party. Especially, I guess, to the majority of the MPs who detest him and regard him as the person most responsible for the utter mess the once-great Labour party is now in. Of course, he doesn't quite see things this way and is clinging on to the remnants of such power as a hopelessly split Opposition retains. But one thing impresses – the quality of the TV training both he and the hapless JC have had in the last couple of years. They are almost plausible when they appear now. In contrast to the comical Diane Abbot, who is said to be a Cambridge graduate but comes across as an imbecile of the first order. And a (poor) liar.

Finally . . . An amusing extract from a recent Private Eye's Funny Old World section. Enjoy:-

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