Friday, March 17, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 17.3.17

I regularly mention the void between Spain's macro and micro economy numbers. Here's something on the latter – the preponderance of 'precarious' short-term contracts, recently condemned by the EU.

And here's something of an explanation for why austerity and things like the above haven't led to the rise of a far-right party here. Apart from the fact, of course, that the right-of-centre PP party does a pretty good job of encompassing ultra-conservatives and even pseudo-fascists.

If I watched Spanish TV – specifically the dubbed programs that I can't stand – I'd be delighted with this news.

Reader Maria has provided details of a clash she had with bureaucracy here when, coming from the USA, she applied for a Spanish driving licence. I had similar problems when I arrived here and no local car insurance company would accept a No Claims certificate from another company. In a “low ethics society” (as a Spanish reader once termed it), there's not a lot of trust around. For similar reasons, when I came to sell my first car here, I was told the provision of an FSH (full service history) was pointless, as everyone would assume it was either forged or provided by a friend or relative in the business. But there's another side to this low ethics coin, as evidenced in this letter from a Dutchman to Lenox of Business Over Tapas:-
Dear Lenox,    I wanted to comment on your snippet concerning Spanish laws and Spanish bureaucracy. From what you write I take it you haven't had to deal much with British laws and bureaucracy of late? Or, for that matter, Dutch laws and bureaucracy. What I find so refreshing in Spain is that there is little or no moral disapproval if you don't observe all the laws. If you break a law (or do not observe it) and get caught, you get fined - and the neighbours just shrug their shoulders and laugh a little for being such a fool as to get caught. Our experience has been that even the stern bureaucrats in Hacienda often shrug their shoulders and try to help us find a way of avoiding the worst tangles. Whereas in Holland and England, people who break the law also get disapproval ladled over them as being immoral and wicked - the neighbours won't speak to them and their children are not allowed to play with the children of the malefactor. I suppose a lot of your time 
(and certainly a lot of our time) is spent on constructing methods of avoiding the problems encountered in observing all the laws, but then we have the same problems in Holland and England. It is just that each country has a different area in which it is difficult and a lot of time passed in getting used to one country is spent on finding the "wriggle room".      Jan

And low ethics are not confined to Spain, of course. Here's a report of a British example in a Spanish context, similar to that in respect of all the infamously specious whiplash claims which have raised car insurance premiums for everyone in the UK.

Current events in the UK are reviving an old Galician joke - viz. That - given the similarities in weather, verdant countryside, sense of humour and (?)Celtic history – Galicia should solve its problems with Madrid by transferring itself to the UK as a replacement for Scotland. More seriously, here's why Spain will do its utmost to thwart Scottish nationalist aspirations.

Nutters' Corner: If this one nutter who stands out, it's a chap called Ken Ham. He's an evangelists' evangelist who has constructed a replica Ark as a theme park.  And, yes, it contains dinosaurs. Here he is reacting to some comments of Pope Francis about the creation of the world and some kind words of his towards atheists. A really nice guy, Mr Ham. And an unreconstructed cretin of the first order.

Finally . . The Disinformation Review is an EU organisation which provides evidence of Moscow's relentless propaganda, both at home and abroad. The authors yesterday confessed themselves as 'bewildered' as I am that RT News is setting up a special unit to counteract fake news. Which is beyond farce. But well in keeping with the (self)delusional nature of the channel's reporting.

Today's cartoon:-

The government wants all schools run like businesses, Timmy. So, you're fired.

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