Monday, March 20, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 20.3.17

Spain's population soared by10% - from 40 to 44m - during the 2000-2008 phony boom, mostly by virtue of easily-absorbed immigrants from Catholic, Spanish-speaking ex-colonies in South America. Many of these have now gone back and more are leaving all the time, as the construction industry remains firmly in the doldrums. These immigrants were the main victims of the rapacious banks which threw mortgages around like confetti and then, when things went belly-up, displayed the red-in-tooth-and-claw nature of Spanish banks by evicting them en masse. Which is why said banks are loaded with useless – but still over-valued – properties on their balance sheets.

Talking of banks . . . Here and here are Don Quijones' latest insights into what's going on in the EU.

One of the main organs of the EU is the Council of Europe. This has decided that the British government is suppressing the rights of the people of Cornwall, by not chucking more money at them so they can resurrect their dead language. The Council also demands that the UK government stops the “Disneyfication” of such landmarks as Tintagel Castle. Ye gods!

Time to remind ourselves that: The European Union has been the all-time champion at devising barriers to economic flexibility and vitality, with the predictable consequence that youth unemployment in many member countries is now at its highest levels in living memory. But this monumental failure doesn't, of course, stop it giving lectures to national governments how how to run their internal affairs. It can't go on.

US Nutters Corner: Gordon Klingenschmitt, host of a conservative Christian talk-show, reported that atheists had got a public high school to remove a Ten Commandments from outside the building and insisted that the only reason was that they were controlled by demonic spirits. Not because it was illegal, then?

Down in southern Spain, one British consul has come up with the idea of consulting Brits about their mood, terming them Our Local Ambassadors. Or OLA. I'm confident that, when this initiative reaches Galicia, I'll be top of the list of those to be consulted on Brexit. Or perhaps not. Click here for more on this.

Here in Galicia, the local business community and municipal governments seem very upset that the economic growth of nearby North Portugal is greater than ours. I haven't heard it yet but doubtless I'll soon read that this competition is unfair. Or competencia desloyal as it's termed here. Perhaps Spain will ask the EU to tell Portugal to stop being so entrepreneurial. The classic example of which is Oporto's airport, which now dwarfs Galicia's 3 'international' tiddler facilities. Which, believe me, it didn't when I first used it in 1998.

Finally, here's a cartoon which, for obvious reasons, I had intended to include yesterday:-

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