If you're wondering why the EU has allowed Spain to throw a Gibraltar-shaped spanner into the works, here's one plausible theory from a UK columnist: The decision reflects EU fears that Spain will hold the EU-UK deal to ransom over Gibraltar. Why? Well, because Spain is already doing exactly that by holding up a series of EU-wide aviation agreements on passenger compensation and the Open Skies Agreement. EU officials fear that Spain could play the same trick over the entire EU-UK Free Trade Agreement which is likely to need to be ratified in more than 30 parliaments. By making an agreement over Gibraltar the subject of a bilateral EU-UK negotiation, the EU has - from its perspective - effectively removed one obvious area where unity was going to collapse.
So, Germany has again rejected the proposal of an EU 'bad bank' that would house/hide the billions of euros of toxic debt on the books of EU banks and mean 'mutualisation' of debt and German liability for the (corrupt?) idiocies of, say, Greek, Italian and Spanish banks. So, more proof that the EU is essentially designed for the benefit of Germany. And, to a lesser - and more temporary - extent, for the benefit of France.
Was there anyone who didn't expect Russian involvement in Syria to result in more terrorist atrocities in Moscow?
Another development not to be surprised about - Our local electricity companies say that, if the municipal authorities charge taxes on their pylons on public land, the burden will end up on the consumers. Somehow, I doubt this'll make any difference. Which reminds me . . . We have 4 electricity suppliers operating here in Galicia. The percentage of users which they've managed to convince/trick into moving to the 'free market' - where they can raise prices – varies from 34% to over 90%. I was pleased to read my operator was at the low end.
Our local police have announced they're going to make their radar traps more mobile so that drivers can't warn each other. The only surprising thing about this is that they took so long to arrive at this rather obvious stratagem. As regards speeding, the police have said that last year they arrested 100 drivers doing more than 180kph, 12 drivers doing more than 200 and one guy doing 280. This can't help our insurance premiums.
We have a poetry festival here in Pontevedra this coming weekend. I might go along. And it's not because this attractive lady is performing there, if that's what you're thinking. It will be to improve my command of Gallego and/or one of the other 7 languages promised.
Still on the local scene . . . Longtime readers might recall my astonishment at the proliferation of bank branches here during the years of the phony boom. Especially as each of them provided the expensive face-to-face service much favoured by the Spanish. Anyway, it's yet another non-surprise to read that 20 of these have closed in the last year or so, thanks to fusions and retrenchment.
Fado is Portugal's favourite form of music, I believe. I've tried it several times but still find it - like Leonard Cohen – too dirge-ful for me. Nonetheless, I did try the current star of the genre – Amália Rodrigues. Though it did no good. You can sample her here and make up your own mind.
Finally . . . When they come to make a bronze of my head, I do hope they use someone other than the genius who got Ronaldo so wrong.
|Of course it's effective. That's why it's illegal.|