Thursday, April 06, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 6.4.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable. 

    - Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain.

All sorts of people have private healthcare in Spain, so don't have to worry about the standard delays (i. e. rationing) that are a feature of public systems. These include folk normally felt to be on the left of the political spectrum such as teachers, nurses and other civil servants. Here in Galicia  a full 17% of citizens have private cover. But the subject is not a political hot potato. Contrast the UK. One wonders why.

I haven't mentioned corruption for a while. So, an incidents update. Well, a few of them, anyway:-
  • MPs in Spain's lower house have voted to create an investigative commission into allegations of illegal funding of the governing PP party. More here.
  • The PP president of the Murcia regional government has resigned after realising that he wouldn't win a censure vote scheduled for today.
  • The anticorruption prosecutor is asking for four years prison for a chap who's an ex Vice-President, ex Defence Minister and ex mayor of Barcelona. Around improper procedures at the Caixa Catalunya bank.
  • The Asturian water company, Aquagest, is being investigated for bribing municipal employees.
  • A civil servant in the Málaga tax office has been arrested following police inquiries into local money laundering.
  • The public prosecutor is investigating the president of the PP in Almería. He's said to have given improper building licences to companies controlled by 53 of his relatives.
Brits in Spain/Europe: Here's Giles Trimlett again, in The Guardian. The opening: The mothership is leaving, and more than one million British citizens are being set adrift in Spain and other countries in the European Union, exposed to the turbulence of a Brexit that is still to be defined and offers us no guarantees. Who is going to throw us a life raft? We have had nine months to get used to the idea, but it is still impossible to imagine what our lives will be like after Brexit.

With the Russians being accused of aiding Assad to drop chemical bombs on his rebellious citizens, I thought I'd get RT News's take on this. As per their web page: Attempts by some members of the Brussels conference on Syria to redraw the agenda and focus on allegations of the Syrian government’s complicity in the suspected chemical attack in Idlib have failed, Russia’s deputy foreign minister has said. And in the 9 o'clock bulletin: The UN Security Council don't see eye to eye. Russia wants a UN investigation but the US, UK etc. point the finger at Russia. Syria government denies any involvement. Facts don't deter allegations. Another US U-turn by Trump. No no hard evidence. Western powers keen to blame Syria. Why wait for the facts when you can blame the usual suspects?. etc., etc. So, don't forget: If you want to know the real truth about what's going on in the Syria and the rest of the world, tune into RT's weekly Renegade Inc. program. And have a good laugh. Their by-line says it's for 'people who think differently'. I'll say! One thing's for sure – Russian citizens are going to pay for Moscow's Middle East meddling, whether they think differently or not.

Talking of Russians . . . You'd think Trump and his coterie would have the nous to stay away from someone closely associated with the Moscow mafia. But apparently not. See El País's astonishing report here.

Galicia has been severely hit by reductions in the money to be sent here from Madrid. Down 32%, against a national reduction of 3%. La Rioja, Ceuta and Melilla, in contrast, will see increases of 15-16%. And Cataluña, of course, will get 3% more. Here in Galicia, more than 50% of our cash will be thrown at the AVE high-speed train, in the hope that we'll have it before 2030. Whether this is a good use of money is a very open question. As is the case for the biggest outlay in Pontevedra province, another highway that will bypass the city of Pontevedra. So you won't have to take the existing autovia or go through the city. I guess it makes sense to someone.

Finally . . . . What sort of world?: In the UK earlier this year, I bought my younger daughter a toilet roll holder (or 'toilet butler'). She didn't want it so I brought it home. It has 4 pieces but must be the most easy-to-assemble item ever sold. However, the advice is that only someone experienced in DIY (do-it-yourself) should attempt this. And it gives diagrams of the 2 essential tools you'll need. These are 1. a screwdriver, and 2. a human being. If you don't believe me . . . .

Today's cartoon:-

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