Monday, May 22, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 22.5.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain
Life in Spain
  • Lottery tickets are still sold here not only in special kiosks but also on street corners by people who are incapacitated in some way. They occasionally cry out something or other and remind me of a blind guy I used to see every evening as I got the bus home from my primary school. Sitting outside a pub and selling only The Liverpool Echo, he used to shout out Echo, ech de cho. Or something like that. 
  • The employment situation here has improved from its truly dire state of a few years ago but is still pretty bad, with unemployment (allegedly) around 17%. And it's not as if the new jobs were particularly well-paid and secure. Very much the opposite. See here on this.
  • More on that report about how Spain fares among us foreign residents:- As reported, when it comes to healthcare, infrastructure, quality of life, culture, social life, the ability to make friends and to integrate, Spain ranks very high. Similarly with family life, facilities for kids and tolerance. But she plummets when it comes to disposable income, taxes, business initiative, job security, and confidence in the 'political economy'. Most lowly ranked are Spain's 'institutions'. Apparently a reference to bureaucracy and poor communication. Not to mention inadequate consumer orientation, I suspect. And quasi-monopolistic practices born of and protected by government friendships. So, you pays your money and you takes your choice. Stay or go. Most stay, I suspect. Meaning a positive net balance.

Spanish Politics: To - I'm sure - considerable surprise, the last leader of Spain's left-of centre PSOE party - Pedro Sánchez - was yesterday re-elected to the position. Another bad result for the polls. The loser - the softer-line Andalucian Presidenta, Susana Díaz - was the choice of the party's 'barons' and its establishment. I asked 2 knowledgable friends yesterday morning about the differences between the two but, like me, they had some difficulty coming up with much. So I have no real idea what the consequences of this development will be. The Guardian comments here. And Think Spain here. Will there now be an effective coalition of the Left to take on the right-of-centre PP government? Well, not if Spanish politics continues to be tribal and the parties of the Left continue to split their natural vote. I doubt President Rajoy is very troubled by events. It's a different story for the rest of us, as we face the prospect of yet another general election which the PP will win. Possibly with even more seats, its immense history of corruption notwithstanding.

As for Ms Diáz's Andalucia . . . The Olive Press reports here that the region lags behind the rest of Spain because of excessive dependency on transfers of cash from taxpayers in northern Europe. And, of course, by the region's infamously endemic corruption.

The Spanish language: I like many words but in particular paulatinamente. It means 'slowly' and just has to be pronounced in that fashion. Very fitting.

Here in Galicia, it's reported that more than 300 local companies have an affiliate in nearby North Portugal - because land is cheaper, salaries are lower and people there 'speak more languages'. I assume this means English, rather than Portuguese. Says is all really. Apparently there's an economic miracle taking place down in Portugal. Must be due to what our president terms 'unfair competition' (competencia desleal), against which 'Vigo' has recently demanded action by the regional and national governments. Echoes of Canute? BTW . . . It always raises a smile to hear Spanish people and companies complaining about rule-bending.

The latest interesting observation on Trump is that it's insulting to 4 year olds to suggest that he's infantile. I suspect that must be right.

Today's cartoon:-

No confusion when it comes to the policies of British political parties . . .

1 comment:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Personally, I would translate 'paulatinamente' (indeed a poetic sounding word!) rather as 'gradually'.

Unfortunately, Google translate agrees with me, so I may soon revise my opinion on the matter.

Yours, SemanticAl

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