Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain.
You can appreciate just how much trouble Spain's traditional newspapers are in when you see the Saturday edition of El País shrouded in a 4-page advert for a Japanese TV maker.
NiNi's is the Spanish label for young people who are neither in work nor studying. The OECD average for this - as a percentage of the total age group - is 15%. The EU's is 14%. Spain comes in at 23% and figures above the worst OECD members;.
Italy 27% [A bit of a surprise?]
At the other end of the table are:-
The UK's number is 14%, as is the USA's.
Given, firstly, that London has long wanted to get shot of Northern Ireland and, secondly, that the British government is prepared to let Scotland go its own way, can anyone really believe that the UK wants to retain tiny, troublesome Gibraltar? All 3 places cost the English a lot of money, of course. You'd have thought that, in these circumstances, the Spanish government's strategy would be to make things easy for London, as indeed happened under the PSOE administration of President Zapatero. But, for reasons of its own, the current PP government clearly has the opposite strategy. If it has any strategy at all, that is.
Talking of stupidity . . . The idiot Juncker's latest bit of silliness is to claim English is losing its influence in the EU. Which he pronounced to the French just before their presidential election, for obvious reasons. So, which language is going to replace the world's lingua franca, Jean-Claude? French? German? Spanish? We'll have to wait and see how the other 24 EU members respond. Possibly using the allegedly Anglo Saxon 'F word'.
Yesterday I had a very enjoyable trip up the stunningly beautiful Miño valley to Ponferrada and Villafranca del Bierzo in the region of Castilla y León. Essentially, this was a return trip to the huge – and much tarted-up – Templars castle in the former and I will have to go back to see everything these 2 towns have to offer. Villafranca was particularly charming, though – to be honest - I don't include the numerous camino francés 'pilgrims' in that description. Anyway, from the castle in Ponferrada, you can see 2 nearby towers:-
A tremendously ugly blackish one:-
And a pretty white one:
The first tower is the Torre de la Rosaleda. It was built, of course, during Spain's phony construction boom. Equally inevitably, it's almost empty and now belongs to Sareb, the Bad bank which houses most of the country's useless properties. So, truly 'emblematic'. Predictably, it won an award from some group of architects. Which says it all.
The white tower is . . . well, I can't find anything about it on the web. Could it be a JW Kingdom Hall and so beyond mention??? Sierra??
Back here in Galicia, our president is desperately trying to convince us that transfers/bribes to the Basque Country aren't going to mean less money for Galicia. One bit of the backcloth is that the Bilbao is to have a high-speed train link with Paris and beyond, very possibly before we get our train to Madrid. This was originally promised for about 25 years ago but is now seen by some of us here as a ghost train.
Finally . . . A couple of things that will appeal to at least some readers:-
I've only just noticed that the letter C does, in fact, make an appearance . . .
Are you listening, Herr Juncker?