Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia: 3.1.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

  • What is happening in Catalonia, after the decision by the Spanish government to make a referendum illegal and stop a peaceful ballot, is quite a good example of what happens when the leadership of a country decides that public opinion is too wrong to make it safe to consult. You can get away with it for a while, but in the end it can bring disaster and you end up putting parliamentarians in jail and sending in police to break up polling stations. One wonders if Sr Rajoy et al have learned this lesson.
  • Spain can sometimes seem to be way ahead of right-on 'liberal' trends around the world. Case in point.
  • The annual price increases on new-build properties are said to have returned to pre-crisis levels. Which might well be true but I'm naturally sceptical of such reports. As, indeed, I am of most statistics cited in Spain.
The EU
  • The authors of a paper entitled 'European Populism: Trends, Threats and Future Prospects', attempt to measure the support and success of populist movements, in other words of those parties who claim to represent the unified legitimate view of “real” people. Populism has been a long time on the march, they say. They chart the rise in the number of such parties (from 33 in Europe in 2000 to 63 now) and the rise in their support (the average being 9.6% in 2000, 17.2% in 2008 and now 24.6%). They also point out that “it is now possible to drive from the Baltic Sea all the way to the Aegean without once leaving a country ruled by a populist”. They note the populist success in Poland, in Hungary, in Slovakia. Crucially, they argue that the data shows that the rise of populism didn’t abate in 2016. It carries on. And it isn’t confined to eastern Europe, as populists form part of the government in Greece, Austria and Norway. In 2018 they anticipate populist surges in Italy, Belgium and Estonia. They correctly fear the danger this represents.
  • How edifying to wake up to President Fart boasting of the size of his penis. Sorry, the nuclear button on his desk. Will more than 50% of Americans really vote for him next time round? Apparently - and incredibly - this can't be ruled out. Thanks largely to the Christian Evangelists who have less idea about Christian values than most atheists do.
The UK
  • The Coop supermaket chain started selling Easter eggs on December 27. 
  • As a fan of the state-run Spanish rail system and a lover of its lowish prices, I'm not terribly surprised to see the tsunami of anger which greeted the increase of the already staggeringly high prices of UK rail travel. On the other hand, I remember how bad the state-run British Rail was. So, in contrast to the (allegedly) 60% of Brits who want it, I don't immediately see re-nationalisation as the solution. A propos, here's a BBC video showing just how high rail prices are in the UK. Scandalously so, in truth.
  • As The Times sees it, referring to a new TV series about the Russian mafia:-
Social Media
  • Hard as it might be to believe, the wife who endorsed her murderous husband's false alibi had done this before. When he was accused of attacking one of her relatives.
  • The residents of the villages where said murderer lived and carried out his heinous crime were reported in the Voz de Galicia yesterday as being en un estado de shock. Was there really no Spanish word available?


jan frank said...

Expensive UK rail travel? Have a look at
My experience is that while the UK may or may not have the highest rail fares in Europe, it certainly is tops of the moan factor

Perry said...

Railways. It's all about the accounting. In the UK, they are required to make a large profit for HMG & a smaller profit for the TOC. Elsewhere in Europe, railways are seen as a social necessity & are not being taxed to support non working, non tax paying immigrants. However, the shit will soon hit the fan. It's a matter of numbers. (Spengler said so, so there!).

As for President Trump being re-elected; who'd have the shit for brains Democrat party alternatives? Never, but never, put your hand up (for) H. Clinton. Your distal phalanges will never lose the stink. BTW, to the pure of mind, honi soit qui mal y pense.

Colin Davies said...

Jan: Liverpool to London at 9.25 tomorrow morning: GBP 159, one way. . .

I can't relate this to the article you sent.

jan frank said...

The article I sent makes it crystal clear that prices depend on when you book. The cheapest ones are those booked one month in advance. The most expensive are the ones booked during "business" hours. It's the same with air fares. If I book a flight with BA tomorrow at 9.30 I pay about 300 € for a single whereas if I fly with Norwegian in a month's time I pay about 95 € return. You quote a fare for a journey tomorrow during business hours; Virgin will take you from Liverpool to London on 17 February for all of 20€.

Colin Davies said...

Yes, I know it did. But it didn't, as I recall, quote prices so high for continental same-day travel.

The air/train analogy is not a qood one in my opinion. What are the respective percentages of people wanting to fly or get a train at short notice? I suspect much higher in the latter case. Who can blame folk in the UK for going by car, even on very crowded roads?

And the article doesn't address the far more important differential in prices for commuting on a daily basis. A low percentage of salary in other countries and a very high one in the UK. This is where travellers are beeing fleeced. Those who MUST move 5 days a week, not those lucky pensioners et al who can plan ahead and make the undoubted savings available.