Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 5.6.18

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.

  • Here's a slightly triumphalist Tim Parfitt on recent political developments.
  • In El Mundo on Sunday there was a special section on Rajoy's inner circle. Apparently, they're all still deluded enough to believe he'll go down in history as one of Spain's best leaders . . .
  • Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the PP party has (gleefully) said it'll reject its own budget – even though the new PM has said he'll implement it. This is to get revenge on the Basque party for not keeping Rajoy in power. Should do the reputation of the PP party a lot of good.
  • Another party apparently being badly treated, at least as regards Cabinet positions, is Podemos. Which might not be the best start for discussions of a left-of-centre coalition that could well win the next elections.
Life in Spain
  • These are the 10 leading grocery products in Spain, it's said. One is (North) American, two are French, one is Mexican and the rest are Spanish. Have fun guessing:-
- Coca Cola – Sugary drinks
- Pozo - ham
- Campofrio - processed meats and pizza – and, in some shops, vegetarian and vegan meat substitutes
- Asturiana - milk
- Activia - yoghurts
- Gallo - pasta
- Don simon - orange juicee
- Danone - yoghurts
- Pescanova - seafood (Let's hear it for Galicia!)
- Bimbo - bread
Click here if you're not sure of the origins.
  • The Spanish take sports very seriously, at least when it comes to dressing for the part. Pontevedra city is awash with walkers dressed and shod as if they're competing in the Olympic Games. No, not really. But this can only be a matter of time. Nearly all cyclists here dress as if they're participating in a stage of the Tour de France. No wonder they all stare at me on my old racing bike, in ordinary clothes and with bicycle clips around my ankles. They clearly think I'm the odd one . . . Nowt as queer as folk.
  • Talking of fashion . . . The other night I clocked a young man wearing trousers with one short leg and one long. I do hope he has a foto of himself to look at in 20 or 30 years' time.
  • Here's The Local on what's on this month around the country.
The EU
  • Angela Merkel has backed calls from President Macron for deeper European economic and military ties, reforms seen in Paris as the EU’s last chance to prove it still matters after a populist surge across the continent. It might work. But, then again, it does amount to giving people more of what they don't seem to like. Not really 'reform' though, is it?
  • Reports the New York Times here: The majority of schools in Ireland are controlled by the Catholic Church, and they’re allowed to discriminate based on baptisms (or lack thereof), but all that could change thanks to a school admissions bill that recently passed the lower house of the Irish parliament. The bill is expected to pass the upper house this month, barring schools from discriminating based on “religious ethos”. I wonder if this happens in Spain.
The UK
  • Reports Richard North: The latest survey of Tory members and activists conducted by the ConservativeHome website reveals that only 28 % of these dedicated Tories express confidence in the government’s handling of the Brexit negotiations. Almost two-thirds do not have any such confidence in the government Mrs May ostensibly leads. And if the prime minister cannot lead on Brexit, she cannot lead on — or receive credit for — anything else. Conservative members are exceptional. There are not much more than 100,000 of them, but for once they mirror the public mood.
  • This is a view which has been valid for many years. I wonder how long it'll be before something serious is done about it: The NHS crisis is also a social care crisis in which nearly one in ten hospital beds are taken up by patients who are well enough to go home, a situation that is traumatic for families and damaging to the health service. There needs to be much greater integration between the health and social care systems, with budgets reallocated people in the community.  The prime minister also needs to make the case for tax rises, including on the elderly. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, spending on healthcare will have to increase by an average of 3.3% a year over the next 15 years, and social care funding by 3.9%, just to maintain current provision. In other words, the NHS needs an extra £2,000 from every household to continue functioning properly. On top of that, the government must introduce a cap on care costs to end the unfairness that some people who have to spend years in residential care end up with crippling bills while others pay nothing. That would cost about £6 billion a year. Such sums cannot be raised by trimming budgets or cutting costs — there needs to be a public debate about priorities.
  • A camino pilgrim was recently hit by a car in a notorious 'blackspot' just outside Pontevedra city. Given the numbers now passing through the city, this was pretty inevitable. Worryingly, there are said to be 11 such blackpots on the final stages of the various caminos as they wend their way through Galicia towards Santiago de Compostela. Naturally, there's talk of doing something about these. It might, though, need a death first. My Spanish friends tell me.
Finally . . .
  • A British couple say their baby's first word was not mummy nor daddy but Alexa . . .
  • I'm still still not getting Comments to my email. I wrote to Google about it last week. No reply yet.
© David Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 5.6.18

1 comment:

Perry said...