Monday, November 26, 2018

Thoughts from Cologne, Germany: 26.11.18

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. Garish but informative.

Matters German
  • Anyone who thinks that the German rail system – a public/private monopoly – is more efficient than the UK private system should perhaps do some travelling here. That's not my impression after listening to people who live here. Of course, it is cheaper. But this wouldn't be difficult.
Matters Spanish/Galician
  • Another of those 'none-rape' trials in Spain has led to more - highly justified - demonstrations against the country's much-in-need-of-reform laws on the subject.
  • Madrid, it's reported, manged to anger most/all of the other 26 EU members over its Gibraltar-related veto threat. Not that this will worry the Spanish government, which is said to be 'gloating' over its diplomatic success in getting Mrs May to say that they wanted to hear. And who can blame them? Whether it really means anything is another question.
  • Spain's macro-micro dichotomy . . . The 2 very different real estate markets - the result of the introduction of the politically-driven euro, ridiculously low interest rates, an influx of German and French cash and the inevitable phony boom driven by excess construction and rapidly rising property values. See here on this, after this taster:- Travel a little beyond the bustling centers, to the outskirts of smaller villages, and ghost towns still litter the landscape - once ambitious developments, often started on agricultural land that was [often corruptly] converted into building lots just before the crisis hit. They still stand half finished, unable to find a buyer.
  • Here's a delightful map of the Roman roads of Iberia.
The EU/UK/Brexit
  • The U.K.’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, has succeeded in what she set out to do. She has brought the country together. Politicians of all colours, along with their supporters, are at last in full agreement. They are united in their hatred of Mrs. May’s Brexit deal. And with reason. It is a terrible deal. Full rationale for this statement here.
  • So, there were, after all, 3 documents, not just the Withdrawal Agreement/Treaty and the Political Declaration. The third document comprises several 'side declarations' on the issues – such as fishing – on which EU states will be taking a hard line. See here on this.
  • And it's not only the Spanish Prime Minister - who is in a weak position and who has an electorate to please, or at least mollify - who is using the leverage granted by the Brexit negotiations/would-be-deal. As Sky News puts it: Spain and France have exposed the brutal reality of Brexit for UK. Indeed, M Macron has already threatened that France will use said leverage in respect of fishing rights in 'British' waters. As has been noted, these pre and post Sunday summit interventions by Spain and France were not calculated to make Mrs May's task in getting the deal through parliament any easier. Quite the contrary.
  • Sticking my neck out, I'll predict that – when historians, and even politicians, look back at 2018 – they won't see this as the finest day in the the EU's history - whatever the British response ultimately is to being so royally shafted. And then shafted again in the years after 2018.  To those who say it was all so inevitable and predictable, I'd reply: Only because Mrs May pandered from the outset to the imbecilic Brexiteer fanatics like Johnson et al. And then made disastrous tactical and strategic mistakes in her negotiations. Perhaps because her heart - as well as her brain - wasn't in it, and her superordinate goal was to ensure the British had their - ridiculously entitled - People's Vote - and decided to stay in after all. I'd certainly vote for that, in preference to the deal she's crafted.
Brexit: What's Next???
  • WTF knows? But try this and this, if you really want to know what the full rane of possibilities is.
Finally . . .
  • If you access this blog via a reader such as Feedly or The Old Reader, you'll have discovered that my blog stopped appearing in these in August in some cases and October in others. I might have fixed the Feedly problem but not that of The Old Reader etc.. In these cases, a Google search, a Bookmark or going direct to my URL – – are your options.
  • Of course, if you gave up on my blog when it no longer appeared in the reader you were using, you won't be reading this comment . . .
  •  BTW, Feedly used to say I had 97 'followers'. Now it says I have just one, presumably reader Geoff. Who was good enough to alert me to this situation. Oh yes, I've added a Feedly button on the right of this blog, which appears to work correctly, after several abortive attempts with various 'RSS feeds'. Any readers who once used Feedly but had recourse to other access options after my blog's disappearance can now return to it. I hope.
© [David] Colin Davies


Joao Lisboa Pacheco Barbosa de Lima said...

"Eu vou comer no "sopas dos Pobres" tudos os dias! Portugal e um pais pobre... ignorancia faz parte da minha cultura portuguesa!
PORTUGAL e uma merda e verdade e verdade! Nao trabalhos pa os Velhos e os Jovems...e verdade e verdade! E racismo puro e muito desgraciado!"
que va fazer no governo do Portugal agora? Nao se, nao se....cambios muitos, muitos importantes por que nao esperanca agora com tuda pobresa em Lisboa e o resto dos povos!

Perry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Perry said...

Anonymous Joao Lisboa Pacheco Barbosa de Lima said ...According to Google:

"I'm going to eat in the" soup of the poor "every day! Portugal and a poor country ... ignorance is part of my Portuguese culture!
PORTUGAL and shit and truth and truth! Do not work for the Old and the Young ... and truth and truth, and pure and very unhappy racism! "
What are you going to do in the government of Portugal now? I do not know, I do not know .... many, many important changes, because we do not hope now with poor people in Lisbon and the rest of the people!