Saturday, November 09, 2019

Thoughts from Heald Green, Cheshire, England: 9.11.19

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.   
                  Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain
Spanish Politics
  • Plenty of articles on Spain's predicament(s) and tomorrow's elections, of course:-
  1. A nice one from Bloomberg.
  2. Below, The collapse of old certainties. The reference to the disgusting wave of PP corruption reminded me that this has now been published in Spanish. But we'll have to wait until January for the English version. How poorly Spain has been served by its politicians down the ages.
  3. Político on Spain's political deadlock
  4. Your elections lexicon from The Local.
 Spanish Life 
  • Here's The Local on how to tackle the winter like a Spaniard.
The USA
  • Good news for some of us. And some warnings.
  • I sometimes wonder if the choice in the USA is between insane people on the Right and equally insane people on the Left. Much as in the UK right now, I guess. Though perhaps slightly less insane at each end of the UK spectrum. Except for Jeremy Corby. Oh, and John McDonnell.
The Way of the World
  • To her nearly 700,000 followers on Instagram, Clemmie Hooper came across as a bubbly mother of four with an idyllic jetset life and a close-knit group of friends. The 34-year-old midwife-turned-‘mumfluencer’ used her Mother of Daughters account to share envy-inducing images of sun-drenched holidays and scenes of wholesome family life in her perfect Ramsgate home, interspersed with intimate confessions about marriage and motherhood. However, she has now revealed a darker side to the seeming perfection as she admitted she has been living a parallel life as an abusive troll, anonymously attacking other bloggers - and reportedly even her own husband.
  • When I was at school we were taught that a 'true fact' was a good example of tautology. Now it isn't.
Social Media 
  • Google is making tens of millions of pounds from scammers who are using its search engine to lure savers to invest in high-risk or potentially fraudulent schemes, a Times investigation has revealed. The tech giant is taking huge fees for promoting accounts from unscrupulous companies that advertise eye-catching savings rates aimed at those looking for the best cash Isas.
Finally . . .
  • This is a distillation from an article entitled How not to catch a cold: the food rules:-
- Grandma was right, chicken soup really does work
- Up your zinc by eating seeds, nuts, wholegrains and seafood
- Yoghurt can ward off a cold
- Eating berries can boost your immunity by a third
- If you do catch a cold, you should try a warm blackcurrant drink.
- Orange juice isn’t as effective as you think
- Add fresh ginger to your cooking
- And take these supplements - Zinc and Vitamin D. But don 't bother with echinacea

OK, this is food advice but surely the main rule is: Avoid people . . .

THE ARTICLE

Spanish election: Old certainties that bound nation together are under threat: Isambard Wilkinson, Times

Exhuming General Franco’s body a fortnight before tomorrow’s election could act as a metaphor for Spain’s political crisis. After the fascist’s death in 1975, Spain passed a constitution that steered it from dictatorship to modern democracy. “After that Spain had the best four decades for 300 years,” Salvador Illa Roca, manager of the Socialist Party’s campaign in Catalonia, said.

However, that consensus is being challenged and there are fears that the relative harmony of the post-Franco years may be ending as, like El Caudillo’s remains, the old pacts that held Spain together are being dug up and their status reassessed.

Mr Illa points to populism and the collapse of centrist parties in Europe as part of the reason for the upheaval, but others are unique to Spain. Buffeted by one of its worst political crises since 1975, the country is riven by separatist protests in Catalonia and a rapidly rising far right.

Disillusion with the political system has grown as voters go to the polls for the fourth time in as many years.

As well as mirroring political trends elsewhere in Europe, “the combination of Spain’s economic crisis from 2008 to 2014 and a wave of corruption scandals was politically toxic,” Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca, a professor of social science at the Charles III University of Madrid, said.

That led, he said, to the Indignados anti-austerity movement in 2011-15, new parties and, arguably, the Catalan crisis.

As the economy slows and much-needed economic and social reforms stall, experts disagree about the damage done by the political impasse. “We have a left wing-government ruling with the budget of the [centre-right] PP and yet we are not doing that bad economically,” Ignacio Torreblanca, of the European Council on Foreign Relations, said. “But essential reforms in pensions, education, digital, climate are being postponed and if [a] crisis hit, budgetary cuts will be needed and it’s hard to see how Pedro Sánchez [the acting prime minister] would get a budget approved.”

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