Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 5.2.20

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.   
Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain  
The Spanish Economy
  • Many, many folk here might be struggling to get to the end of the month, and the unemployment rates might still be staggeringly high but the economy steams along at a rate - 2% last year - higher than nearly all other EU states. Details here.
  • Farmers, it seems, is one group of producers which is not at all happy with things. French-style protests are thus on the agenda.
Spanish/Galician Life
  • I spoke of Spain's many 'investigations'. Some topical examples:-
  1. Hard to believe this fraud, not least the ability to implicate colleagues. In English here.
  2. Ditto here.
  3. And here.
  4. Not to mention here.
Who says the Spanish aren't entrepreneurial?
  • In this article on  motoring offences by foreigners no stock seems to be taken of the fact that there are, for example, at least 3 times more Brits in Spain than Germans or French folk in Spain. For what it's worth, the top 3 offenders are: 1. The French; 2. The Portuguese (especially in Galicia); and 3. The British.
  • Talking of Brits . . . Spain might have had another record tourism year in 2019, but the Brits were 500,000 down on 2018.
  • Tim Parfitt, in 'A Load of Bull': The Mayte Commodore was an old established luncheon club usually packed with hundred of gold-rinsed yapping Spanish grannies. This took me back to the coiffured doyennes I noted at the Pontevedra concert a week or so ago.
  • Talking of Madrid  . . .  More, from El País, on those incredible low rents hanging over from the Franco era.
  • Yesterday, I mentioned a fundamental driving rule I observe. Here's The Local with some timely advice on this subject.
  • I've never smoked so had no idea the EU is about to outlaw menthol cancer-sticks. Seems right to me, if a tad draconian.
  • To my pleasant surprise, I've discovered some fado I can enjoy, even when not watching the rather attractive singer - Ana Moura - here and here. You'll note that Portuguese audiences don't get very excited, even when they're enjoying themselves. A quiet people. The exact opposite of their Iberian neighbours.
The UK
  • As feared, the Brexit trade deal options are now being seen - from the UK -  as either a Canada-style or an Australia-style deal. The latter appears to be the current code for a WTO-terms deal. Or, as it used to be called, a Hard Brexit. And so the pound has fallen back again.
  • Boris Johnson's latest speech on the subject was described by one scribbler thus: I don't think I've ever read such a disjointed, badly drafted speech from any prime minister as the one delivered by Johnson yesterday. Totally lacking in gravitas, the whole thing was an embarrassing muddle. Or, as Graham Lithgow put it, "Not to call Boris Johnson incoherent, but you'd get more sense out of a lethally intoxicated acid casualty attempting to recite the Gettysburg Address with a swarm of locusts in his mouth". Dear dog.
The EU
  • How it works on trade deals, and what it uses them for - without needing to bother about periodic elections of its government. Empirically, is one way of describing it, I guess.
The Way of the World 
Nutters Corner
  • Tesla: The stock price is just nuts. But wait… when something is totally irrational, just because it’s nuts doesn’t mean it can't get even nuttier. So the jury is still out on whether $940 a share this morning was the moment of peak-insanity, or if there's an even higher peak-insanity coming. More here.
  • Words of the Day:-  
  1. Correr: To run. cf. Corretear; To run around, like kids at a pool.    
  2. Chupóptero: Vampire; Bloodcucker; Sponger.
  • Boris Johnson was described yesterday as doing verbal flick flacks. This originally (per Thomas Hardy) applied to the sound of milk slurping in a churn. Now it also mean some sort of tumble in gymnastics, also known a flic flac, a flip fop or a back handspring.
Finally . . .
  •  A second startling (and belated) discovery I've made in the last week is that I like mild, smoked Galician cheese . . . Better late than never, as they say.


sp said...

Whenever members of the Guardia Civil are discovered to be breaking the law I am struck that the press never reports the name of the offender. Is this in case they wish to rejoin the service after a couple of years on probation? Perhaps it's related to the "respect" one of them demanded from my burping six year old son a while back. Shortly after that occurred the local station chief was arrested for drug trafficking and involvement in three contract killings. His predecessor had got into hot water for shooting his daughter's boyfriend. This is all anecdotal, as we don't know the names of any of these people.

Perry said...

The fortunes of Tesla are better observed than participated in. Reading the history of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 is instructive.

Tesla has similar problems as all the other EV manufacturers; supplies of cobalt & lithium.
By Elisabeth Behrmann, Jack Farchy and Sam Dodge
January 11, 2018

"Automakers may not have the luxury of choice as countries across the world ban gas and diesel engines to slash carbon emissions.

If each of the billion cars on the road were replaced today with a Tesla Model X, 14 million tonnes of cobalt would be needed—twice global reserves. Even a more realistic scenario for people to drive 30 million electric cars by 2030 requires output to be more than trebled, according to a study commissioned by Glencore from commodity analysts CRU Group.

The projections have made the lustrous metal, a byproduct of copper and nickel mining, into one of the most coveted commodities. Its price surged 128 percent in the past 12 months, in part because hedge funds including Swiss-based Pala Investments stockpiled thousands of tonnes of the stuff, which is used to power everything from mobile phones to home electronics.

“There just isn’t enough cobalt to go around,” said George Heppel, a consultant at CRU. “The auto companies that’ll be the most successful in maintaining long-term stability in terms of raw materials will be the ones that purchase the cobalt and then supply that to their battery manufacturer.”

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Métalectrique is authentic.