Well, the Galician weather Gods accepted my challenge and have draped us in the Atlantic Blanket for the last day of September. I guess it had to happen.
Talking of incessant rain - Over in Japan, Fernando Alonso told us before the race he and Hamilton might be ultra-competitive but were not kamikaze pilots. And then he promptly drove into a wall. It’ll be interesting to see if and how this becomes McLaren’s fault. In all fairness, I should say that, in a post-race interview, Alonso came across as more mature than he usually does. Perhaps Francis Bacon was right when he said “If miracles be the command over nature, they appear most in adversity.”
The good news today for Spain is that one of those internet surveys – albeit a voluntary one – confirms they’re right up there when it comes to having sex. Allegedly, 74% of folk here have intercourse once a week. In Europe, this is second only to Greece, where the number is 87%. This must be some compensation for the internet speed figures I noted yesterday, where Spain and Greece were at the bottom of the pile. Perhaps people here are so busy being nice to each other they don’t have time to worry about slow computers. As with me, of course.
The Spanish economy will grow by 4% this year but the relevant minister has warned that 2008 will see a figure below 3%. This is both impressive and worrying, at least for those who will lose out. In the here-and-now, property price falls are being reported for several of Spain’s major cities. In the case of Madrid, it’s the first time this has ever happened. So it must have come as a bit of shock for those who said it couldn’t. See here for details.
The biggest winners in the lottery that is the state budget for next year are Catalunia and Andalucia, who will receive investment increases of 21% and 25%, respectively. Some commentators have said this is no coincidence in an election year. Galicia’s increase will be 11%, which is below the national average of 14%. But the biggest loser appears to be Madrid, which is in the hands of the opposition PP party and which sees itself as a victim of punitive measures on the part of President Zapatero. Given that they’re getting no increase at all, this is understandable. Overall, though, the exercise does seem to endorse the dictum that you can displease all the people all the time. Especially in a country where every region jealously watches what is happening in all the others. And then demands the same as the best. Personally, it always amuses me that the principle of ‘solidarity’, which is frequently wheeled out here to justify Spain’s huge EU grants, is jettisoned when it comes to demanding pieces of the national cake. All politics are local, as they say.
You don’t need to live in Spain to know there are several regions around the world striving to achieve nation status. One of the oddest must surely be South Ossetia. This is currently part of Georgia but doesn’t want to be. Strangely, though, once it has thrown off the Georgian yoke, it aspires to being part of the Russian federation. Which must make sense to someone. Apart from President Putin, I mean.