October 27 2021: UK Covid; The AVE; Underrated places; Fake foolishness; Changing your life; Poland v the EU; & Other stuff

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops
Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’


There’s no doubt that, compared with Western European countries, the current UK case stats are awful. Though not when compared with Eastern European countries and, oddly, those of early poster-child Singapore. Here’s a view from the Right – The Times: In the EU today explaining Britain’s coronavirus performance is something of a Continent-wide sport. Once again, they look across the channel and see the sick man of Europe. Britain can complain that it tests more, or that it has simply made the same decision to open up that others will have to eventually. But there is no hiding that its hospitalisations and deaths are also higher. Other countries had a delta wave then crushed a delta wave. Britain kept its going. Already, though, there are signs that this EU sport might be coming to an end. In Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany cases are once again soaring. In Britain, they are tentatively on the turn. In the pandemic, as waves ripple across the globe, everyone has their time in the storm.

And here’s a view from the Left – The Guardian:- There are so many forces at work in a pandemic, operating on different timescales, pushing in opposite directions, that reliable predictions are a fantasy. But delve deep into the shocking data and there are, perhaps, some reasons for optimism. 

Here in Spain, masks are still compulsory in enclosed spaces and on public transport. Despite them not being obligatory in the street, at least 90% of folk still wear them. In the UK, where masks are only advisory in the street, hardly anyone seems to do so. And even when there’s an obligation on public transport, this rule seems to be far more honoured in the breach than in the observance. But opinion is divided on how relevant this factor is for the UK numbers.

Cosas de España/Galiza 

I’m writing this on the (excellent) train down to Madrid. We’ll be using the high-speed tracks and take just under 5 hours to do the 625km – compared with 7-8 hours only a few years ago and 12 hours on the night train. When it ran, pre-Covid.  The introduction of the AVE high-speed engines will reduce the time to three and a half hours. I’m looking forward to this happening ‘soon’. As, indeed, I was 20 years ago. Roll on the day. Meanwhile, here’s a nice video on the AVE kindly cited by reader Perry.

And here are ‘the most underrated destinations in Spain’. Which includes one place here in Galicia and, rather bizarrely, Madrid.

I’m ambivalent about folk for who pay a lot of money for forged paintings they think they’ll make a huge profit on. Mind you, the fakes need to be good and these apparently weren’t.

Want to change your life? Read this, someway down this page . . .Our ‘homo sapiens superpower’

The EU and Poland

Scroll down if of no interest . . .

1. Político: EU leaders may want to kick their rule-of-law rupture with Poland as far down the road as possible, but the dispute’s legal implications can’t be so easily ignored.

With a series of contested judicial reforms and a court ruling challenging the EU’s legal foundation, the Polish government may have set in motion a process that effectively decouples the country’s legal system from the rest of the bloc. And there are fears others will follow Warsaw’s path.


2. The Telegraph: Brussels will bully Poland back into line before long. As a beneficiary, Poland will have to do as it’s told if it wants to keep the money There’s been much criticism aimed at the Polish government for what the Eurocrats see as a political ruling. Yet the German constitutional court also ruled recently that a ECJ decision on the ECB was incompatible with its law and effectively declared itself the ultimate arbiter of EU law in Germany. However, there’s been no threat to discipline Germany, not least because as a net contributor to the EU’s coffers that would be self-defeating. . . Stand by for the EU giant once again to squash the upstart. One day the EU’s overreach will come crashing down. But not yet. 

It seems to me there are several issues:-

1. Who makes EU laws? Apparently not the parliament, the normal legislature in democracies. Probably the Commission.

2. The ECJ – a professed political body – clearly makes laws. Against these there’s no appeal or legislative opportunity to revise. Is this acceptable to all members? Clearly not.

3. Is the ECJ’s role lawful within the EU Constitution? Some say it’s not.

4. What are the consequences of rejecting this set-up? Greece: A flattening. The UK: Expulsion/Brexit. Poland: ???

5. Are the EU laws applied equally to members? Clearly not.

6. Is the ECJ sovereign when it comes to laws? Poland says not. And Germany has already said not.

7.What is the EU going to do to resolve these internal contradictions, which I’ve always seen as something that, if unaddressed, will cause its eventual collapse? 

I don’t have the answer, of course. But it’s above my pay level, as they say.

Social Media/Quote of the Day 

Enough of Facebook’s empty promises. It is way past time it showed that it is taking this matter seriously

The Way of the World 

If cultural appropriation really is a crime, shouldn’t the Scots be penalised for adopting the kilt from the Middle East? Or does the crime only arise in respect of cultures of ‘people of colour’?

Finally  . . . 

Email scammers get ever more inventive. Yesterday, I was told I’d been nominated for inclusion in Who’s Who . . . 

Trying to find accommodation for 6 weeks in the UK, I contacted Premier Inn, as they have a place near my daughter. The reply stressed: We are exceedingly busy currently and so will respond to you within 35 days. Please don’t respond to this email as it will extend the period of delay. I did reply, saying that, if it really was 35 days and not 3-5 days, any extension would hardly make a difference. They haven’t come back to me . . .

Kids again . . . On the first day at school, a boy handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, “The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents”.

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