24 January 2022: After Covid what?; Corruption; Speeding fines; & a Cultural difference?

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’


Post  Covid, will some or all of these (dragooning) practices remain,  albeit not as formal obligations?: 

– elbow bumping

– separate directional lines, up and down staircases or along corridors

– distancing

– masks

If so, will the incidence of infectious diseases such as flu fall? If not, why not?

Cosas de España/Galiza 

Corruption among politicians and industrialists has long been a blight on Spanish society. Indeed, this is the very theme of Paul Preston’s latest book – ‘A People Betrayed’. Here’s one example he cites from an age when the problem was even greater than it is now: In 1925 a Bilbao bank collapsed with debts of 92m pesetas. This was the result of administrative incompetence, irresponsible speculation and risky investments. Several senior bank officials had used deposits for their own ends. In consequence, large numbers of people were ruined. A judge – Pedro Navarro – was appointed to investigate the bank’s president, Juan Nuñez, and several directors who’d made fortunes out of the affair. Among those arrested were 3 friends of the King, Alfonso XIII. The son-in-law of one of these appealed to the king, who immediately summoned the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court and ordered him to release the 3 men. This he did and then destroyed the dossiers of evidence against them and punished Judge Navarro by having him transferred. Heavy fines that had been imposed on the accused were annulled by the Supreme Court. It was alleged that the King received 1.5m pesetas for his part in the affair.

Spain’s first 20th century dictator was Primo de Rivera, during the 1920s. Considered naive, two of his actions brought a smile to my face:-

– He tried to persuade the British government to swap Gibraltar for the Spanish colony of Morocco, and

– He publicly declared his intention to put a stop to the habit of bureaucrats telling everyone to ‘Come back to tomorrow’ – a practice which people still complain of a hundred years later. Hence this brilliant video.

Another bloody speeding fine, this time towards the end of my drive home on January 8, on a stretch which used to be 100, then 90 and is now 80. On the N634, just as you leave the A6. A perfect trap, in other words. As for the one in November, no loss of points. Just more revenue generation. A very mild form of corruption. Or at least low ethics.

Finally . . .

A Spanish friend has asked members of a whatsapp group not to send messages before 11am as: Me enseñaron, de pequeño, que no se llama por teléfono a una casa antes de las once de la mañana a no ser que se trate de una urgencia. So far, even other Spanish friends think this is taking things too far. Especially as there are several ways for him to avoid being disturbed by WA messages before 11.


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