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Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain

Random thoughts from a Brit in the North West. Sometimes serious, sometimes not. Quite often curmudgeonly.

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 24 October 2020
24 October 2020 @ 13:42

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'* 

Living La Vida Loca in Spain/Galicia

Take a history of tribalism and then. on this base, design a café para todos Constitution which involves 17 Autonomous Communities, each with a President and a government, some of one party and some of another. Some supportive of the central government and some not. Some rich, some poor. Delegate wide powers to each AC, including the responsibility for healthcare. Then stand by and see how well all this works both before and - especially - after the arrival of an incurable, almost unstoppable fatal virus. Anyone surprised? A worse recipe would be hard to imagine. 

Spanish banks are rapacious, perhaps even more than in other countries. For my cash withdrawals, I believe I'm paying charges both to my bank and the banks whose ATMs I use, my bank not having any of its own, Lenox Napier has some choice comments on the banks here. And, in his latest Business Over Tapas, he cites this article from El Periodico on the banks' maltreatment of small customers.

Lenox also pointed me to this Guardian article on accusations of misogyny directed at the Prado.

A reader has kindly supplied interesting info on Spanish lawyers:- Comparing Spanish lawyers to lawyers in the UK is like comparing apples with pebble stones. In Britain, there is a specific exam that must be passed in order to qualify to become a barrister - for example. Not so in Spain. I do not know if in the UK there is anything extra required to become a judge, a notary or a simple solicitor. However, in Spain any of the elite professions require passing an "oposición". One must pass one of these exams in order to become a Juez, Notario, Inspector de Hacienda, Abogado del Estado, Letrado del Estado, Registrador de la Propiedad and so on - I don't know all them. These exams are horrendously hard to pass. Generally, only 3%-5% of those attending do pass. And they all have law degrees already. It is a sort of mandarinate, if you want. I reckon there is nothing in the UK comparable in the degree of difficulty and hardship that these exams entail. Absolutely nothing. Not that I consider this necessarily a good thing, or that I would recommend to anyone locking themselves up for years in a room just to memorise tomes and tomes of legalese, like a Rabbi learns the Torah. But this explains why ordinary lawyers do not enjoy much standing at the beginnig of their careers- they have to work themselves up their professional ladder by other means, and that might take years. I'll respond to this tomorrow, with some comments of my own.

Germany

Lenox yet again . . . My German step-mother would say 'A German joke is no laughing matter'. 

The USA

Finally . . .

Some excellent news . . . Tom Lehrer's marvellous stuff is available free here. I must dust off the piano . . . And take singing lessons.

And here's a web site dedicated to the unabashfully liberal comedy and political songwriter Tom Andrew Lehrer. 

 

* A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy it, unless you're a very religious Protestant.



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