Spain was such a gem, such a wondrous country. Why didn't they just leave the place alone? A Spanish friend explains: 'In Franco's time, there were maybe twenty close partners of the caudillo
, all squirreling away money as hard as they could go. Now, under democracy, there's maybe some twenty thousand senior and well-placed crooks all doing the same thing'. Well, no doubt he's right. But I think that Spain's fall came from vanity projects. Felipe Gonzalez and his high-speed trains - built at massive expense and designed to be used, not by the hoi polloi
, but by wealthy people. But that's Spanish pink champagne socialismo
for you. Compare your northern countries with us... look, we have the bullet train... and those 34 airports... and the cultural centres... and the toll road to Cartagena.
And the commissions and brown envelopes.
So now, thanks to an incredible run of waste, corruption, vanity, stupidity and the usual dash of racism, Spain is within an inch of going tits up.
The BBC has written a story about this which a reader has sent me this morning (together with a letter that I have inserted below, after the fold): Why Spain's regions owe so much money
. It doesn't scratch the surface.
I find that with each passing day, as the depths of Spain's problems are revealed, so too is the character of the Spaniards exposed. Their character is the cause of their problems and their inflexibility digs them deeper and deeper into a hole. Consider a few examples. First, take the collapse of the property market. Ireland had a similar problem, but unlike the Spaniards, the Irish tackled their problem straight on, and now they are getting better, while Spain is still reeling. Then there is the question of illegal houses, with innocent people, like the Priors, having, as always, to be the scapegoats. Spain's answer, of course, is to deny any wrong-doing, and, as the rest of the world watches, Spain finds some ludicrous and improbable alternative. And take the financial crisis. Again, things were covered up for a very long time and we still haven't got to the bottom. No transparency in reporting bad loans and lack of capitalization have led to things getting worse. There is capital flight taking place and the crisis is spreading. And even now, instead of dealing with the problem, the typical Spanish reaction is to say that they don't need a bailout, not from the EU, nor from the IMF. The list, unfortunately, is endless. They are arrogant, short-sighted and greedy to get themselves in this mess in the first place and then they completely lack the humility to admit to anything which would help them to get out of it. So, what is left to say, but, you deserve it! The only problem I have is that you took innocent victims in with you.
[ Entertainer Adm
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