martes, 18 de mayo de 2010


Today, I received an invitation on Facebook to join one of those groups in which people gather to proclaim their indignation regarding a subject they will probably do nothing about in real life. Of course, most of these things are out of control for a common citizen, but I still get the feeling that, when you look at a demonstration, there are certain people missing that you would have expected to attend, given their passion for the cause when talking was all there was to it.

The reason it unsettled me was that I think I agree with the general message, but I am not sure everyone who joined that group did so for the same reasons. It is called "Indecent". It starts by quoting the Spanish Vicepresident, María Teresa de la Vega: "It is indecent that, with a -1% inflation rate and 4 million unemployed, there are still some people that refuse to raise the mandatory retirement to the age of 70." Then it goes on about what is actually indecent: minimum salary for an average worker on 624 /month VS minimum MP salary on 3996 /month, higher salary for council members of any small town than for an NHS surgeon or a University chair... etcetera.

Ironically enough, the quote is false. The Vicepresident has not even been misquoted: she just never said anything like that. The closest to these words actually came from a leading member of the Conservative Party, Esperanza Aguirre, over a year ago: "It is a scandal to see a raise in state workers' salaries, when we are on negative inflation and everyone else is struggling to make ends meet." Certain things are lost in translation, but Aguirre used the first person in the original Spanish quote, i.e. counted herself as one of those economically struggling citizens. Hah.

Be that as it may, I feel inclined to agree with the rest. Every time this subject comes up (politicians' salaries) I try to be careful and think of why things should be as they are. I understand that, given the present state of democracy, the job is not easy --at least psychologically. But I just can't see a justification for the difference in salaries. No compensation should reach those numbers. Eventually I tend to think that if things stay the same is only because no one who thinks otherwise will ever be allowed to make a career in politics. Who will rise within a party, locally, regionally or nationally, with such a dangerous idea? And at the same time I get the feeling that I might be missing an important point, and I'm just oversimplifying a complex issue.

I didn't join the group. Reading through the Wall, it was full of comments against the party in power, claims for the Glory of Spain and even the most unrelated, racist and uncalled for opinions about why the country is going through this economic Hell. I might share the concern for what doesn't look appropriate, but the fuck if I'm going to join anything with people like that in it.

lunes, 10 de mayo de 2010

"Fuck the EU"

There were at least three parties in the UK's last general election that openly criticised, up to some extent, the country's involvement in the European Union. One of them got almost 11 million votes. I'm not saying their views on Europe got the Conservatives 306 seats, but I'm sure they helped a bit.

So what's the deal with the EU? Why so much hate? Well, to start with many people in the UK feel it is unfair that they should be dragged down by weaker economies (Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy... there's something to olive oil that just doesn't go with money, I suppose), especially in such delicate times as these. The second reason, which one hears even more often, is that belonging to the EU implies complying with certain economic regulations that come straight from Brussels, and are in most cases non-negotiable. France and Germany take these inconveniences because, in the end, Europe is their baby. But what's in it for Britain?

Economically and selfishly, nothing necessarily positive, I'm afraid (though I'm massively oversimplifying). The main reason Britain should accept being European and let go of a huge amount of well-earned pride in their policies is that you might not want Europe as an ally, but you definitely don't want it as a competitor. Being one of the leading economies of the Union will be a pain in the arse most of the time, especially when they have to babysit Mediterranean countries after a number of right-wing governments sold their souls to the Market Allmighty. The alternative, however, implies leaving the EU and facing international trade not only alone, but with a giant right by your side beating every deal you attempt. And I'm not that sure the good old Commonwealth would be of much help.

The European Union, for better or worse, exists. It is time for Britain to decide whether it wants to fully commit and join the Co-op (yes, The Wire reference). Ambiguous positions are running out of time: stay put or fight the Beast, but stop complaining. As they say.

English, motherfucker!

(Jules Winnfield)

Well, I do. Sort of. So I thought that, given my natural inclination to not-shut-the-fuck-up, it would be nice to create a blog in English, see where that gets me. Good practice, and a place for me to display my very ignorant but nevertheless very daring views on life, politics, society and culture.

We do speak English in What.

P.S.: Some people abuse modesty (or fake it) by describing their opinions as 'humble' or 'sadly uninformed'. I don't. Mine are uniformed opinions. But that's where a better informed reader comes in.