This blog rarely enters the dodgy realm of politics, but I just can't ignore the current situation in Spain. The national picture is perhaps best summed up by a recent BBC article on how corruption is rife at all levels of society. It's very much worth a read and you can find it here.
The story in Extremadura, however, is even bleaker. Down here in Spain's poorest region, all the national problems do exist, but they are also compounded. On a nationwide basis, the housing boom has come to an abrupt halt, waiting for an economic revival. Nevertheless, in Extremadura, that revival is inconceivable to us on the ground. The boom was fuelled by E.U. subsidies that have inevitably run out and are being diverted to other member states. We're now left with the ruins of a house of cards and few resources to rebuild the local economy on a stable basis.
There's a whole lost generation in the area, men in their thirties and forties without education who worked on building sites and made a lot of money a few years ago. Those few years seem a long way off! People have been surviving on their savings and their parents' pensions, but the endgame is now stepping up a gear. Row after row of boarded-up shops line the town centre of Almendralejo and units are for sale throughout the industrial estate, yet this is just the start. The problem's now gone beyond bickering politics, as the very fabric of Extremaduran society is starting to come asunder. I shudder to think what the next few months may bring.
There's a myth I've grown up with that the black notes are harder. "They're not," says my son, categorically, this evening. He realises that I am a pupil ...