Monday, September 08, 2008

Austerity Begins At Home

Touched by the evident difficulties that the Partido Popular has been having in identifying areas of public spending that can be cut back to pay for their tax cuts, I've decided that South of Watford should come to the rescue. Our crack team of specialist investigators has come up already with some stunning results. You know that rumour that was circulating the other day about a well known Spanish intellectual and statesman? It was interesting to see that the statement issued in denial of the rumour came not from the great man himself, but from the foundation that he set up to propagate what I suppose we are obliged to call his “ideas”. This foundation is called La Fundación para el Análisis y los Estudios Sociales, or FAES for short. Now it turns out that the FAES receives a somewhat generous public subsidy from the Ministry of Culture, this year's figure is no less than €2,861,302.29. I'm not sure whether the 29 centimos is there just to distract attention from the rest. That's not bad for an organisation that dedicates its time to issuing statements on behalf of its founder, and reheating any neocon garbage they can find on the Internet.

You would imagine that PSOE might make something of this scandalous waste of public funds, but there is a slight problem. At number two on the list of political foundations receiving huge wads of public money comes the PSOE's very own Fundación Pablo Iglesias which gets a somewhat rounder figure of €2.8 million. Now it's possible that this foundation is the intellectual powerhouse behind the Zapatero project, but then why would Zapatero have entrusted former minister Jesus Caldera with setting up yet another think tank? Maybe the other parties could take up the issue? Alas, it seems that CiU, the PSC, the PNV, IU, ERC and even the BNG would all end up losing a bit of free cash.

Nevertheless, it's interesting to see further evidence that those who preach the idea of minimal government always seem to be first in the queue when it comes to getting public subsidies. So there we have it, the total amount saved by getting rid of these concealed subsidies to political parties is a bit over €7 million, which even allowing for my 10% commission for identifying the saving is still not a bad start. All Mariano has to do is call Jose Maria and tell him it's about time his foundation was exposed to the chill winds of market forces. It may not seem like much money compared to total public spending, but often getting started is the difficult part. Alternatively, and this is where we get really radical, instead of cutting the money from the budget the Ministry of Culture could use it for promoting the arts. For example.


andy m said...

I actually quite like Watford, my favourite Hotel in Watford is the Ramada, had a few great nights in there.

Graeme said...

I've got nothing against the place either, although I've never actually been there.

John said...

Would that be a piece of linkspam, intended to improve the search rankings of that particular hotel's website? It looks like it to me, given the words chosen for the hyperlink..

Graeme, you are being targeted by black hat SEOers.

Graeme said...

Yes, you're probably right. I can't see the point given that the hotel in question already has a high ranking in Google. Anyway, if I delete it now the comments won't make any sense and Blogger doesn't allow to edit other people's comments. Probably just as well.

John said...

Ah, but what fun you could have.