The other day, Ben at Notes From Spain published a self-styled 'rant' about not being able to find a smoke-free restaurant near his house in Madrid. Ben, along with many other English commentators here, is firmly 'anti-smoke' and makes the case for a further tightening of anti-smoking legislation in Spain, partly because the current legislation seems to be so poorly enforced. Ben's post soon attracted numerous comments including one from myself and several from some rather vociferous pro-smokers.
As someone who likes the odd smoke, I'm not really bothered by having a bit of it around when I'm eating. Obviously, the finest restaurants we go to don't allow smoking inside – and this is also fine by me.
So the first poll of 2009 is about smoking in public. What do you think about it? As usual, you can answer the poll to the left >>* and feel free to leave a comment as well.
Updated: sorry, I forgot the link to Ben's blog post.
Updated again: *And no, this was not some mind trick. I meant to the right, but I was thinking about the left sidebar. Too much smoking, perhaps
We returned from Australia on Sunday and have been busy relaxing and working since then. More on the trip at a later date.
Another heart-warming story about how mental Esperanza Aguirre is. It seems that the deputy mayor of Madrid, Manuel Cobo, and one or two other key PP officials in the Comunidad Autonoma have been spied on by a secret unit set up by Aguirre's security ape, Francisco Granados.
Cobo was allegedly followed for six months by retired Guardia Civil officers who compiled complex dossiers on him and Aguirre's deputy,Ignacio González.
The deputy mayor filed a lawsuit yesterday, seeking to identify who's behind the surveillance. Meanwhile, Aguirre's office is complaining that the allegations are nothing more than a plot to 'attack and demolish' Aguirre herself.
Call me biased but I'd be highly surprised if Aguirre (and possibly Aznar's FAES) weren't 100% behind this latest incident of shady PP politics. Aguirre's campaign to be named the next party leader (even if it means splitting the PP in two) will apparently stop at nothing. Or is this just about Caja Madrid?
Oh, and Graeme has a story about El Mundo tricking another PP official into posing for a series of 'seductive' photos, and thus drawing criticism from within the party. Caution: highly explicit descriptions.
Sadly, it seems that the Guardian's predictions were accurate: the invasion was obviously going to happen. As usual, the leading liberal democracies are backing an illegal invasion (quietly in public, slavishly, no doubt, in private).
I wish I could attend one of the demonstrations going on around the world but it doesn't look likely. If anyone has any reports from the demos, I'd love to hear them.
[Written on highly expensive Internet access from monsoonal Darwin]