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The Southern Pigs


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When Writing about the biography of Maradona I mentioned the rivalry between Britain and Spain. I have never realized that this superficial conflict is so deeply rooted. Recent incident: The Southern Pigs, an initiative of the FT. People who have read the article in Spain are not happy about it.

I had not found out about this article until someone here mentioned it. “The Financial Times compared Spain with a pig. " After reading the article I understand that the acronym PIGS stands for Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. These countries could be categorized as real pigs for they - and this is my interpretation - eat but do not run. “They will likely turn into bacon:"

Exciting countries get exciting acronyms, at least in financial circles. Fast-growing Brazil, Russia, India and China, for example, are called Brics, the very initials implying solid growth. Other countries are less fortunate. Take Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, sometimes described as the Pigs. It is a pejorative moniker but one with much truth.

Strangely enough, 30 days later, I read (yesterday) that Spain is praised all over; “Time for central banks to take Spanish lessons, " and “Santander steadily builds UK presence. "

The Spanish banks have experienced risks that others have not in their lifetime (one) and in case of Santander (two) it “hedged" the financial crisis with an opportunity in the UK. So to say.

Is the FT jealous?

True, the Spanish consumer tax is the lowest of the European countries and the corporate tax one of the highest. But things may change. I see more changes here. But it requires an open mind.

Obviously the FT is open, but also for a joke that attracts readers.

But the damage has been done; mention the FT in Spain and check what happens. In Spain people are proud; whatever the content of the article: they reject a title like that knowing it refers to them.

H. J. B.

© 2008 Hans Bool


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