Monday, 25 March 2013
Car Crazy Spanish Practices
There’s an interesting take on the role of the car in the fiscal crisis of the state in Spain, in Private Eye (8.3.13). In the article Letter from Madrid, the following appears,
"One former government advisor recently described Spanish politics as being driven by an 'extractive class' which is out of control in the pay and perks it demands from state coffers. Within the system there are fewer symbols more potent for example, then an official car. Far from being confined to a few Cabinet ministers, thousands of Spanish politicians enjoy, literally, a free ride. Popular anger hit a new peak when official figures revealed that there are around 22,500 official cars in Spain. Nearly 1,000 belonged to central government, 11,000 to local town halls and 10,000 to regional government. The estimated annual cost of keeping this fleet of privilege on the road is more than €1.2 billion.”
Other than the sheer scale of this, a couple of thoughts spring to mind: First, it would be interesting to see how Spain compares with other countries. Second, since the personal is political, how likely is that politicians who enjoy such state subsidised support for their motoring (which we pay for) will come up with policies that favour rebalancing of transport policy away from the private car?