The Guardia Civil are planning their usual festive crackdown on drink driving but in Spain unfortunately the crackdown is not hard enough. As far as I can remember, basically, by drinking two glasses of wine any normal person would be above the limit. While in Britain, known as a drinking nation, all drivers are very aware of the dangers of drink and driving and I don't think in Spain there is the necessary fear of being caught. The latest idea from the British police is to actually offer cash incentives to people who ring the confidential help-line to report some-one they suspect is over the limit. In Spain, fines for drink driving must be higher and drivers must know that if they are caught and prosecuted then their licence will be withdrawn. Naturally, it is nice to enjoy a drink over the festive period but the message must be got across, if you are planning to drink, leave your car at home. Thankfully Palma has a large number of taxis and relatively decent public transport network. Young people, who have just passed their test, should be encouraged to leave their car in the drive, but this is not solely a problem for the young, some older drivers are even worse offenders. The death toll on Balearic roads is alarming and a considerable percentage of these accidents are caused by drink driving. Now is the time to act but proper decisive action and a good deal of education for drivers is needed.

Let's have a great Christmas this year and try and keep the roads safe. No-one is trying to ruin the party but there is no place for over-the-limit drivers (and I mean those who are just slightly over) on the island's roads.

Jason Moore

Winning with money

He said it himself: “At some point you start to look obscene.” This was Michael Bloomberg talking earlier this year about the $30 million he planned to spend to win election as Mayor of New York. Yet this week he revealed that he had actually spent almost $69 million in his ultimately successful bid last month. This was easily a record for any municipal campaign anywhere in the United States and about half of what Al Gore spent nation–wide last year to nearly win the presidency. The difficulty about this kind of comparison, though, is that Mr Bloomberg did not solicit money from anyone else – unlike most presidential, gubernatorial and Congressional campaigners, he spent his own money. The nearest comparison is perhaps with Ross Perot (remember him?) who invested some $70 million in an effort to become president in 1992, most of which was from his own pocket.

A man, even a billionaire, is entitled to spend his money how he likes, within the law. But somehow the idea that Mr Bloomberg in effect “bought” the votes of a sufficient number of New Yorkers at almost $100 each does not seem much of an advertisement for democracy. And the fact that despite his lavish expenditure he only just managed to defeat his rival Mark Green (total spend, $16.5 million) suggests that he owed his victory to less to his policies and personality than to the power of TV advertising in which he invested heavily. There are frequent attempts to control election expenditure in the United States but no one has yet found a satisfactory way of doing it.



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