We are a rich country!
And just when I had forgotten all about it and was here thinking of how poor and downtrodden the Portuguese population seems to be these days, my cleaning lady refreshed my memory. We are indeed a rich country!
Every week, and most faithfully, my cleaning lady, who obviously thinks I am a very strange creature that needs to be informed of whatever important goes on in the world, leaves me a pile of society magazines on the kitchen table. Every week, and most faithfully, I leave the pile accumulate. When the pile is so huge I am ashamed to have it there for her to see I don't read any of that, I go through the pages of the top layer magazines just to be able to keep pace with her. All of this to say that: first, this news took me by surprise, second, this is probably something everybody (but a dumm blonde with some unspeakable phd) already knew.
And so, in one of those magazines about glittering lives of scandal and much philosophical thinking, I got to know an amasing reality: our Republic is one very glamorous institution!
In Britain, the monarchy costs each Briton 91.5 cents a year. So far so good. The British Monarchy has to attend the needs of representation in the Commonwealth, the Royal Family has many members and it is a centuries-old institution caught up in expensive traditions and rituals. No surprise here.
In Spain, each one of "nuestros hermanos" pays 19 cents a year to keep up the Monarchy. Nothing wrong here. The Spanish monarchs have only recently reasserted the throne and it is a low-profile Monarchy.
In Portugal, each one of us pays 1,58 Euros for the Presidency. Hold it there!
I confess that when I read this I turned on the thinking neuron and tried to get the logic of these figures (numbers that is).
"Ok, we've got to think proportionally. The Spaniards are 50 odd million and we are some thousands short of 10, it's logical we should pay more".
Relieved for having had an intelligent thought I went on reading.
The Spanish government pays the Monarchy 9 million Euros a year. The Portuguese government pays the Presidency 16 million Euros a year. Stop it there again! There's something fishy in here!
How come does the Spanish Monarchy, with all the official commitments of the Royals, survive on a budget of 9 million and our Republic needs almost double of that? Besides, how can a country of 10 million souls, less than a third of the Spanish territory, less diplomatic representation and protagonism and a crisis going on spend 16 million Euros on the Presidency?
Aren't we a rich, glamorous country?
P. S. - Who said we don't learn anything from society magazines?