Friday, December 05, 2003

You do have to feel sorry for the Spanish government at times. While it fights off determined attempts by the Basque country to achieve some sort of independence from Spain under the umbrella of the EC, it is also fending off attempts by France and Germany to reduce Spain’s voting power under the new constitution for the same institution. In short, it is fighting against shrinkage both internally and externally. President Aznar used to think he had Tony Blair as a friend and ally against the big beasts of the EC, a disappointment which he must share with quite a few people these days, as the chickens of Mr Friend-to-All head for the roost.

Incidentally, Spain is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its own constitution this year. And the annual Day of The Constitution falls next week. It is hard for a Brit to empathise with this, given that we don’t even have a written constitution and probably wouldn’t celebrate it if we did. It gives the impression that Spain is a young country and I suppose that, in some ways, it is. But not in essence.

I will have to check this out but, having heard it twice now, I feel my understanding must be correct. A local radio station takes questions and complaints about local government from its listeners. But, along with their queries, the latter are asked to send in a photocopy of their identity card. I have tried hard but I cannot think of any common sense reason why this would be required. Is it the best example yet of the mind set which arises once cards are introduced? I can’t imagine it is anything more sinister. Not these days.

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