Sunday, September 19, 2004

Here’s a name you may never hear again or, on the other hand, eventually become heartily sick of – Niall Mason. This is a six year old English boy whose soccer skills are so outstanding that Real Madrid have signed him up. As a result, his entire family have moved to Spain so that his career can be properly fostered. Lucky lad.

Meanwhile, back in the Tower of Babel, the most separatist of the Catalunian political parties has rejected out of hand the suggestion that Valencian is a distinct language from Catalan. Presumably it doesn’t help their case for independence if Catalunia is seen to extend to the Balearic Islands and down the east coast of Spain.

A survey in the major cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia suggests that only 16 per cent of cars are complying with the new rule that children under three should be strapped into a special seat. So, no great surprise there. Unless, like me, you were expecting a figure of around 5 per cent.

Tension appears to be growing between the Autonomous Communities [regions] and Madrid over who pays for the cost of educating ‘foreigners’ who come to live in Spain. This seemed to me a strange thing for them to be fighting about until I realised that ‘foreign’ is a code word for ‘immigrant’, which is itself a code word for ‘North African’.

I read in Prospect magazine that 70 per cent of the viruses that have plagued the world over the last few months were down to a single German teenager. So I guess that the fact that he has been apprehended accounts for the fact that the plague seems to have receded recently. Let’s hope he has a long sentence. Or a high-paying job lined up for his release.

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