Sunday, November 28, 2004

A demonstration in favour of the Valencian language brought 600,000 people onto the streets of Valencia yesterday. At least, this is the number claimed by the organisers. The city authorities provided the rather lower figure of 30,000. Perhaps the larger total included bystanders and those watching from their windows. Or perhaps it was just a misprint. Anyway, the demonstration was primarily aimed at the Catalan politicians who insist that Valencian is identical to Catalan. Addressing itself to one of the shorter of these, one poster read ‘Carod, you midget, Valencian is our language’. Even so, my guess would be that he could understand the message.

A front-page picture in one of the local papers today featured several smiling hunters and 6 of the 17 not-so-happy foxes shot during Galicia’s annual fox-slaughtering competition. The accompanying text had a good laugh about the ban just introduced on fox-hunting in the UK. But this attitude would, I suspect, pale against Spanish reaction to the account I read in today’s Telegraph of a man arrested and charged with the possession of a Swiss army knife. This was not because he was brandishing it in someone’s direction or taking the scissors out of someone’s back; it had been found in his briefcase during a random check of drivers going past some government building in London. As the violent crime figures in the UK continue to soar, it must be reassuring for London residents to know that the police who can’t do anything about burglaries are not wasting their time on frivolous form-filling. Or not just, anyway.

Talking of insanity – the average amount to be spent on Spanish kids this Christmas is forecast at 200 euros, or 143 quid. Mind you, they do get two bites at the cherry, Christmas Day and the Epiphany [or Feast of the Kings] on 6 January. It used to be one or the other, but you know what kids are. Sorry, parents.

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