Monday, November 01, 2004

I collected just 300ml of rainwater on Saturday night [one mugful] but the weather has been stunningly sunny since then. And the tap water is still brown. Perhaps something will be done tomorrow, when consideration turns from the dead back to the living.

The new Socialist President, Mr Zapatero, has been presented with a ‘nice’ problem by the last one, Mr Felipe González. The latter, along with several other big hitters from the previous Socialist administration, have demanded a pardon for a Secretary of State Security jailed for mis-administering millions of Euros meant for anti-terrorist measures. Perhaps reflecting the times we live in, a survey in today’s El Mundo suggests that 52% of the population are against this, with only 19% in favour. More interestingly, 43% of those polled believe that Mr Gonzalez and his friends also had their hands in the till. If you want an almost-instant view of corruption in Spain, here it is – There is a lot of it around and everyone expects politicians, in particular, to be dishonest. But, as with parking offences down at the street level, the majority view is that, if you get caught, you should accept your punishment with grace and as much ‘nobility’ as you can muster. Unless you have well-placed family or friends.

Common sense over Gibraltar appears to be breaking out all over the place. Today’s El Pais welcomes the new conciliatory approach of the Spanish government, whilst continuing to see a British colony in Europe as an unacceptable anomaly. Naturally, it makes no mention of Spain’s two North African [“non”]colonies. Going one better, a columnist in the Voz de Galicia suggests that this is the first sensible thing done by a Spanish government vis-à-vis Gibraltar in several decades. He, too, has obviously been reading my blog.

Incidentally, after the low of a week or so ago, the hits to my blog have recently rocketed into the stratosphere. Well, relatively speaking. So, thanks to all of you out there. Eat your heart out, Manoel.

Strange happenings in my café today. One of the waitresses confided in me that – to my not very great surprise – most of the customers showed little consideration towards her. Especially the women. In fact, she suggested that they treated her like muck – or words to that effect. She then labelled them as snobs, badly educated and fascist. Any one of these is pretty bad in Spain but the combination speaks volumes for her state of mind. ‘Badly educated’, by the way, doesn’t actually mean what it seems to mean. In this case, the Spanish are using the word in its original Latin connotation of ‘brought up’. So it means ‘ill-mannered’. Needless to say, when she added, in a final flourish, that Spanish people as a whole are terribly inconsiderate of others, I had difficulty in restraining myself from citing more than just one of my own examples. At least her eyes, unlike those of my dear daughters, didn’t instantaneously glaze over. Maybe next time.

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