Thursday, December 09, 2004

There’s an interesting saga being reported in the Spanish papers. A ex-Minister called Vera was sentenced to jail months ago for diverting funds intended for national security measures but is still free. The last Socialist President, Mr Gonzales, is seeking a pardon for him but the new one, Mr Zapatero, is refusing to play ball. He has referred the case back to the court, which - while pondering this larger issue - has now pronounced that Mr Vera will be allowed to spend Christmas with his family. He is said to be considering a hunger strike but one can’t help wondering whether his previous threat will prove more effective, viz. that he will spill the beans on which other grandees had their hands in the till. We await developments.

The Madrid bombings of March this year are being investigated by a special Commission. This is close to publishing its findings but I don’t suppose the members were either surprised nor disappointed to read the results of a survey about the public’s expectations. Asked about whether they thought the truth would merge blinking into the daylight, the respondents gave the following confidence ratings:-
From the government 10%
From the Commission 13%
From the judiciary 22%
From the press 35%
Nice to know that it hasn’t all been an expensive waste of time, characterised by blatant political posturing on both sides. The Spanish are quick learners when it comes to democracy.

But to be positive – yesterday saw the successful first meeting of the new tripartite Forum focused on the eternal problem of Gibraltar. Hard as it is to believe, the participants dealt with day-to-day issues such as access to the airport which the Brits illegally built in the buffer zone. And not on ethereal questions as to who’ll have sovereignty and how this will be defined.

Someone has dipped into 35 of my previous blogs today. I don’t, of course, know who it is but am hoping that a publisher has finally made a serendipitous find. Meanwhile, I am pathetically grateful, even if it’s my mother.

Isn’t life odd? In one of those ‘Favourite Book’ lists which appear this time of year, I read about a novel by a Persian author called The Blind Owl. When I was in Tehran in 1974, I attended a performance of a modern symphony with the same title. It was cacophonous crap. The next day, I read a short review I wished I’d written.... “Last night I attended a rendition of ‘The Blind Owl’. What a shame it wasn’t deaf as well as blind”.

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