Monday, January 03, 2005

So what did Galicia’s leading daily paper lead on for its first issue of 2005? The devastating tsunami in the Far East? The discotheque fire in Argentina that killed more than a 150 people? Well, No. It featured the New Year address of the President of the Galician government, who also happens to be the head of the local PP party. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised that the local papers somehow manage to survive on uneconomic readerships.

The traditional day for giving Christmas gifts in Spain is 6th January. Or Los Reyes [The Kings] as it is called here. What this means, of course, is that shopping continues until 9.30 on the 5th. One positive aspect of this is that Christmas Day TV ads still feature gifts and toys, rather than summer holiday options, as in the UK. Mind you, if they did, hardly anyone in Spain would regard it as sane to think that far ahead. Plenty of time for that in June.

Spain’s referendum on the EU Constitution is on 20th February. As Spain has been the biggest beneficiary from Brussells’ largesse, it’s hardly surprising that there’s no opposition whatsoever to the proposal. And to say that there’s no debate raging in the media would be an understatement of traditional British proportions. For one thing, the Spanish have a way with rules and laws which they find inconvenient.

Ageing relatives have traditionally been cared for at home in Spain, usually by one of the daughters. But, as the birth rate is now down to 1.1 child per family, there are fewer and fewer daughters around to take on this task. Something has to happen so it’s understandable that a majority of people are in favour of the State increasing taxes to fund greater State aid. Or so they say.

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