Thursday, April 21, 2005

Right on cue, I read last night of a young man being prosecuted for driving down the wrong side of the A6 autopista while blind drunk - at 5.30 in the afternoon. He was jailed for 6 months and had his licence withdrawn for 15 months. Or 9, in practice.

On Monday evening, Sky News told us that 1 billion Catholics were waiting anxiously for news of the papal succession. Then, yesterday morning, they reported that 1.1 billion Catholics were rejoicing at the election of PapaRazi. Boy, these people know how to celebrate. And with what precision of timing!

The Spanish press certainly couldn’t be accused of under-covering the events in Rome. El Pais yesterday devoted its first 12 pages to the story, followed by its Leader and Opinion pages in their entirety. I couldn’t bear to check El Mundo. Let’s hope that this Pope defies his age and ill health and lives long enough to allow us all to recover from the hysteria of the last few weeks. It would certainly help if he could refrain from making himself as much a celebrity as the last one. And spend more time praying, would be the suggestion of this lost soul.

The government of Catalunia has demanded that its status be changed from that of un nacionalidad [‘an autonomous region’, according to the dictionary] to that of un naciĆ³n, or nation. I wonder what next year’s demand will be. Its own embassies in Brussels and Madrid, perhaps.

Back down on earth, I read yesterday the first report I can recall of someone suing a local council after they’d tripped over a paving stone. Whatever happened to the old Spain where the very thought of taking a local authority to court was too laughable for words? Is this the thin end of the wedge of a litigious society? Are we now to be visited by a plague of lawyers? Perhaps there’s time for a Papal indulgence. A fenestra of opportunity. We can but pray.

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