Thursday, October 13, 2005

Lawyers are not as prominent in Spain as they are in Anglo-Saxon societies. And it seems they don’t suffer from the same reputation. Driving home tonight, I heard a radio ad for a firm of lawyers which ended with the line ‘Trust me. I’m a partner.” The last time I heard the expression ‘Trust me. I’m a lawyer’ was by the Best Man at a wedding [mine, as it happens], where it got the sceptical laugh it was aimed at.

The Spanish President – Mr Zapatero – insists Catalunia’s demand to be called a ‘nation’ is not as problematic as some think. Indeed, he says he has at least 8 formulas for meeting the apparently opposing wishes of both the Catalans and the rest of the Spanish people. I heard one inelegant option being discussed on the radio tonight – ‘Catalunia is a nation constituted as an autonomous community’. If this is the best they can do, it strikes me they need a lot more lawyers here. Meanwhile, Mr Zapatero was booed by sections of the crowd at yesterday’s National Day celebrations in Madrid. Maybe they’d had advance notice of the 8 formulas.

The EU Justice Commissioner has warned there are 40,000 people in Algeria and Morocco waiting to launch themselves at the fences around Ceuta and Melilla. Perhaps they’ve heard today’s report that half of the 900,000 jobs created in Spain last year went to ‘foreigners’. Or that Mr Zapatero last year gave residence rights to over 700,000 illegal immigrants, a step that was immediately criticised by the German government as an open invitation for more of the same.

Talking of the North Africa enclaves, there’s been a couple of comments about these and Gibraltar. For what it’s worth, my own view is that history is irrelevant; that there’s no sustainable argument that differentiates between these three places; that all of them should belong to the lands with which they are contiguous; but that, in this day and age, this can’t be done until a majority of the local citizens agree. Likewise Northern Ireland.

Spain likes to think of itself as a non-racist country, albeit on the basis that whatever you say can’t be racist if you really don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. I was reminded of this attitude today when I saw a cartoon about the Ceuta/Melilla problem in El Mundo. The caricature of a black African could have been commissioned by Josef Goebbels.

For new readers – If you’ve arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, you might find my non-commercial guides interesting – at


Portorosa said...
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Portorosa said...

Colin, I'm afraid your 'geographical thesis' is a never-ending one. Almost every place is contiguous to somewhere. Maybe you think like that 'cause UK is an island? (just kidding).

Thinking what you think, Canary Islands would be Morocco next step, no matter their original population (not arabs at all, nor black people, but 'guanches')disappeared centuries ago.