Monday, December 12, 2005

Following the Catalunian example, the Galician nationalist party has prepared a revised Constitution which refers to the region as a nation. Not content with this, they’ve included a provision which expresses the aim that what are currently bits of Asturias and Castile y León will one day become part of Galicia, in recognition of their ‘historical, cultural and economic character’. Perhaps there’ll be an Anschluss next. Needless to say, the Presidents of Asturias and C y L have not responded too enthusiastically to this naked land grab. It’s at times like this that one wonders when Spain will enter the 21st century and stop playing these divisive games.

And talking of ancient practices …. My daughter is finalising the purchase of a flat in Madrid. This involves a mortgage and as, at 29, she’s not considered an independent adult here, I have to guarantee this. Astonishingly, things being so face-to-face in this very personal culture, I have to make a 10 hour round trip to Madrid to sign the relevant piece of paper. I have entered into hundreds of contracts in my life but this is the first time I’ve had to travel so that all parties can sign in the same room and at the same time. Dickensian is the word which springs to mind.

Mr Blair and his EU budget proposals continue to get a very bad press here in Spain but it’s warming to see one of two commentators saying it’s time Spain recognised it no longer deserves handouts from other countries and, in the interests of a larger, stronger Europe, should move gracefully to the status of a net contributor. Maybe so but I can’t see Mr Zapatero taking this line.

It’s amazing how lasting cultural symbols can be. It an article on the demise of the London Routemaster buses, one of the Spanish papers said they are as ‘emblematic of the city as one of the dense fogs coming up from the Thames.’ Hardly, given that the last of these must have been before the Routemaster was introduced in the 60s.

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