Although most Spanish regard themselves as at least nominally Catholic, the Church is not the most popular institution in the country. In fact, it usually comes off even worse than banks in the regular surveys of popular attitudes. Today El Mundo advised us that 47% of the population believe the Church assisted Franco right up to the end. Which explains a few things.
The latest example of language fascism to come out of Catalunia is a proposal that immigrants [meaning people like me] should not be allowed to vote in local elections unless they can show capability in the language [meaning Catalan, of course. Not the national language]. This has been summarily rejected by Madrid but I feel safe in forecasting it won’t be long before something just as asinine comes along.
A reader has asked what I think of British trains, pointing out that, in the last 20 years, 90 people have been killed in crashes in the UK, against only 59 in Spain. Well, the first thing to note is that grossing up for population differences, the totals are virtually identical. That aside, I’m not sure my comments can be anything but a limited personal view. The local trains between Pontevedra and Santiago are excellent but slow, while the Liverpool underground trains are old and dirty. The day and night trains from Pontevedra to Madrid are fine but slow, while the Virgin trains from Liverpool to London are fine and fast. I’ve never experienced the AVE but it looks excellent, while the UK is still waiting for high speed trains of this calibre. Except, of course, for the excellent London-Paris Eurostar, which can go very fast but only does so when it gets to France. Basically, I’d say it’s quicker by train in the UK but just as dangerous. Or, if you prefer, just as safe.
The Xunta has earmarked 100m euros to compensate those hit by the recent fires. Of this total, 13m will be spent ‘quickly’ on those most adversely affected. I hope they’ve got their multiple photocopies of everything ready.
5 townships in the Pontevedra province had over 40% of their surface area burnt.
The 1230 hectares destroyed by fire in August represent 97% of the 2006 total todate.
On some days, as many as 300 fires were burning.
Finally - I’ve mentioned fly-tipping before. As I live in a pijo [snob] area, you’d expect our local activity to be rather upmarket. And so it is. Here’s a photo of the new wall being built opposite my house. As you can see, someone has decided to contribute a white plastic table as part of the in-fill behind it.