My friend Fernando has written to say my Danelaw spoof is a bit unfair on the issue of language. This is rather ironic as I’m a ardent supporter of those who want to preserve and extend their language. I’ve learned, in my time, 2 or 3 of the world’s less useful languages and I like to believe that, if I was as Welsh as my full name suggests, I’d be fluent in both English and Welsh. So I have no problem with the Catalans, Basques or Galicians doing what they can to protect and further their respective languages. What I do object to, though, is this being done in a doctrinaire way at the expense of Spanish. When I first came to Galicia only 5 years ago, everything was in both Gallego and Spanish. Now it’s only the former and I’m not comfortable with this. Nor, I suspect, are many Galicians.
My other defence is that my tilt at language aspects of ‘nationalism’ stems from a very British disregard for august language Academies, whether they be French, Spanish or Galician. We just find them funny. A year or two ago, the Galician Academy announced that, henceforth, the Galician word for ‘Thanks’ would be ‘Graza’. Since then, I’ve heard this word only once and this was from the mouth of a character in a Galician TV soap opera, Pratos Combinados. All of which gives me the opportunity to say I had dinner with Maria Castro the other week. Not that this will mean much to most of you.
Another reader has advised that the stories of driving licence points being sold is an urban myth. This was also reported in today’s press. I certainly hope so.
Within only weeks of the ratification of their new Constitution, the Catalan president says he’s taking the Spanish president to the Constitutional Tribunal for exceeding his powers in seeking information on the distribution of subventions. The first of many such battles, I suspect. And it’s not as if Mr Zapatero wasn’t warned You makes your bed . . .