Thursday, September 07, 2006

The government of Catalunia has introduced new measures that will, it’s said, reduce the Spanish content of the primary school curriculum to about 10%, the same level as in the Basque Country. In both these regions the clear objective is to reduce the national language to the status of French, German or English. And it will surely succeed, doing nothing for the employment prospects of the kids in the rest of Spain. And probably harming Catalunia’s inward investment profile at the same time. But there will be no immediate damage and this is why these measures appeal to demagogic politicians blinded by petty ‘nationalism’. I guess we can expect to see them here in Galicia within a couple of years.

An interesting dichotomy of Spanish views from Jesus and Alex yesterday. I’m sympathetic to Alex’s comments but would pose the question - “Isn’t it possible there’s a connection between the low level of wages paid to young people and the fact that Spanish parents are notoriously indulgent to their adult children, allowing them to stay free at home until they’re willing to leave and even buying them a car or two along the way?” I appreciate this is a bit chicken and egg but companies will always pay the lowest wages they can get away with. So while there is a huge pool of people willing to take an uneconomic wage because they don’t live a really independent life, this is what they are going to do. The problem feeds on itself, of course, and I don’t see how the circle is going to be broken. In an Anglo-Saxon economy, young people are desperate to become independent and are willing to take the sort of extreme measures – flat-sharing, mortgage-sharing, for example – that Jesus refers to. And, frankly, they’re also prepared to work very hard to achieve independence. And to move from a comfortable home to somewhere else in the country/world in search of it. Can this really be said of most young adults in Spain?

I don’t think many Spaniards read their daily newspaper over their breakfast. Which is just as well for readers of El Mundo. Turning to page 32 yesterday, they would have been faced by a photo of five gruesome, body-less heads delivered as some sort of warning to someone in Mexico. Lovely.

So, Gibraltar is to become a member of UEFA and will play in tournaments such as the European Cup. I don’t think one has to be Spanish to regard this development as quite ridiculous. However, I’m now looking forward to being the ageing coach of the Wirral Peninsula international team in about 15 years time.

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