Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Even the right wing press seems to think the recent parliamentary debate on ETA’s terrorism was a wasted opportunity. The blame for this goes to the leader of the opposition, for not displaying the slightest interest in any form of bi-partisan approach which isn’t preceded by total humiliation of the government. I suppose that, if focus group research [assuming there is any in Spain] reveals public anger at this, we will see a softening of the approach. Meanwhile, it’s felt ETA must be delighted at the political infighting around what to do next. In fact, this was much in evidence prior to the recent marches in Madrid and elsewhere, when all and sundry bickered and haggled publicly for days over what should go on the all-party banner.

The Spanish are not big internet buyers. The consensus is that [apart from a preference for doing everything face-to-face] this reflects not Luddism or even mere conservatism but a fear of being cheated. When you bear in mind the perception of fraudulent practices on the part of major companies such as Telefonica, this is hardly an irrational standpoint. And I guess this lack of trust was in evidence on a small scale last night, when the garage which replaced the sparkplugs in my car assured me the old ones were in a plastic bag in the boot.

The Spanish are famous for being very attached to their place of birth. I guess this reflects the fact most of them don’t move away from it. One of the consequences of this ‘localism’ is that short distances loom very large in the Spanish mind. I was reminded of this when I read that the family of Ana María Ríos had dismissed out of hand the criticisms of the people of Arcade, where she has her hairdressing salon. “We don’t care a jot,” they said, “as we’re not from Arcade but from A Canicouvo.” This turns out to be all of 5km or 3 miles away!

I now get 100 spam emails a day [36,500 a year!] to my Terra address. So I wasn’t surprised to read Spain is now one of the largest sources of this nuisance. This is because it’s not as common as it should be to install a firewall to stop your computer being used as a ‘zombie’ which regularly spreads spams to everyone in your address book.

Galicia Facts

The leader of the local government has said he’ll soon be proposing the draft of Galicia’s new Constitution which, in the Preamble, will use the word ‘nation’ but not go so far as to call Galicia one. As ever, I wonder at the fact that dancing on a pinhead appeals more to the local politicians than solving the region’s real problems. But I may be in a minority.

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