First Catalunia and now Scotland. There’s a new political party being formed there to defend the Union between Scotland and England, currently under threat from the Scottish Nationalist Party. The leader of the new entity – talking about the effects of devolution of power to the Scottish parliament – has commented - "Two-thirds of 14-year-olds fail national reading standards and half fail writing standards. One in four Scots work for the public sector. A crime is committed every 78 seconds. We have the highest infant mortality in the western world. A £20 billion subsidy from England keeps us afloat. We anticipated excellence. We have been offered only ineptitude." Given the opportunity, this is surely the direction in which our local ‘nationalist’ party [the BNG] would take us, with the added objective of ensuring no Galician kid spoke good Spanish.
Talking of language - I got lost in town yesterday trying to find a street called Cruz Roja, or Red Cross St. I was sure I knew where it was but the sign said Cruz Bermella. Asking in a shop, I learned this was Galician for Cruz Roja. And I got to wondering why ‘bermella’ was similar to ‘bermeja’, which I‘d come across down in Andalucia, meaning red. And then it struck me that the link must be the Latin root of the word ‘vermillion’ in English. Anyone got a better theory?
A 14 year old English boy has sailed across the Atlantic single-handedly, which is an astonishing feat. Commenting on it, one writer put her finger on the insanity in British society to which I occasionally allude - Michael is one of the lucky ones. Our risk-averse society denies so many children even the most benign of challenges. Activity holidays, camping trips, even school trips, are being phased out because of health and safety concerns. And parents - cheered on by no-win, no-fee lawyers - seek financial redress for the slightest mishaps to their offspring.
The interior of Galicia is continuing to lose its population. Clearly, not enough Brits are buying ruined houses up in the hills of Lugo and Ourense.
Finally - It seems that, no matter how much proof-reading one does of one’s own stuff, it’s never enough. Things always slip through. So, my apologies to those readers who got ‘Jack and Oliver’ in yesterday’s blog, when it should have been ‘Jack and Olivia’.