Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Second post of the day . . .

Well, it didn’t take long for the public to confirm my perception that the opposition leader’s “Grovel or Die!” strategy during Monday’s parliamentary debate on ETA terrorism had been OTT. The right-wing paper El Mundo today reported that far more people thought President Zapatero had won it than Mr Rajoy. A sympathy vote perhaps, as 70% thought Mr R had been the more aggressive. Actually, it all endorses my impression that, whilst the Spanish love to argue, shout and even insult, they’re uncomfortable with what they see as personal attacks. Where the line lies, I couldn’t really tell you. But I can say an aggressive Scouse humour doesn’t always go down well. But, then, it doesn’t in London either.

Talking of polls, there’s a lot of them at the moment around Scotland and the UK union. Perhaps the wisest comment on these has been that they’re being mis-read. It’s not that the English really want the Union broken up via Scottish independence; it’s that they’re fed up of listening to Scottish moans and demands whilst being subsidised by English taxpayers and whilst the British government is largely in the hands of expat Scots. In Spanish terms, it’s as if the rest of Spain was subsidising belligerant Catalunia and the Spanish President and three-quarters of his cabinet were Catalan. If it takes a separate English parliament to bring an end to this situation, then this is what will happen. Probably as a modified form of Westminster. Eventually. Meanwhile, interesting times.

At the risk of generating more angry messages from Galicians [or Galegos] around the world, I venture to say the trouble with nationalistic movements is not that they’re naively idealistic but that they’re depressingly divisive. And – as the Scots would find if they really did leave the British Union – usually self-damaging. But this is not to deny anyone their right to say things as daft as ‘Economics don’t matter. What’s really important is that everyone speaks perfect Galiz’. As defined by the writer, of course.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the first thing a freshly seperated nation will do is joining the European Union and embracing the Euro.

Anonymous said...

...and the real symbol of nationhood.... a Galician entry to the Eurovision song contest

Carlos said...

By all means, it is absolutely daft to say that "economics don't matter." I wonder who could reach such levels of idiocy... Probably a furibund independentist slobbering red (= Marxist) foam from the corner of his mouth.

Tut, tut, tut, Mr. Davies.

It would appear to me that you draw too many hasty conclusions on the reality of Galicia from your immediate circle of acquaintances in Pontevedra -from what I hear, not very representative of Galicia as a whole. You may not have perceived it yet to its full extent, but a nationalistic feeling, in various degrees of intensity and adopting different manifestations, PERMEATES Galician society. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the private property of the extreme left nor of independentists.

Some of your comments on this issue are quite disparaging, and I would dare say that many (if not a majority of) Galicians, would take exception to them as insensitive to say the least. Perhaps you are not aware of this fact, or perhaps you could not care less in which direction you fling your venomous sting.

A feeling of separate national identity (and language as the vessel that best contains it)from a larger political entity cannot be explained to those who do not feel it. As simple as that. You will never feel what I felt when my father told me he had to learn to speak Castilian in order to find employment... Right after I had bent over with laughter at a girl who spoke Galician. To this very day, Galician speaking parents speak in Castilian to their children, as they regard it as the language of the underclass.

Is my stance in oposition to economic progress? Little to do with it, but, actually, if you ask me, only proud nations find the oomph to push ahead.

You may find it surprising, but I actually speak mostly Castilian Spanish without an accent.