Monday, February 19, 2007

Down in Andalucia – where they don’t have any Nationalists or even nationalists – the new Constitution yesterday received overwhelming support from the 36% of the populace who could be bothered to turn out to vote in the referendum. Thus are things quickly and easily done. Though one is rather left wondering why it was all necessary in the first place. Presumably the local politicians, at least, felt it was a higher priority than tackling the corruption for which the region is internationally infamous. Perhaps they should ask the voters for their opinion on this as well.

UK newspapers today report scientists have stumbled on weight-reducing properties in a drug already approved for other things. I would guess, though, this is not the “Incredible discovery, ‘Bio-Night’” featured in a full-page ad in yesterday’s Spanish press. Here, there’s absolutely no hint given of what Bio-Night actually is, merely a long list of truly outrageous claims, including the inevitable assertion that it ‘has been scientifically proven’. And that, miraculously, it ‘works while you are sleeping’. Like the English-teaching scams of a few years ago, this plays to the very Spanish need to achieve something very difficult while investing minimal to nil effort. The manufacturers clearly know what they're doing but, needless to say, a Google search quickly endorses the suspicion the ad is illegal, not to say massively immoral. The Federation of Consumers in Action cites the relevant laws broken and criticises the national and regional governments for their inaction. Need I say the marketing company is based in Andalucia? And my guess is Bio-Night is merely a diuretic that rids you of surplus water, so giving the impressive initial results you crave. Time to promote my one-page book on the subject, entitled “Eat less, exercise more, you gullible cretin”. Well, one line really.

I learned yesterday – from a BBC podcast – that the French ‘Department’ of Corsica has a nationalist movement prone to setting off the occasional bomb. Listening to the history of the island, it wasn’t difficult to sympathise with aspirations for independence. This got me to wondering why I didn’t have this instinctive sympathy for either Catalunia, the Basque Country or Galicia. I decided it was something to do with geographical integrity. So then I wondered why this didn’t apply in the case of Kosovo, where again I find it easy to be sympathetic to a desire for secession. So I concluded that – notwithstanding their well-established capacity for generating hugely varying perspectives - historical, linguistic and/or religious factors must somehow come into the equation. And, at this point, I wisely decided to abandon the search for overarching principles giving an easy answer to this intractable issue. And to leave it to people such as Xoan Carlos who find this no problem at all - even if their answers are unconvincing to most of us. Perhaps the secret is that you merely need to have international support for your case. By this token, the Spanish candidates for independence have a way to go. And an absence of majority support in your own backyard is probably not a good basis on which to seek this external endorsement. Il faut cultiver notre jardin, as Voltaire once put it. Final thought - these days, having Islam as your predominant religion would probably help. Time to increase immigration to Galicia?

Galicia Facts

One of the councillors arrested in Gondomar has admitted he took bribes for building licences but insisted his pockets were not the intended resting place for the cash involved. We await more details with great interest. Assuming he doesn’t have a road accident.

Taking a leaf out of the book of French farmers, who cut off access to English Channel whenever they have a domestic beef, residents of the Portuguese border town of Valença yesterday blocked the main bridge to Spain. They’re upset about the night-time closure of their emergency medical centre. Among the refrains chanted was ‘We’d be better off if we moved this town to Spain’. Well, from a health point of view, they’d certainly be able to buy miracle slimming drugs.


Xoan-Carlos said...

I think more people would be sympathetic to the Basque nationalist cause (successionist or otherwise) after reading some of the accounts of the bombing of Guernika, which unlike any other bombing in Spain during the civil war was a direct attack on the people and culture of the Basque national (an coincidently killed more people than ETA ever has). And you'll find that it wasn't the Galician Nationalists who coinded the phrase "mexan por nos e dinos que chove" (they piss on us -- refering to Spain/Madrid/Castille --- and then tell us it's raining).


Anonymous said...

Xoan-Carlos in 2036 the wounds will be just as fresh as they were in 1936! What you have to remember is that it was a civil war. Father against son, brother against brother, cousin against cousin, uncle against nehphew etc. Not a war caused by some foreign invader. I can`t imagine any family from whatever side ever forgetting that war.
Regards Eamon de La Coruña