Hours after a tetchy meeting with wine producers, the government has suspended its Bill containing restrictions on alcohol advertising. Supported by medics, consumer associations and parent groups, the Health minister has lamented that the wellbeing of minors had become a political football but insisted she won’t be resigning. Vamos a ver. Meanwhile, I wonder if May’s regional and local elections could have anything to do with this precipitate development.
During the first half of the Barca-Liverpool game last night, the TV director gave us at least 15 irritating glimpses of a happy, white-suited Et’o. When things went against Barca in the second half, he had the good sense to drop shots of a morose Et’o to just 3. Which was still 2 too many for my liking. Incidentally, the match report in El Mundo today is very even-handed. As they usually are, in fact.
You couldn’t make it up . . . “Captain Euro is a public relations campaign commissioned by the European Union to promote itself. The campaign centers around "Captain Euro" a superhero character who dresses in a costume which features elements of the European Union flag, including the blue and yellow star motif.” Here’s the web page if you want to – painfully slowly – enjoy the good Captain’s fascinating adventures.
Sean Lennon recently performed in Barcelona to an audience of about three people and cat. So not quite a sell-out. Sadly, he appears to have even less talent than his insanely egocentric mother, Yoko Ono.
A lawyer friend of mine yesterday went to a town hall in the hills to make enquiries about a house being bought by a British couple. The official’s answers were given in what she called ‘TV Gallego’ and his attitude, she said, suggested he wasn’t well pleased about foreigners buying even derelict properties in Galicia. ‘Obviously a Nationalist’, was her conclusion. So perhaps they’re not all as reasonable and pragmatic as Xoan Carlos. Which reminds me, talking to a teacher of Gallego earlier this week, he surprised me with the point that most of Spain’s recent leaders had come from Galicia – including, of course, Franco. He also reminded me Castro’s family was from the region. Then he added, rather lugubriously, ‘Of course, that would be the main problem if we ever did get independence. We’d be ruled entirely by Galicans’. Trying to get another local friend to open up on the subject, I was met with the reply that all Nationalists were nutters but that, fortunately, Se cura nationalismo viajando - Travel cures nationalism. Though not for all of them, I guess. I have to confess my face-to-face experience of them is very limited. The local BNG mayor always does me the courtesy of speaking to me in Spanish. But this contrasts with my treatment by a young Nationalist who declined to speak to me in anything other than Gallego, even when I could scarcely understand Spanish. But he was only 17 and his perspective [and manners] changed dramatically when he went off to Salamanca university as a first step towards a professorship in Classical Languages.
And this is the point where I record my view that the Voz de Galicia seems to me to get the balance right. It has news and commentary in both languages but always takes a hard line against what it sees as Nationalist excesses. I fear, though, that Xoan Carlos will now tell me it’s the mouthpiece of PP reactionaries who haven’t got over the death of Franco.
Incidentally, I asked my lawyer friend why most of the Gallego speakers in the rural communities voted for the right-wing PP party, whereas the prosperous voters of Pontevedra city voted for the left-wing Nationalist party. She explained the poorer rural regions were still rife with 19th century caciquismo [political barony/despotism] and that Pontevedra’s residents had grown tired of the PP sending all the investment and jobs to the bigger cities of Vigo, Santiago and La Coruña. So they’d gone for someone who promised to pursue local priorities. Language and aspirations of independence didn’t seem to figure much in any of this thinking. But all politics are local, as they say. But enough, already.