The Spanish are regularly polled on, inter alia, the things that worry them most. I guess it was to be expected that, after the ETA bombs at Madrid airport in December, Terrorism would return to the top of the list.
In a second, equally unsurprising poll, it’s revealed that 57% of Spaniards don’t trust other people. Interestingly, this percentage rises with age. This same poll says the things highly rated by the Spanish are, in descending order:- the family; work; friends; free time; ‘associations’; clubs/similar activities [surely not meaning brothels here]; religion; and politics. The sexes are generally similar in their preferences, but with men rating politics above religion and women preferring religion to associations and politics.
A third survey confirms what a glance round any bar would tell you – young women here take up smoking earlier and then smoke more than young men. As you’d guess, they believe it keeps them thin.
The Spanish media rightly gives a great deal of attention to the ever-increasing problem of what is called here ‘gender violence’. In 2006, there were 77 women killed by their current or ex partner, sometimes in ways as horrendous as throat-cutting. In the past, I’ve speculated this was no worse than in, say, the UK. But, in fact, the 2006 total is 10% above the pro rata number of 70. Worryingly, 20% of Spanish doctors are said to regard domestic violence as a private affair and to be unwilling to enquire about injuries to their patients.
Auto de Fe: I have a couple of corrections to make:-
1. The Lenten immolation of Pontevedra’s parrot, Ravachol, will not take place on Good Friday but tonight. Let’s hope the rain lets up.
2. Telefonica will not be charging my friend a 50% premium for her ADSL line. It will be 100%. In other words, the already high price of 20 euros a month for 1 Mb will be 40 euros. I’d love to hear an explanation for this from Telefonica’s Consumer Relations department, if indeed they have one. I suspect that, like Ryanair, they only have a Customer Claims department. Staffed by professional liars.
Plans have been announced for the high speed train link [the AVE] between Vigo and Portugal. This will involve 2 tunnels – one more than 6km long – and it will all be completed by 2013. Perhaps.
At last some good news for Xoan Carlos in this blog – the 3 main political parties here have agreed that, as of the next educational year, at least 50% of classes in all schools will be taught in Gallego. This compares with around 30% at the moment. For those with an interest, here are some details:-
- This will apply to all schools - public, private and grant-assisted [Catholic].
- All teaching will come under this law – primary, secondary, Baccalaureate, adult education and ‘professional training’.
- In primary schools, teachers will use the maternal language of the pupils but will try to ensure they acquire verbal and written capability in the other co-official language. But speakers of Spanish will not be taught to read and write in Gallego ahead of Spanish
- In secondary schools, the subjects to be taught in Gallego will be Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Geography and History, Maths and Citizenship.
- For adult education, the initial requirement will be 50%, rising to 100% for secondary and Baccalaureate studies.
- The implementation of the law will be overseen by a team for the ‘normalisation and invigoration of the language’. The estimated cost of this will be 1.4m euros in the first year, ‘rising with the necessary training of teachers’.
Ever the cynic, I fear there will be many slips betwixt cup and lip.
And I still sympathise for the poor kids who speak [shall we say 'traditional'] Gallego at home and then are taught in not just one but two different languages at school. However bloody 'similar'.
Meanwhile, I need to check out how my piano lessons – already burdened by an Argentinean accent – will be affected.