Thursday, June 21, 2007

After forging a pact with his oppo M. Sarkozy, President Zapatero has said Britain’s stance over the latest EU treaty-and-not-really-a- Constitution is ‘intolerable and unacceptable’. He added that, if Britain didn’t accept the creation of an EU Foreign Minister [his mate, Sr. Solana??], then he would veto the creation of a permanent EU President [Mr Blair??]. This is all good knockabout stuff but the cynical view is it’s all for the benefit of the national media, with everything important having been decided months ago. But we’ll soon know whether the UK, Holland and Poland in particular have thrown any large spanners into the works. And in what form the EU will struggle on towards the status of a Pan-Europe superstate.

Meanwhile, the opposite trend of nationalism has taken a new turn, this time in the USA. Hard as it is to believe, there’s a group of advanced thinkers in the state of Vermont who are demanding independence from the USA. Wherever next?

Closer to home, the socialist PSOE party and its coalition partner in the Galician government, the nationalist BNG party, have fallen out over what to call our region/historical reality/nation. The BNG has demanded this be ‘Galiza’ in all official publications but this appears to be a step too far for the PSOE. At times like this, I get to wondering whether they might just have better things to discuss. Say the fact that Galicia has one of the oldest populations in Spain but provides less for its senior citizens than anywhere else except Murcia.

More than 900 schools in Galicia will be teaching English to kids as young as 3 from next September. This is impressive but it’s to be hoped there’s more of a bias toward oral communication than appears to be the case with the teaching of Galician mentioned yesterday. But I guess, if they can’t read, this is pretty inevitable.

This week, one of Pontevedra’s residents was interviewed by a local paper about the pedestrianisation work being done near her house. She complained barriers had been erected and the street closed in September 2006 and nothing had then been done for 6 months. Judging from what happens on the sites fore and aft of my house, I’d concluded this sort of long hiatus was a legal obligation in Spain. Asked what she thought of the council’s planning, she replied – with Anglo brevity – ‘Appalling’. On this occasion, I feel a longer, Hispanic-type response would have been more appropriate. ‘Conspicuous by its absence’, perhaps.

That unhappy camper, Fernando Alonso, continues to raise doubts his maturity. He’s now reported to be considering departure from the McLaren team in response to offers from Ferrari. I suspect there’s nothing more likely to condemn him to the second place in the Formula 1 championship that he so clearly abhors the prospect of. No wonder many people here consider him a bit chulo.

An excellent evening last night with Spanish male and female friends ranging from 20 to 60. As I’ve said many times, no people in the world make better company than the Spanish. My theory is this is essentially because they decline to grow old. Or even grow up. Just like me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So you think you have problems in Galicia/Galiza -

"What should have been a joyous occasion for a newly-elected Costa mayor turned into a war of words by the nationalist Bloc party because the opening speech was translated into english and not Valenciano.

At his investiture, elected mayor Juan Cardona of the Partido Independiente Democrático de Benitachell (PIDEB), gave his speech in Castilian Spanish, which would probably have not caused any upsets, but the speech was then repeated in English by expat councillor Hannelore Reinhdorf - his number two.

This caused outrage among the Bloc nationalist party members present who questioned why Valenciano was not used as well.

They claim that the only two official languages that can be used by the council are Castilian and Valencian and that the newly elected council showed a distinct lack of education by not using both languages at the ceremony."