There are a lot of fiestas in fun-loving Spain. And urban honour demands they get bigger each year. More events, more opening and closing fireworks and, of course, more noise. And, these days, no self-respecting town is without a jazz festival. So it was surprising to read yesterday that the [brave] mayor of Oviedo in Asturias had decided to buck the trend by cancelling this year’s jazz concert because the noise would be too much for the venue’s neighbours. Here in Pontevedra, the authorities took the more pragmatic step a year or so ago of moving the ever-larger event from a small open-air square in the old quarter to the city’s capacious, modern concert hall. I guess it’ll be the football ground next. So, more and more participants and less and less atmosphere. By the way, Fernando Alonso is from Oviedo. I believe he, too, cancelled a fiesta this weekend.
It seems that, here in Galicia, the PSOE socialist party and BNG nationalist party are going to expel their respective councillors who failed to arrive at a pact by last Saturday. To me, this does rather emphasise the question raised by a reader a few weeks ago – If things are now so formal between the PSOE and the BNG in Galicia, why don’t they do the honest thing and campaign as a single party? Still on local politics, a writer in yesterday’s Voz de Galicia made the interesting point that it was fatuous for the PP party to rail against these pacts since the reason the PP lost out was that its recent rush to the right had alienated people with whom it might profitably have reached its own pacts.
Since the piper normally calls the tune, an English backlash against [subsidised] Scottish nationalism has long been forecast. This article suggests it may finally have been precipitated by the decision of the Scottish Nationalist government to charge English, Welsh and Northern Irish students university fees, while waiving them for Scots and non-British EU students. Vamos a ver.
A rolling headline on the French news channel yesterday read “The end of the Sarkozy honeymoon?”. Bloody ‘ell. If it is, it must rank as the shortest political honeymoon in history. All of two weeks.
My apologies for the typo in yesterday’s blog, when I wrote 4.5m instead of 45m for the Spanish population. And my thanks to the reader, Robert Duncan, who kindly pointed it out. It seems that, no matter how many times I proof-read my stuff, something always sneaks through. Which reminds me, as with London, the percentage of foreigners in Madrid is much higher than the national average – 20%, against 10.
Finally, In the interests of balance, I should say the sun finally shone for several hours yesterday afternoon. This morning is a different matter.