There was a bit of a clue when they bombed Madrid airport last December but ETA’s psychopaths have now declared their latest ‘permanent ceasefire’ to be at an end. Naturally, the fault is ascribed to the treacherous Spanish government, for declining to accept all their demands. Strangely – given things have been clear for months – the terrorist group waited until the week after the elections before going official. Can it be they wanted to avoid damage to the socialist government because they see it as a softer touch than the opposition?
Proving Steinbeck’s contention that life is a cosmic joke, on the same day we heard of this depressing development, the media was full of the news the government accepts the Spanish national anthem should be given some words. Adding to the hilarity, the far left ERC party in Barcelona insisted these mustn’t insult the Catalans. Given their thin-skinned determination to be affronted by anything said or done in Madrid, this ranks as an impossible task, of course.
Compared with fellow Europeans, the Spanish are not great users of the internet. I suspect one major factor is a widespread lack of trust. But I also believe things won’t improve much until Spanish web sites stop being showcases for the ingenuity of their designers [if that’s the word] and bow in the direction of ease of use by customers. This may take some time, I fear.
Talking of the Spanish - Ben Curtis over at Notes from Spain admitted recently a few people had accused him of going easy on them on the subject of manners. But I’m sympathetic to Ben’s dilemma. For the Spanish can be somewhat inconsistent. Generally ‘individualistic’ and inconsiderate towards others, at times they’re astonishingly polite and even noble. The latest example of the latter came yesterday when a shopkeeper who’s normally pretty offhand insisted on spending at least five minutes wrapping in cardboard a large knife she’d seen I was taking to be sharpened. And all done with far more humour and pleasantness than she normally bothers with. As regular readers will know, my explanation of this is that, when stimulated by something appearing on their personal radar, the Spanish will go to greater lengths to be helpful than any other people on earth. Like the guy the other day who wouldn’t think of putting the newspaper back on the central rack but who, as he passed, bent down to pick up a pen I’d dropped below my table. And this despite the fact he was old enough to suffer for his kindness. Moral – If you want consideration here, don’t be a self-effacing Brit. You will just fade into the wallpaper.
I wasn’t entirely serious when I said yesterday the palleiro was a Celtic breed but, of course, there’s a site which claims it is. Or, as they put it – They would have been bred by the Galician Celts as an all-purpose farm dog. They were used for herding, watching livestock, and hunting. They are intelligent, calm and reserved towards strangers. Gentle and loyal, they get along well with children and sometimes with other animals. I love that ‘sometimes’ bit. Anyway, as I’ve said more than once, I’ve no problem with the obsession some Galicians have with proving everything here is Celtic in origin but, really, it’s quite preposterous to imagine this breed can’t have been developed before the Celts reached Spain or by the Romans or Visigoths who came after them. Or, most likely, by ‘Galicians’ of more recent times. Thus does selectivity stretch credulity to breaking point.
That’s enough insults for today.