Sunday, September 02, 2007

The government is having a bit of difficulty around its proposed Law of Historical Memory. This takes the first major step away from Spain’s post-civil-war vow of silence and aims, I think, to formally pronounce as illegal many acts taken during the Franco regime. However, one of the Catalan parties says it won’t support this measure unless left wing crimes are addressed as well. Which could well lead to it being rapidly binned by the socialist government.

Meanwhile, the [very] left-wing International Committee of the Fourth International sees the proposed statute as part of a “thirst for truth and justice” which is a “manifestation of the leftward radicalisation of the working class, which brought down the PP government in March 2004”. But they’re not at all happy with the Bill and see it as aiming to “divert this striving for the truth into safe channels for the Spanish ruling class”. Click here for more of this entertaining stuff.

More trouble from the government comes from the Basque Country, where the President has said he’ll hold a referendum on independence, even in the absence of a defeat of the ETA terrorists. Or even another ceasefire. The Spanish government insists this would be illegal as only Madrid has the right to call these. It’s interesting to ponder what on earth Madrid will do if it continues to be defied.

There’s some sort of dispute taking place here over TV rights for major football games. I can’t say I understand it but it’s now reached the courts. Meanwhile, the good news is that one of the main channels now plays two UK Premier League games live, as I discovered when I switched on last evening and found Manchester United playing Sunderland. Impressively, the commentators made a decent fist of pronouncing the Anglo Saxon surnames.

A year after the deadline for taking the measures demanded under Spain’s antismoking law of January 2006, an astonishing 60% of places larger than 100m2 have yet to do so. Like many laws in Spain, implementation is left to the Autonomous Communities and several of these have so far levied only minimal fines. La Rioja and Murcia haven’t imposed any at all. Mind you, it’s hard to do anything when you can’t even be bothered to appoint inspectors.

Galicia Facts

August is often a little wet here in Galicia. But not this year, when we’ve seen scarcely a drop of rain. Which is odd, as much the rest of ‘dry’ Spain has been regularly deluged. I blame it on global warming.

The head of Traffic here in Galicia says the knocking down of pedestrians is what distinguishes this region from the rest of the country. With another 4 months to go, it seems we’ve already reached the total of 38 for the whole of last year. So, if you’re thinking of coming for an autumn break, you’ve been warned.

To be more positive, it’s unlikely you’ll be mown down at Poio’s upcoming Tripe Festival on the 16th of this month. See you there.

11 comments:

Diego said...

I´m not into government control at all, but why didn´t they go with a full blown smoking ban? It seem to me that all those regulations complicate things unnecessarily, in some places you had to build partitions to keep smoking and non-smoking patrons apart, in other places it was not needed and sometimes smoking is just banned.

I don´t see them as regulation shy, but why the concern here?

David said...

Hello,

The government of Zapatero has a great chance to create the essence of a new Spanish identity concept. Even it looks that some of them realised it.

It happens to many statemen in Spain to lack the sensitiveness necessary to realise that in the so-called 'State of the Authonomies', with decentralised mass media control and powerful regional social classes, a Spanish identitiy formed 100% from a Castilian identity -the traditional patriotic main ingredient from which Spain has always been tried to cook and form- cannot work anymore.

They lack also, in my so humild opinion, the more important knodwledge about the fact that the main energy feeding the peripheral nationalistic moments is that Castilian imperialistic attitude. Which, if true, suggests some manners to create the beginning of a united, stable Spain. Which I see of so obvious existence without not so much effort.

But, as always, let's them manage. That dumbness is in the root of the Castilian social mind, and for me, as a Galician, is not the worst that could happen. They simply cannot manage to stop feeding the fire, ignoring that nowadays that kind of fires are really easy to extinct using some subtle communication strategies.

Most of the people from Galicia, Catalonia, Basque Country and others who cannot manage well with the tag 'Spaniard', would happily embrace a 'Iberian' identitiy. It's all about public tags, and they are so easy to create.

Colin said...

David,

You make some interesting points but how do you define or demonstrate what you call the "Castilian imperialistic attitude". Aren't the members of Zapatero's cabinet from all over Spain? Don't they represent a much large place than Castile, even if they are not sympathetic to the 'peripheral nationalists?

In the UK, there are 4 constituent parts to the [supra]national entity called Britain. Of course, England is often accused as seeing itself as synonymous with Britain but it isn't. Assuming Spain was comprised of the 'national' entities of Galicia, Catalunia, Pais Vasco and the 'rest of Spain', what tag would you give to 'the rest of Spain? I can't imagine it could be called either just 'Castile'or 'Castile y los demas'.

And what is so hard to accept about being called 'Spanish' if it is clearly synonymous with 'Castilian'?

Of course, not many people outside Spain think of Castile when the word 'Spain' is used. They see it as all of Iberia except Portugal.

In fact, I suspect the majority of people outside Spain have never heard of Castile.

Colin said...

David

This ...

And what is so hard to accept about being called 'Spanish' if it is clearly synonymous with 'Castilian'?

should have been . . .

And what is so hard to accept about being called 'Spanish' if it is clearly NOT synonymous with 'Castilian'?

Anonymous said...

Exactly.
They try to equate being Spanish with four or five concepts (toros, flamenco, castilian language, etc....).

The problem of many of us to accept the tag "Spanish" is not what it denotes but what it connotes.

I think these attitudes are easily seen in small (albeit relevant) things:
-How many Madridians would say a "muiñeira" is a typical Spanish dance? I bet not many.
-In the Miss World contest, why Miss Spain always wears an Andalucian dress, even if she's from, say, Basque Country?
- Why they call "National Press" the one printed in Madrid?
-Why the sports sections of the so called "National Mass Media" devote an incredibly huge amount of time to discuss irrelevant things from Real Madrid, such as Beckham's hairstyle, and almost ignore other teams or athletes (like Gomez Noya)?

Their attitudes and shorsightedness are the cause of the problems. Why cannot we all be proud of being Spaniards even if we are different? Why there is only "one way" of being Spanish?

They, the centralists, are the separatist.

Anonymous said...

A man in Scotland says he is a Scotsman. A man in N.Ireland says he is Irish. A man in Wales says he is Welsh. A man in England has to be British. A man in Galicia says he is Gallego and no one argues about that. Pity the Englishman!

Colin said...

Anonymous 1

These are not manifestations of being 'Castilian'; they are all manifestations of being the capital city of a nation state. . It happens everywhere in the world.

Colin said...

Anonymous 2

I can't say I understand your point.

An Englishman can call himself both English and British.

Indeed, a Yorkshireman can happily call himself a Yorkshireman, an Englishman and a Briton. They are not mutually exclusive. And they give 3 reasons to be proud.

Likewise, a man from Flint in Wales can happily call himself a Flint man, a Welshman and a Briton. Ditto for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Of course, the rest of us from outside Yorkshire would also call the Yorkshireman a bastard. But in our case we would be joking. Would that this were true in Spain, where the labels/tags often [though not always] seem to be stark alternatives. As if they denoted warring tribes.

Perhaps Spaniards don't deserve a strong, united nation. . . . . Or some of them, at least.

Anonymous said...

Colin,
you maybe right and the two examples I put with the press are just manifestations of being from he capital. But not the rest.

Anonymous1

Anonymous said...

We could be united and keep our differences.

There shouldn't be necessary to make us all equal to feel united.

There are many countries where people have different languages, races, religions or cultures and they still feel they belong to one country. Just to put one example, Swiss people from Ticino (the Italian Canton) feel they are Swiss and don't you dare suggest they are Italians. Even if they are a minority in Switzerland and everyone in Italy speaks teir language.

I too blame the Central State for all the separatism. Basically their approach is "You are Spanish, ergo you have to be like me".
Let's accept the differences there are between us, and then concentrate in the things we have in common.

Anonymous said...

Dear Colin
I am afraid there is not much of a point in my previous statement. So here is another one. On a Spanish passport it says nacionalidad=Española. On an Irish passport - nationality=Irish. On a Canadian passport - nationality=Canadian. On a British passport - nationality=British Citizen. I have a Spanish radio amateur’s licence and it states - nacionalidad=Inglesa. Lucky for me I am now English. I read your blog daily and find it very deep at times. I am no good at debating and just seeing my words in print is the thrill for me. It may seem pointless but it does add points to the comments on your blog hee hee!