Unless you live in a cave, you’ll be aware the Spanish courts have handed down huge sentences to several of the people implicated in the appalling Madrid bombings of March 2004. However, some were acquitted and the government has admitted it never caught the brains behind the operation. I can’t pretend to understand the full implications of the trial and the verdicts – I hadn’t even been aware that at the far end of the loony Right there were those who thought the whole thing was a set-up by the Socialists and ETA to oust the Partido Popular from power – but I can say that there’s enough in the outcome to give each side grounds for persisting with the favourite Spanish political game of calling your opponent a scheming liar. Rather sad really. But we do have another general election coming up. So anything goes. Especially here.
A final funereal fact, albeit local – Only 3% of gravestones in Galicia are written in Gallego. This is despite the fact very high percentages of people here are said to routinely use or at least understand the language. So, what’s the explanation? Are the control-freak priests all still fascistic, Castilian colonists at heart? This reminds me – I need to apologise to the good people of Ourense for suggesting their city is the coffin capital of Europe. This is, in fact, Ribadavia - a few kilometres away. For reasons unknown to me, the Ourensians are more associated with umbrellas. But only in a pejorative sense.
Still on Galicia - Of the 23,000 kids who graduated here between 2003 and 2005, some 6,700 [or 29%] are said to be still without employment. As ever when I read this sort of thing, I wonder how many parents have asked their still-at-home offspring “Err. . . Have you ever thought about looking for work in Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Malaga, etc.?” To which the answer probably is - “I can’t. I’m studying for my oposiciones.” Probably very unfair of me.
And finally on Galicia – 1.4 million people, or 52% of the population, are now said to live in the region’s six metropolitan areas. In detail – Vigo, 395k; La Coruña, 351k; Santiago, 143k; Ourense, 140k; and Pontevedra, 114k. I realise these numbers don’t total 1.4m but that’s not my fault. This is presumably because Lugo is missing. And maybe we haven’t been given the numbers for Buenos Aires, usually referred to as Galicia’s 7th city.
A quick follow-up to my comment on airports yesterday – Ryanair has said it’s increasing its flights from Oporto while reducing those from Santiago.
Insane Britain: Click here for a Saturday-morning article on how British society has moved in 40 years from one founded on [doubtless excessive] deference to one rife with disrespect. I particularly like the point that respect still operates in the USA, where they’ve never been very big on deference. Australia too, I imagine. As for Spain, I’ve said before that it remains a more civil place than the UK.
Finally, if you’re not Spanish but live here, here's where you can test how Spanish you are. Before anyone writes in to protest, I should say that it appears to have originally appeared in Spanish, presumably as home-grown satire.
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