Saturday, January 12, 2008

As I’ve written a couple of times, one gets rather used to people calling each other brazen liars in Spain, especially in politics. But it’s still a shock to read that one of the Vice-Presidents accuses the Catholic Archbishops of ‘lying and showing a lack of respect to the legitimate authorities’. There must be an election to be won.

I wrote about the Spanish national anthem last June, saying there was going to be a competition for the words it desperately needed. Well, here’s someone’s translation of the winning entry. Possibly. Some politicians have sniffed that parliament needs to have the final say on this weighty matter:-

Long live Spain!
We sing it all together
with different voices
and a single heart.

Long live Spain!
From the green valleys
to the immense sea
A hymn of brotherhood.

Love for the homeland
which embraces
under the blue sky
peoples in freedom.

Glory to the sons
who History will
bless with justice and greatness
democracy and peace

Personally, I am with the newspaper I quoted back in June - The winner will have to perform a feat of lyrical genius to satisfy Spain’s myriad political, religious and nationalist factions. The result may well be a piece of politically correct doggerel that neither offends nor rouses. Frankly, there’s not much else to say about the [alleged] winner, is there?

Moving on from anthems to flags . . . . Each of Spain’s 17 or 18 Autonomous Communities has both of these. And I suspect each Province in each Community has its own flag, though probably not an anthem. And down below these are the municipal councils who must feel a tad left out. For I’ve just read that 28 of Galicia’s councils are currently waiting for designs from the country’s Heraldry Commission. Spain must be awash with bloody flags. I must check whether there‘s one for my street. Or at least for the community in which I live.

And talking of councils and regional governments – The mayoress of Sanxenxo has defended the decision to licence hundreds of houses near the coast and said the Xunta has no right to tell them what to do in urban matters. Since corruption tends to increase as one moves from the national to the local level, what this means is that the least corrupt have no power over the most. Which is a general comment, of course. I have absolutely no idea whether the Sanxenxo council is corrupt. Though the last mayor – a property developer – is currently facing charges of skulduggery in relation to rent-protected properties illegally sold by his company at a large premium. This, though, hasn’t stopped him standing as the mayor of Pontevedra. And doing quite well.

More Galicia Facts

I recently wrote [again] that, thanks to local rivalry, our 3 airports were uncompetitively small. Well, one of them is about to get even titchier. La Coruña is losing its Easyjet flights to and from Madrid. Which represent 6% of its passenger numbers.

Finally - For lovers of the Spanish language, here’s a new Wiki site you may find both interesting and useful – I should warn that El País says it’s more Wiki than Lengua but I don’t really know what this means. The site itself has this ‘Mission Statement’ - Un sitio abierto y participativo sobre las dudas prácticas del castellano y un medio para reflejar la diversidad de una lengua hablada por cientos de millones de personas.

Footnote: Word’s Spellcheck doesn’t recognise mayoress. Presumably you can’t say it in the USA.

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