Well, I did say that it was only possibly the winner of the competition . . . After a fire-storm of protest from all quarters, the proposed lyrics for Spain’s wordless national anthem have been withdrawn from circulation and the gala event at which they were to be sung by Plácido Dominguez has been summarily cancelled. Too many mentions of Fatherland [Patria], apparently. But then, such is the antipathy to the concept of Spain from its constituent nations and nation-ettes, just one would surely suffice for this to be achieved. I am now working on my own anodyne composition. And wondering whether I should mention tortilla. And prostitution and corruption. Only joking . . .
If you read the Comment columns of the UK Daily Telegraph, you’ll see there’s a reader who regularly beats everyone to the punch, sending in his thoughts to several writers early each morning. He’s called Graham King and yesterday he complained that some of his views were being blue-lined by the paper’s moderator. He should be so lucky! My own comment of Monday never even saw the light of day. And I was merely asking if this Graham King was the same chap as a man with the same name serving a murder sentence down on the Costa del Sol. My reasoning was that he clearly got up very early in the morning and had quite a lot of time on his hands. Not so much a blue pencil as a pair of scissors in my case.
The big news in Spanish politics at the moment is that the popular PP mayor of Madrid will not be given a position in any future PP government. In UK terms, this means the Drys [the Thatcherites, perhaps] have bested the Wets and confirmed their control of the party. Whether this a good thing as regards election prospects will shortly be demonstrated. Meanwhile, the Spanish media – using the same terminology as on its Sports pages – has headlined the ‘signing up’ of a major industrialist by the leader of the Opposition, to serve as the Minister of Finance or something similar. I guess this happens in the USA as well but in Britain it would be strange for a non-politician to achieve this prominence in a government. Well, it used to be but in Mr Brown’s ‘government of all the talents’ it may soon cease to be. If it hasn’t already.
Returning again to the dreadful accident in Vigo at the weekend . . . One of the reckless imbeciles involved was driving a 2.8L BMW and the other an Audi A3. Neither of these would normally be associated with the earnings potential of 20 year olds and, when you ask how this can be, the answer you’re always given is that the [often powerful] cars are financed directly or indirectly by parents and grandparents. When you persist and ask why on earth they would do this, the answer is they want to show the world they’re no longer poor Galician peasants. If this is true, I guess the phenomenon of kids effectively being killed by their own family is more prevalent along the coast than up in the poorer hills.
I had two examples of non-poncey driving within the space of a few seconds yesterday morning. Firstly, the local bus decided to pull out from a junction right in front of me, forcing me to brake and then follow it as it wound at a snail’s pace down the hill towards town. As I did so, I was overtaken by a Porsche Carrera which crossed a solid white line so as to pass both me and the slow-moving bus. Right on a Zebra crossing in the latter case. I didn’t see whether the driver of the latter had a mobile phone to his ear but he usually does.
I have to admit I don’t watch much Spanish TV. Even less Galician TV. One reason for eschewing the latter is that, being funded by the Xunta, it goes in for a lot of what you might call ‘nation building’. Yesterday this featured Maria Pita, a heroine of La Coruña who helped to fight off some marauding British horde in 1589. This may be a bit unfair but, at times like this, I feel this is what it must have been like to live under a Communist regime. Or in, say, Iran in 1975 and Indonesia in 1983. Things will change when I’m President of the Xunta in 2018. We’ll have no more ant-Brit propaganda, for a start.