In both the UK and Spain, one of the two major parties is going through convulsions because of a lack of faith in its leader. The difference is that in Spain the PP party is in opposition. Whereas in the UK, the More-Old-than-New Labour Party is in government. Be that as it may, both bits of political theatre are fascinating to watch. There’s nothing as treacherous as a politician facing loss of tenure. Or sinecure, in many cases. I suspect neither Sr Rajoy nor Mr Brown will lead his party into the next elections. Which are in 2010 in the UK and 2012 here in Spain. By then, both will have retired to have the wounds in their backs attended to. In Mr Brown’s case, there’ll be a place for him in the Ken Livingstone Home for Retired Marxists and Socialists. Back in the present, the most intriguing difference between the British and Spanish scenes is that UK voters clearly blame the government for the mess the country is now in, whereas in Spain Sr Zapatero managed to get back in power only two months ago by convincing the electorate that nothing bad about the country had anything to do with him. Though, as I reported last week, 62% of them now say they believe he lied to them. And 100% of the cabinet are said to believe that more than 40% of the Spanish are very gullible.
Talking of the UK and Spain. A TV documentary here has suggested that, in order to burnish the image of his regime, Franco fixed the 1968 Eurovision song contest so that the Spanish entry La, La, La would take the laurels. As this cost the Blessed Cliff Richard first spot, I suspect this revelation will reduce to nil Spain’s chances of getting Gibraltar back.
And still on the UK and Spain . . . There’s an old joke which centres on a trio of English, American and French lawyers encapsulating in one phrase the basic principle underlying their respective jurisprudential systems. Recently, I’ve been trying – not altogether seriously - to do the same with British and Spanish societies as a whole. What I’ve come with so far are The Rule of Law for the former and Live and Let Live, for the latter. The difference between these is that the first is a principle which affects society from the top down and which is general in its application, with overtones of obligation. The second does this from the bottom up, is individual is its application and has overtones of personal volition. Or that’s how it seems to me, at least. But, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it could well be rubbish.
Austrians are suffering image problems at the moment but I met a nice one in Pontevedra’s old quarter a week or so ago. Over a beer, I told him one of my remaining aspirations was to visit Samarkand, in Uzbekistan. He said he’d been discussing exactly that with a Persian chap he’d met while doing the Camino only a couple of days previously. So, if there’s anyone else out there who’d like to go, perhaps we can form a tour group. See Samarkand and Die, perhaps. For those havering, here’s some facts:-
Finally, here’s a fascinating article on stupid Anglo attitudes towards Russia for my regular reader and commentator, Moscow. It will be interesting – to me at least – to hear how much he agrees with it, even though the issue has nowt to do with Spain. To compensate, here’s an article from the same magazine calling for a ‘grown up debate’ on prostitution. Which is something, I fear, even a majority of females in the Spanish cabinet is not going to secure for us.