Tuesday, July 22, 2008

As noted, the Spanish president is wrestling with the intractable problem of how to share out the national cake between 17 voracious regions just as the size of the cake is rapidly diminishing. I'm reminded of the conversation between Nixon and Golda Meir:-
Nixon: It's tough being president of 200 million people.
Meir: Yes, but my job is tougher.
Nixon: How could it be? You only have 3 million people.
Meir: Maybe. But I am the president of 3 million presidents.

So, Radavan Karadzich has been arrested and everyone seems to think it's a Saddam-like moment. Funny, then, that I heard on the BBC only a week ago that his whereabouts were an open secret in Serbia. There was even mention of the cafe he and his wife favoured every day. Presumably the Serbian government has finally found the arm-twisting - and the financial rewards of EU membership - impossible to resist.

It's reported that the founder and president of the major developer that's just gone belly-up took 87 million euros in dividends out of the company last year. So at least he could manage his own finances well. Though possibly not a piss-up in a brewery. Still, he can probably afford to get an 'event manager' in, I guess.

You couldn't make it up - Two British monitors at an English language summer camp have been arrested on charges of being drunk and of slapping children and demanding money from them. At a place called The Tossa Club. Near Girona.

Galicia Facts

In the first week of August, Pontevedra's bullring will return to its primary [though only annual] purpose and will host, among others, Spain's leading practitioner of the art, José Tomás. If his recklessness allows him to survive that long. To get their tickets of between 35 and 150 euros, the aficionados had to queue for 20 hours. The first tickets were available on the internet within 45 minutes, at a cost of 450 euros.

Hardly a surprise but the Spanish government has rejected the suggestion that the clock in Galicia be put on the same footing - handing? - as Portugal below us and the UK above us. I wonder what the Galician Nationalist Party will come up with next.

You can tell our elections are close when the Xunta allocates funds for the Galician Centre in the heart of Buenos Aires. Perhaps I should explain that the millions of Galician emigrés and their kids have the right to vote. The counting of their slips is always a highlight of the event.

This has been one of those several days of the year when the Galician city of Ourense is as hot - forecasted 37 degrees - as anywhere in the south of Spain. Down here on the coast, it's a mere 33. Still too hot.

Details of Spain's construction boom continue to emerge. Here in Galicia between 2000 and 20008, the number of new properties increased at 8 times the rate of the population. As you'd expect, the coastal cities saw most of this but the interior city of Lugo also had its fair share. The ranking was A/La Coruña, Vigo, Lugo, Santiago, Pontevedra and Ourense. Surely not even all the Brits who've discovered Galicia can take up all this slack. Especially as they are mostly uninterested in coastal living.

An independent report has suggested we'll have to wait until 2016 before the AVE high-speed train is operating here. Politicians of all parties insist - rather pointlessly as not even the village idiot believes them - that we'll all be able to fast-track it down to Madrid by the end of 2012.

Finally, one commentator's view on Nationalism - The Nationalists may be nice - or not so nice - civil servants and bank managers, but their vision of modern country is at heart poisonously regressive. They are without intellectual content and their presence in the country's political life in recent years has done nothing to improve the lives of the poor. They don't wish to build on the past and be protective of what has been good for the country but would sooner drag it back to the mythical glory of a past that never existed. Scotland, of course. Not Galicia. Or Cataluña or the Basque Country.

Well, not quite last, in fact. Here's an irresistible Boris Johnson comment on Tony Blair - On holiday in Italy, he forged one of New Labour's few hard-edged ideological positions: he was pro-sciutto and anti-pasto.

1 comment:

Sierra said...

The costs of these upgraded railways are amazing. In our village they are working on a 5km section of preliminary works for the high speed (non-AVE) link from Lugo to Orense (Ourense); no electrification, no double tracks, just eliminating level crossings and sharp bends - contract value €90M