Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Spanish Minster of the Economy has finally reduced the growth forecasts for this year and 2009 to those issued by external commentators months ago. Hardly surprising, then, that the economic situation is now number 1 on the list of things which worry the Spanish. With unemployment being number 2.

So the Portuguese detective who failed to solve the McCann case has sold 20,000 copies of his book of scurrilous accusations within a couple of hours of it going on sale in Lisbon. As they say, no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the public. In Portugal as in the UK, it seems. And I imagine the Spanish version will sell just as well, given the widespread suspicion here about the 'cold' parents. Apparently, leaving kids inside your flat is worse than leaving them to play unsupervised in the street. But not as bad as leaving them to die in your car in Sevilla, one of the hottest places in Spain. At least we can all agree that this is wrong. Though it's reported the authorities are still investigating whether a crime has been committed.

Lunching with my lovely ladyfriend yesterday, we sat in a small side room in the restaurant. Being early, we were the first people there. The next couple to enter had the choice of the main room and another side room but, being Spanish and abhorring the prospect of being company-less, sat at the table next to us. A British couple would, of course, have gone to the other side room. And an American couple?

Galicia Facts

Writing about Scotland, Charles Moore had this to say today:- Nationalism is a divider. Patriotism is a multiplier. In Britain today, we have too much of the first and too little of the second. . . On the face of it, nationalism might seem to be simply the political version of patriotism. What is wrong, you might ask, with a creed that puts your own country first? Certainly, all nationalist politicians exploit the genuine love of country which most people feel. But nationalism is not, unfortunately, just a way of mobilising positive feeling. It mobilises resentment, and makes a fetish of difference. Nationalism is obsessed with definition - whether you are "really" Scottish, Irish, etc.

Here in Galicia, yesterday was a big day, as it was the feast of St James/Jacques/Iago, the patron saint of both the region and its capital, Santiago. So the newspapers went large on articles in Gallego and the Xunta treated us to a series of full-page ads, paid for by we taxpayers, of course. One of these simply said Galicia. We are a power. But another was far more lyrical, if just as fanciful. Under a large picture of the earth with Galicia at its centre, the text ran as follows:-

Let's celebrate a world that's increasingly like Galicia.

If the world really were like Galicia, how would it be?

It would be more caring, more just, more humane, more open, more generous, more welcoming.
It would be more creative, more audacious, more innovative, more natural, more ecological, more responsible.
It would be more pacific, more friendly, more united.

Yes, we Galicians certainly are like this.

Wouldn’t it be good if the world were a little more Galician?

Bloody ‘ell. Not much evidence of poverty of ambition there. And I guess it’s hardly surprising that the one thing the world wouldn’t be if it were Galician is more modest. But, anyway, you can see the truth of Moore’s contention that nationalism majors on definition. And difference.

The weather gods decided to honour our ‘national’ day by throwing winter at us. Having dropped ten degrees the previous day, the temperature fell further as we were shrouded in the Atlantic Blanket. At least here on the coast. But, fortunately, the rain held off for the third of the four jazz/blues concerts in Pontevedra’s main square. Being free, these attract a motley crowd. And, as ever in Spain, the audience last night was a fluid creature, with some folk taking as little as two minutes to decide they really didn’t want to be there and and so had to get up and exit. And with others treating the occasion as if they and their kids were really on the beach and not surrounded by silent people trying to listen to the music. I left after an hour of this distraction, wondering whether it wouldn't have been quieter to listen to the concert from a nearby cafĂ©.

Finally, one consequence of my recent computer problems is that I've lost all messages sent to me at So, if there's anyone waiting for a response from me, could they please re-write to


Alfonso el Idiota said...

I think I'm right to say that a couple of hundred years ago Galicia was Spain's most populous region. The world is a little more Galician because all the smart Galicians facked off and left behind the guy who wrote your ad.

Portorosa said...

What a shame, an ad like that...

We're stupid, that's what we are.


mike the trike said...

Well Colin the American couple would sit down at your table.