Friday, November 21, 2008

Well, I’m a little more clued up about why Spanish students are unhappy with the Bologna Process. Many of them protested in Barcelona yesterday, bringing out the riot police of the Catalan statelet. Reportedly, they’re concerned that “traditional Spanish degrees are being scrapped under the process, whose aim is to make academic degree standards more comparable and compatible across Europe.” Specifically, the students predict "educational inequality and insecurity" and the “commercialisation" of higher education. Translated, I guess this means they’ll have to work harder. And possibly achieve their degrees in the stipulated time, not over a decade or so. Or perhaps I’m being unfair. At least to 10-20% of the undergraduate population. Over at Kalebeul, Trevor has a take on this which is even more pungent than usual. I wonder how he survives. Possibly by disguising himself as The Baldie.

It’s good to see that in the important area of energy generation, Barcelona is ahead of the pack. I regret to say that the development reported would have allowed my father to say that great things are taking place in the dead centre of the city.

When I lived in Tehran 35 years ago, it was embarrassing - but flattering – to find that every Iranian believed that Britain still controlled the entire world, including the USA. Astonishingly, things are exactly the same now. According to a British reporter living there, the Iranians “imagine Britain to be fathomlessly powerful and duplicitous, constantly striving to achieve Iran’s collapse – a nation capable, in the Persian saying, of ‘cutting off your head with cotton’. To a remarkable degree, this perception has survived the end of empire and the decline of Britain’s global influence. No country in this age of cramped diplomatic horizons is more comforting to the British ego than Iran.” I miss it.

As it happens, this is the second time today I’ve quoted someone Persian but you’ll have to go to The Economist’s web page for the first. It’s somewhere among the 1260 other comments to the tendentious article on Devolution.

With the British government announcing ever-stricter [and controversial] anti-speeding laws, the subject is topical over there as well, not just in my blog. I won’t bore you with links to articles accusing the UK government of being more interested in revenue than safety but I will give you a thought that occurred to me yesterday. When I came to Spain 8 years ago, enforcement of not-very-strict laws was rather lax. Rather as things currently are with cigarette smoking. Now, however, the law is much tougher and the police ever more zealous. The former situation was surely wrong and the latter right, as evidenced by the declining mortality figures. But the odd thing is it used to be possible to be semi-relaxed about the local police chief being drunk after lunch and regularly driving into the back of other road users. Now, it seems outrageous and totally unacceptable. Though unlikely to change, I suspect.

Finally . . . I don’t know what ‘enables’ it or how it works but I see there’s a feature on this blog saying it has 12 Followers. This is, of course, very gratifying but I do wish the total would advance. Or even retreat. For, with this exact number of followers, I’m dangerously close to delusions of some grandeur . . .

6 comments:

CafeMark said...

I think some people were possibly scared of being follower number 13. So I've taken that spot.

Alfonso el Idiota said...

Survival is never in question as long as you write in a language none of the tribe can understand.

Mark said...

All sorts of laws are being applied more strictly these days. The reason for this can be summed up in two letters... EU. It's payback time! You could also blame the internet and international conferences as more of these enforcers get together to swop notes and share experiences. The EU now publishes league tables for all sorts of enforcement so the power of name and shame is making countries like Spain and Portugal become ever more puritanical and black and white. How sad but that is the reality of a uniform European superstate.

Colin said...

Many thanks, CafeMark. Very kind of you. You may have been right. No 14 followed soon after . . .

Colin said...

Mark,

Yes, I hadn't thought to finger Brussels Very remiss of me . . .

Colin said...

Alfonso,

Well, I have to admit I don't understand myself sometimes . . .