Saturday, December 27, 2008

I suggested yesterday that President Zapatero might have bought off the poor regions with cash outside the main finance package. And today we learn that Sr Z is well disposed to accept the suggestion of the Galician President that regions which must promote a second official language should be given more bunce for this. So, stand by for an upsurge in the development of Asturian and Leonese. In fact, of every language except Castilian.

I never thought I’d say this but the Spanish media’s predilection for gruesome photos is nothing compared to what I saw this morning on Al Jazeera TV, following the Israeli air strikes on the Gaza strip. But then, if you’re happy to show people being beheaded, I guess there’s no limit.

Here’s David Jackson’s interesting take on the protest march I referred to in yesterday’s post. It gives an insight into how these things are dealt with in the local Spanish press. It’ll be instructive to see how the issue is covered by the national media. If it is. It’s hard to believe the central government is unconcerned about Spain’s reputation and the future flow of inward investment so one’s forced to conclude it’s impotent in the face of a regional government which, though at least negligent, is powerful and untouchable. However much noise is made either in Brussels or by local expats of any and all nationalities. One wonders how many of the latter are voting with their feet. Not that it’s easy to sell your Spanish property right now. But who could blame them for trying.

Galician friends insist that shellfish – particularly the unappetising percebes – haven’t always been the expensive fare they are these days. Not too many decades ago, they say, these were the food of only the poor. Interestingly enough, dipping into Chaucer's Canterbury Tales today, I found the Friar bemoaning that fact that, while others have better food, he and his colleagues are reduced to eating mussels and oysters.

The Galician press is today full of the details of the winners and losers in the great wind-farm bonanza. There were over 120 supplicants but only 25 of these are to be given the right to generate energy in hundreds of more ‘parks’. There seems to be general astonishment that the nationalist BNG party which holds the Industry portfolio has ignored the region’s major entrepreneurs and favoured the local savings banks [the Caixas], the milk producers, the tile quarriers and the food canners. I’m hard pushed to know what the selection criteria might have been but here’s a commentary that may or may not be ironic. Or even an example of the sarcastic Galician humour, retranca. Someone with a better knowledge than mine of the nuances of Spanish and the Galician culture might be able to tell us.

Finally, I’d like to thank the uncommunicative Catalans on the other side of me from nice-but-noisy Tony. They went away for a few days and switched off the computer, leaving us without any internet. Even more unfriendly than usual. But now they’re back and their WiFi signal is again bouncing around the ether. Maybe they’re not so bad after all. At least they never park in front of my garage.

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