The government of the Basque Country has announced that their regional elections will be held on 1 March, which happens to be the same day as ours here in Galicia. This has led to a flurry of adverse headlines here about this coincidence being regrettable. To those of us used to such elections taking place all – or most – at the same time, this might seem an odd reaction. But there are two prime arguments, it seems. Firstly, it will deny Galicia its day in the spotlight, when local issues are covered by the national media. And, secondly, the governing PSOE will have to employ its main weaponry up in the troublesome northern region, meaning fewer big-hitters visiting Galicia to burnish the image of the socialist-nationalist coalition. Which certainly needs it after the recent fiasco of the turbine tender process which the socialists washed their hands of. Perhaps the most astute comment on all this I’ve read so far is that it will force President Zapatero to be schizophrenic – playing down nationalism in the Basque Country but praising its contribution to ‘sensible’ government in Galicia. But, as I say, that's life for a Spanish president, in a de facto federal state
The Basques, of course, argue that they aren’t really Spanish. But I couldn’t help noticing that the car in which ETA let off their latest bomb was illegally parked on a pavement for quite a while before it went off.
I occasionally ponder out loud on the future of the EU project, without ever making a real prediction as to whether it’ll succeed or whether it’ll collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions This is because I really don’t know. The writer of this article, however, is not troubled by any doubts whatsoever. Scornful of any suggestion that, with the pound now at parity with the euro, British commentators would be wise to lie rather low, he makes this categorical assurance - “Before too long, there is going to be chaos in the eurozone. The confrontation between rhetoric and reality cannot be long delayed. The EU maintains that its currency will survive, not just because it bends the rules to keep unworthy economies within it, but because the European Central Bank will hold the line on interest rates. We'll see. The bending of those rules cannot long escape the currency markets. They have picked off sterling and the dollar – the time cannot be far off when the short sellers go after the euro.” Well, vamos a ver. Interesting times. There’ll certainly be a lot of European anger if the euro falls off its pedestal after another bout of ‘Anglo-Saxon casino capitalism’. And it certainly won't be attributed to problems in Greece, Italy, Portugal or Spain.
As the writer is something of a right-wing ranter in a right-of-centre British newspaper, it might be tempting to dismiss his views as simple euroscepticism at its worst. So it’s interesting to note that the left-of-centre Guardian carries a report that the great majority of Brits remain unattracted to the euro, despite the battering their currency is currently taking.
Back here in Spain, the council of a town down in the south has held a referendum on whether or not they should continue to have an annual bullfight. The turnout was admittedly ery vlow but the vote against more corridas was overwhelming and the result is binding. Who’d have thought it.?
Finally, here’s evidence that the folk at the First Post are still struggling with technology. Or recovering from a festive hangover . . .