This weekend sees the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the forerunner of Dunkirk – the battle of Elviña [La Coruña] in 1809 - when retreating British troops temporarily left the Peninsular War at the forceful request of the pursuing French. Without, of course, their commander, Sir John More, whose grave and the maintenance thereof provide a continuing link between the UK and this north western tip of Galicia.
In a more recent battle, the president of Real Madrid FC has conceded defeat in a campaign to stay in power which seems to have been marked by some serious manipulation of the voting process on his part. At the inevitable press conference, he shed tears of pain but I suspect these were easily outnumbered by those of joy from the many supporters who’d have happily seen him strung him up with piano wire. Football is a serious business here and Real Madrid are a long way behind Barca in the league rankings. And possibly no one now believes the [ex] president’s claims that Ronaldo is on the verge of leaving Manchester United to join them and turn their season round. Over in that city, ‘Mister’ Ferguson is probably smiling too.
Referring to the second chance which Ireland has to get things right, one of the country’s best columnists makes this surprising admission:-"That's it. I'm voting for Lisbon next time. Not because I like the EU. I don't. I despise its corruption, its moral laziness, its military torpor, its great glutinous bureaucracy and its fundamental disrespect for democracy. Its many failings will, in due course, spell the end of European civilisation. But at least, if we vote for Lisbon, we shall be further drawn into the great maw of the EU, and for all its loathsome vices, this means we will be spared another layer of self-government. In time, we might become a directly administered province of Brussels. It'll be horrible, of course, but it won't be as horrible as what we've got now." The interesting thing about this quote is that it seems to encompass both my views about the essential nature of the EU and reader Moscow’s view that, whatever this might be, the institution is necessary as – my words – a straitjacket in which to force countries like Spain to get their act together. Or, as one British MEP puts it:- “Support for the EU is often a product of pessimism, of despair at the perceived failure of national institutions.” Or, as I recently put it - Any port in a storm. Especially if you’re a small Icelandic craft which is slowly sinking. But, mark my words, it will all end in tears . . .
Finally, I leave you with the news from the Voz de Galicia that 50% of Spaniards dislike the notion of living in a multiracial society. Which certainly merits further research. Meanwhile, the good news is that Spain’s young people are rather more favourably inclined towards el mestizaje than those over 55.