Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leading lights of the ETA terrorist organisation continue to fall into the hands of the French and/or Spanish police. These successes began in 2002 when the French government, after the Twin Towers atrocity, finally decided to stop turning a blind eye to activities on its territory designed to destabilise a fellow-EU member. But, anyway, perhaps it’s not too soon to see the effective evisceration of the organisation. ETA, I mean. Not the French government.

An El Mundo leader this week used the expression ‘a Scottish shower’. My guess was this wasn’t a reference to, say, Celtic football club but to the action of chucking cold water on some aspiration or other. But apparently not. According to this, it’s alternating streams of hot and cold water. Healthier. And, of course, cheaper.

Another nice word seen this week was obus, to describe the 40 yard shot from Ronaldo that put Oporto out of the Champions’ League semi-finals. I took this to be a poetic reference to a medieval cannon but the dictionary gives the more prosaic ‘howitzer’. En passant, here's one - slightly caustic -view of The Portuguese One's achievement. And of him generally. Highly amusing. And valid.

Well, it’s official. A local newspaper this week confirmed that, whether there are two approach lanes or just one to a roundabout (circle), we’re all supposed to funnel down to the one outside lane, whatever exit we’re taking. Even if there are two exit lanes going straight on. The second cardinal rule is that, if you do use the inside lane, you must give way to anyone on your right, in the outside lane. Of course, this is only theoretically possible if you’re executing the one exception to the primary outside-lane rule and are using the roundabout to make a U-turn. The article was about police plans to jack up their campaign to reduce accidents on these hazards. So I guess we can expect them to start parking nearby and fining anyone whom they allege is in the wrong lane. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to get done one of these days. Meanwhile, I’m genuinely interested to know whether these rules apply anywhere else in the world. I’ve driven in 20-30 countries and don’t recall this ever being the case. But it obviously makes sense to someone Spanish.

Finally. . . If there’s one thing the writer of this article should never do, it’s move to Spain.


Alberto MdH said...

You are too harsh on the French. They have been hunting ETA members since the late 80's (And sadly, it looks that they will continue many year on, meaning that ETA is not yet finished) In fact, most of the high-profile arrests are north of the border since the terrorist only stay in Spain enough time to strike and go back.

Eamon said...

The only reason the French have been taking action against ETA is because they have a problem if the Basque country gets independence. They then face the same problem as Spain because the Basque country extends into France and the French are not ones to give up their territory that easily. While ETA didn't bother them they couldn't have cared less but now they are beginning to see the troubles are in their backyard as well. They are not "hunting ETA members" to help Spain but looking after their own interests.

Colin Davies said...

Hola, Alberto. Well, you are right that there has always been activity in France but I'm pretty sure it was seriously cranked up after 2002. And, yea, ETA will possibly always be with us but is rather weak at them moment and may stay that way.

Alberto MdH said...

There was a increase of detentions from 2001 on wards in relation with the previous years, but its relation with 9/11 was only a coincidence of times: In the late 90's there was one of the so-called truces and the arrests slowed both in France and Spain. After that there were several crackdowns and the number of detainees peaked in 2004 at 719 from 453 in 1999 (It peaked again last year at 762)

Alberto MdH said...

@mike the trike

Of course the french started to arrest ETA terrorists for their own reasons and were slow to start acting. The same way that Spain was slow to act against the PKK or the USA provided safe haven for the IRA (and their fennians precursors) for years, and I think that the same happened with the UK but I cannot remember any example. Acting against criminals acting in foreign countries was very rare at those times but now the french are acting on their own and the decisions aren't made by their government but by french investigative judges. So it is normal police activity now.

Duardón de Albaredo said...

Colin, on the football context "obús" is NOT the "canon, howitzer or bombarda or whatever" (the weapon that is). It is the projectile itself.