I’m about to start on a book by the political correspondent of The Guardian and The Sunday Times, Simon Jenkins. It’s called “Thatcher and Sons” and his theme is that Mrs T effected not one but two revolutions in British society, the first of which was admirable and beneficial but the second not. Both of these were continued not just by Mr Major but also by Messrs Blair and Brown. The summary on the jacket says Brits are now “Prosperous but perplexed. Spoilt for ‘choice’ but less and less equal. Infantilised by targets. Drowning in bureaucracy. And bombarded by spin.” All of which I think I’ve touched on over the years. But I’ve tended to blame New Labour, rather than Mrs Thatcher. So it will be fascinating to read Jenkins’ rationale for his view that Blair and Brown were merely faithful acolytes in socialist clothing. Which is not, I think, an accusation that can be levelled at President Zapatero. His revolution centres rather more on socio-religious issues such as State-Church relations, divorce and abortion. Outside these areas he gives the impression of being rather long on optimism but short on ideas.
Closer to home, the new right-of-centre Galician government has wasted no time in relaxing some of the nationalist-inspired regulations about the compulsory use of Gallego, for example in the civil service exams. But I suspect this will be re-reversed if and when the socialist-nationalist coalition gets back in power.
Coincidentally, I dreamt last night I was living in 2109 and that the main issues of the day were:-
Whether Pontevedra of Vigo should be the capital of Pontevedra province
Whether Gallego should be just promoted or actively imposed
Whether Vigo, Santiago or La Coruña airport should be expanded at the expense of the others
Whether there were ways to stop phone abuse by various well known companies, and
Whether they would they ever finish the bus-stop down at the roundabout
Finally . . About 30 years ago, I and my then wife bought some rather cheap wood-and-leather chairs in Iran which we were later amused to see advertised for around 25 quid each in The Sunday Times. Say 28 euros. This morning, I saw some very similar items in a shop in Pontevedra catering for the wealthy of the town with an interest in anything vaguely Eastern. Not quite believing the price tag, I went and asked for confirmation. “Yes, they are 838 euros each”, said the desultory shop assistant/owner. “But,” she added, “the 20% discount would bring this down 670 euros.” Stifling laughter, I departed to tell my incredulous daughter. “I guess that’ll be in your blog tonight,” she said. And so it is. Not that she’d know, as she never reads it. She and her two friends even sat and watched me sowing the end of a pillow today. My mother would've put the needle through her own eye rather than witness this. And they call this progress.