I read today that “Decentralisation is the demand of opposition that governments forget.” Meaning, of course, that once power is gained, it continues to accrue to the centre. It got me wondering whether all those bits of current European states which want to be EU nations in their own right really believe that, when they jump from the frying pan it will be onto firm ground, and not into the fire. I guess they must, relying on the Brussels bureaucratic elite transforming themselves into helmsmen who are happy to keep just a light hand on the tiller. Well, maybe.
Another sobering comment I heard this week was that a mere 200 years ago, you could climb to the top of the cathedral in any city in the world and be able to see all of it beneath you. Without binoculars, I mean.
But back to today and current developments in Spain. I think there must be a recession on. The company that services my existing boiler not only answered my request for an engineer within 24 hours but also called after he’d been to see if things were OK. And then sent the engineer straight back, when I said they weren’t. And it didn’t prove at all difficult getting immediate doctor and dentist appointments this week. But I should add that these were in the private sector, as the Spanish government won’t allow me to use the public sector services for a few years yet. This is despite the fact it’s just hiked up the tax rate on the interest on my savings.
As few people in Spain seem to be concerned about their private conversations being overheard, I guess bars and cafés would be a good place to eavesdrop, if one were that way inclined. But I was still taken aback yesterday to find myself sitting next to a table of six young people in what was clearly some sort of product briefing or training session. Something similar happened in another café this morning. Is this a new cost-saving trend? Can I now expect even higher levels of ambient noise? With none of the usual peaks and troughs? Perhaps even queuing for tables?
Talking of bars, cafés and restaurants, reader Richard has kindly sent me this article, in which the question is raised of whether service here is what is used to be. For me, the answer is a resounding Yes. But, then, I tend to stick to a small number of haunts, in a town which doesn’t thrive on tourism. Maybe things will be different when I’m in Madrid next month, visiting my daughter.
The Galician government (the Xunta) has said it’s relaxed about whatever steps our two large savings banks take - including merger – provided there’s no diminution in their ‘Galician-ness’. Which rather confirms that there are more important things than efficiency and commercial success. Especially to the politicians who control them.
Finally . . . Inspired by my reading of the literature from the exhibition on Gallego I mentioned the other day (Cronicas da Represión Lingüistica) I did some research in the back pages of the Faro de Vigo this morning. To my surprise, I couldn’t find a single word of Gallego in any of the hundreds of small ads there. Even in those specifically advertising the attractions of “mature Gallegan women” with singular endowments. Surely something should be done about this.