Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The governing PSOE party had a conference at the weekend, which some commentators thought rather reminiscent of an American political convention. Several of the female members of the administration appeared in the always-in-fashion jeans and one was sporting leather boots which, if they didn’t quite reach her thighs, were more than knee high. Believe me, this is not a complaint but I couldn’t help wondering whether this would happen in any other European country. Say, Sweden.

Talking of Spanish women . . . Can there be any more tactile in the world? I had two conversations today during which I had my arm coquettishly touched. No, let’s be honest. One of the ladies actually raked her hand down my arm as we parted. I know it signifies nothing but I’m still not used to it after nine years.

In a couple of years’ time, British schools will start to teach males as young as five that it’s wrong to beat up females of any age. Now that neither religion nor parents can be relied on to teach morality to kids, this function has now passed to the state. What a commentary on twenty-first century Britain.

Today’s news re the reluctant-to-merge savings banks (cajas/caixas) here in Galicia is that the Xunta President has givent a week to contemplate things. And accept reality, presumably. Ironically, the most powerful weapon the President is likely to have is a new law proposed by the Galician Nationalist Party. Who will presumably do anything to keep foreigners out of the caixas.

I’m not sure I understand why but one of the problems faced by the recession-hit, cash-strapped Xunta is that it’s having to increase payments to the offspring of emigrants from here who now live in Argentina and Cuba. I say I don’t understand this but, of course, I do know that Galician emigrants retain their right to vote in our elections. As do their children and grandchildren. So, it’s pork-barrel politics, in effect.

In the Galicia v. Manchester list I posted yesterday, I noted there are five universities here (La Coruña, Santiago, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra) against only two (Manchester and Salford) in Greater Manchester. There’s something of a spat taking place in ours at the moment, around which of them should be allowed to graduate doctors. Galicia, of course, needs more of these but my impression is that Santiago would like to keep its currently privileged (if not exclusive) position in this regard. Presumably they can prove this is in the public interest.

If you got to Note 34 on the chapter on The Spanish Character by Aubrey Bell, you’ll have seen the reference to noise I was looking for . . . “An author in Perez Galdos’ Fortunata y Jacinta says that the Spaniards are unaware of the value of silence. ‘You cannot make them understand that to take possession of other people’s silence is like stealing a coin.’”. I write this in a wi-fi café where the music is being pumped out of two unwatcched TVs at about 80 decibels.

Finally . . . Corruption in Spain: Here’s an interesting refinement by Charles Butler of a chart originally produced by Trevor ap Simon (Kalebeul) in Barcelona.


Anonymous said...

It's not five universities, it's 3: Coruña (Ferrol), Santiago (Lugo), Vigo (Pontevedra, Ourense). The towns between brackets being other campuses in the same university. If you really want to count towns with some university faculty, then it'd be 7, but universities, 3.

Midnight Golfer said...

I'm not trying to be smart, but spaniards need to teach their girls not to hit each other or their guys, as well. Some of them grow up (just as some boys) not understanding that equality is a two-way street.

Would be nice to see some fathers' rights mixed in equally with mothers' rights every once in awhile, too. etc

Ferrolano said...


Heaven help the teacher or head master who dares to hand out six of the best to a pupil in a British school – yes I want you to be fully responsible for the complete upbringing and education of my child, but with kid gloves, or else! You’re absolutely correct, what a commentary…….

Colin Davies said...

@ Anon

Many thanks for this clarification. Actually, I originally wrote 3 but then changed it yesterdday after googling Lugo and Ourense.

But even my 3 was wrong becuase I was including UNED for Pontevedra (which is probably not right) and I forgot about the university I drive past most often - Vigo!

Hope things will be right after I've changed the text tonight.