Sunday, November 01, 2009

Over the years, I’ve recorded my occasional feelings of wonder at the relaxed Spanish attitude to risk. But I’ve also said numerous times that Spain’s is a far more sane society than that of modern Britain. In the latter, one increasingly feels life is controlled by witless bureaucrats who – much afeared of lawyers – introduce and implement laws on the ludicrous supposition that risk can be eliminated and a totally safe society created - where none of us dies from accidents but only from natural causes. Though probably not lung cancer. Hence the obsession with Health & Safety. And hence the introduction of measures described in this article on the child-protection developments I mentioned the other day. It’s a while since I’ve read anything so depressing, especially as I may one day have grandchildren growing up in Britain. Where many of the social events that bind society together no longer take place. And where it’s now impossible for an adult to have the pleasure of interacting with kids and their parents the way one could when I was a child. But as one still can in Spain, for example. The writer says it’s a ‘lunatic universe’ that’s being established and that “The government has created this nightmare because we expect it to eradicate risk. It cannot be done, and the price we are paying as we try to do so is far too high.” She’s right, of course, but one wonders whether the case isn’t already lost and whether a revolt against this nonsense will ever begin. It’s hard to be optimistic, given just how difficult it is to roll back the excesses of bureaucrats imbued with an almost religious fervour not just to aggrandise their own jobs but also to create Heaven on earth. Perhaps, if one is being optimistic, under a new government from mid 2010.

Possibly it will never happen even if the earth has as many years left as it’s already had. But just extrapolate what’s happening in the UK and Europe and imagine a world where there’s universal peace and the world government, like that the EU, is in the hands of elitist bureaucrats with little or no accountability to the billions of world citizens. Where, entirely for your own safety and longevity of course, everything you do – both inside and outside your home – must be licensed by the authorities. And where, inter alia, your diet is restricted to beans and vegetables in order to save the planet. And no alcohol is permitted lest you get into whatever ecologically sound vehicles are then in use and harm either yourself or someone else. Would all this really be preferable to the imperfect world in which we now live? If you agree that it wouldn’t, then how is it to be stopped? Perhaps it’s time to set up GAB, the Global Alliance against Bureaucrats. Slogan – Give us back our lives, you fascist bastards! Apply here. Web page soon. First policy? - Nuke Brussels. Though perhaps this is going too far, as a first step. Alternative ideas welcome.

Meanwhile, at least for Brits, there’s always emigration.

But back to the here and now . . . I had an interesting conversation with a new member of Pontevedra’s English Speaking Society on Friday night. I’d been checking with some friends my translation of a long piece in Gallego about imbecilic reintegristas who post bile to Galician web pages and he expressed an interest in seeing it. As he’s a civil servant, I asked him how things were at work and how he and his wife viewed the developments of the last few years. I wasn’t exactly surprised to hear them express concern for their kids’ future – I hear nothing else in the circles in which I move – but I was intrigued by his particular approach to the challenges created. He is a fluent Gallego speaker but draws a distinction between the people in the villages, on the one hand, and the young doctrinaire ideologues he works with, on the other. With the former, he delights in talking in a language he loves. But with the latter, when faced with pressure to talk in modern, Academy-regulated Gallego, he insists on using only Spanish. In his words, “I resent having choice denied to me and I refuse to be forced to speak only Gallego.” It struck me it’d be fascinating to get him and my friend Cade together one evening to debate things. But, of course, I can’t as Mr C doesn’t live in Galicia. And possibly never has. And, even if I could, I rather doubt it would resemble what the rest of us call a debate.

My apologies if the last paragraph was boring for you. I admit it’s a bit of self-indulgence; it amuses me to picture Cade reaching ever higher levels of apoplexy. Who knows, I might just get him to explode and cover himself with all the ordure built up inside him by his failure to get all those traitorous fellow Galicians to agree with him. And then there’s me and my ‘drivel’! Anyway, I like to help him out by giving him new material for his blog, kindly dedicated to me.

But I do hope he’s on medication.


Keefieboy said...

Wow, just had a look at Cade's blog. Astonishing!

Graham said...

Just looked at Cade's blog. Maybe he should get a life eh Colin?

Alex said...

There is a small part of the Galician population that has very strong prejudices. They have basically two stereotypes of the Galician speakers: The “redneck” from the countryside and the young radical Nationalist (pro-terrorist, even!) ideologue.
For them, the first group is not dangerous: They speak Galician because they, poor bastards, cannot speak any other language. That’s fine. They can even chat a bit in Galician with them (not too much, because they don’t want to mix with the lower classes).

On the other hand, they are absolutely disgusted by the second group: They may have a University degree and they may be able to speak several languages, so if they choose to speak Galician, something must be wrong with them. They speak Galician because they are given to vice.

I don’t know you friend, so I shouldn’t judge him, but it seems that he could be one of these people with strong prejudices.

Usually, when I hear sentences like “Although I usually speak Spanish, I love Galician BUT….” or “I have many friends that are gay BUT…” or “I’m not a racist BUT….” I know I have to be wary.

Anonymous said...

This Mr. Cade is a very sick man.
His blog has reminded me of a widely known quote from Shakespeare's "The Tempest" :
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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