In the UK – and, I suspect, the USA – the word ‘elite’ is taboo these days. Almost as bad as ‘judgmental’. So I was pleasantly surprised to see an editorial in one of the national papers making the point that, if the Spanish education system remains poor, it will prevent the formation an elite. But perhaps the word has a different connotation in Spanish. As, indeed, the word ‘education’ often does. Of course, I’m assuming the paper was making a critical comment, not a laudatory one.
It’s not a new number but it was interesting to hear the Spanish Labour Minster yesterday confirm that Spain’s black economy has reached the level of 20% of the official number. Except it hasn’t, says the rank-pulling Vice President for the Economy. So, pick your own number. But, anyway, it’s probably quite large.
Meanwhile, the head of the European Central Bank has taken time off from commenting on the woes of Greece to say that Spain “has work to do”. Which can’t really have come as much of a surprise to anyone.
Thanks to a BBC podcast, I had the opportunity recently to learn quite a lot about a member of the 60’s group, The Bonzo Dog Do Dah Band. One Vivian Stanshall by name. Specifically, I learned about a quirky film that I must try to find called “Rawlinson End”. For a taste of VS’s brand of humour, try this . . . His exploits with close friend Keith Moon are legendary. Perhaps the most notorious involves Stanshall going into a tailor's shop and admiring a pair of trousers. Moon then came in, posing as another customer, admired the same trousers and demanded to buy them. When Stanshall protested, the two men fought over them, splitting them in two so they ended up with one leg each. The tailor was by now beside himself but just then a one-legged actor, who’d been hired by Stanshall and Moon, came in, saw the trousers and proclaimed "Ah! Just what I was looking for.” Well, I liked it.
Finally . . . Galician Nationalism. I think it was a character in one of Steinbeck’s books who said something like “-isms and –ocracies, I’ve had enough of these. Give me facts!” Well, in response to the readers who claim I’m a Spanish Nationalist because I don’t agree with them, I say the salient facts are, firstly, that Galicia is not yet a nation and, secondly, that the people they have to convince to make it one are their fellow Galicians, not me. Meanwhile, the correct label for me is Democratic Status Quoist. As I’ve said several times, if the majority of people in Galicia, Scotland, Wales or wherever vote to secede and become an independent nation, then I will accept that their region/country is now a (probably poorer) nation. Until then, all else is mere talk. And that is definitely my last word on this subject. And I don’t mind how much you mock this view, Mr Cade, as I’m quite sure more people have laughed at your comments than at anything I’ve ever written. Which is rather sad really, given that I’m trying to amuse them and you’re not.