Sunday, March 07, 2010

Judicial unrest: EU politics; Nascent xenophobia; The English football team; and Spanish film titles

The left-of-centre El País today picked up on the subject of the orchestrated campaign against judge Báltasar Garzón, describing him as the victim of persecution by right wing elements. Some of which, of course, are heavily implicated in the corruption he’s investigating. No wonder 1400 judges and magistrates have signed a petition calling for the depoliticisation of the judicial system. Though they have even bigger complaints than that of Garzón’s treatment.

Talking of witch-hunts . . . El País also picked up today on reports there’s widespread dismay both in Brussels and in national capitals at what’s regarded as the disastrously woeful performance of Ms Ashton since she was plucked out of obscurity three months ago to become the EU’s Foreign Affairs Representative. Amongst other things, she’s blamed (scapegoated?) for the failure of Europe to find any role at the December Global Warming conference in Copenhagen. Of course, it was known at the outset there’d be a monumental three-way struggle for power (and sinecures) in this area but I haven’t yet seen any suggestion the situation is really the fault of the horse-trading, expediency-loving politicians who appointed Ms Ashton to a job for which she couldn’t possibly have been much further from whatever the Perfect Bride Specification was. If, indeed, there ever was one. She was, after all, Gordon Brown’s fifth choice. Poor woman. I wonder if she will be able to avoid a nervous breakdown now that the French government, in particular, has decided to go for her jugular. And how she will be eased out of the job. Is there, I wonder, an Upstairs to kick her into, so saving everyone’s face?

Here’s a surprise – 83% of Spaniards don’t want to see a rise in the IVA sales tax. And 61% think civil servants’ salaries – as in several other countries – should be frozen. Fat chance, I suspect, now the government has assured them they won’t even be suffering a reduction in the rates of increase agreed a while back.

I touched on immigration the other day, emphasising the relatively low number of disturbances being reported in Spain, despite a high percentage of immigrants in the total population and a very high unemployment rate, particularly among the young. So it was sad today to read of xenophobia in the town of Salt near Girona, in Cataluña, where immigrants form 56% of the population. I fear the reality is we’ll be seeing more of this sort of stuff, as things get even worse and Spain suffers years of low growth. The question is - Will we see the rise of the sort of far-right parties now experiencing success in other European countries or will the PP party find it less than problematical to slip further to the right?

On a lighter note . . There was a scathing article on the English football team in the Sports Section of El País today. Accurate as it was, I suspect I'd have felt a little miffed if it’d been written by a Spaniard, rather than the excellent John Carlin, a fellow-Brit. Ah, well. At least Everton won 5-1 today, brilliantly orchestrated by a Spaniard (the magnificent Arteta) who can’t even make the Spanish squad. Which says it all really.

Finally . . . The film “The Hurt Locker” which is in line for various Oscars tonight is rendered “En Tierra Hostil” (In Hostile Country) in Spanish. Your guess is as good as mine. I suppose it keeps someone in a job.

No comments: