Saturday, May 15, 2010

In an interview with a local paper, a Galician philosopher of rather advanced age was asked whether he felt we were passing through difficult times. He replied gnomically that all times are difficult in Galicia because it’s inhabited by Galicians. He added, for good measure, that all Galicians are ‘green dogs’, which my friends tell me means they are odd. Fortunately, he said all this in Gallego so it was probably acceptable. I’m not sure it would be if I wrote it in English.

Maybe 'green dog’ is a phrase which can be used to describe the mayor of Vigo, who has let it be known several times just how much he’s against the merger of the two Galician savings banks, Caixa Galicia and Caixnova. Referring to his outpourings, another local politician has accused him of “errors, lies and calumnies”. And of calling the citizens of Vigo mad. Perhaps the next elections are some way off.

Finally – and still on politics . . . The Spanish press has given an admirable amount of space to the UK elections but it struck me that readers might be a little confused about the Liberal Democratic Party now in coalition with the Conservatives. For ‘liberal’ appears to have two very distinct meanings here. In the context of political philosophy it probably means something quite similar to what it means elsewhere. For which we can probably substitute the over-used word ‘progressive’ these days. But in the context of economic policy it means red-in-tooth-and-claw-Anglo-Saxon-devil-take-the-hindmost capitalism. Always suggested in cartoons by a man in tail-coats with a stovepipe hat on his head and a large dollar sign somewhere about his person. Sadly, I don’t know how anyone with less extreme views is portrayed.

4 comments:

Lenox said...

Well, we do have a liberal party in Spain - the CDL (Centro Democrático Liberal) http://www.cdl-centro.es/ which is the follow-on from the UCD of Adolfo Suárez. The president of the CDL is interesting - he's half Irish, half Spanish and is called Sean O'Curneen Cañas.

Alberto said...

Hi,

In Spanish politics, Liberal has become a substitute for rightist, since the politicians and journalists (Each day that passes I find harder to difference the later from the former) that call such themselves came from the right of the political spectrum (with the probable exception of the nice but inconsequential CDL)

In fact, the politician that most conspicuously calls herself liberal is Esperanza Aguirre, South Of Watford's favorite corrupt politician.

Alberto said...

Also that 'green dog' thing is common in Spain. A usual way of expressing that something is odd is saying that it is "mas raro que un perro verde" (odder than a green dog)

Colin said...

Belatedly, Thanks, gents.