Ahead of Spain’s general strike tomorrow, it was interesting to read this comment from a famous left-wing UK columnist in the country’s leading left-wing newspaper:- “Strikes against the public are an insane way for unions to respond to public service cuts: imaginative protest will need to stand on the side of citizens, not against them: soliciting support, not alienating it.”
But the real political news in the UK is, of course, the election of the younger Miliband as the new Labour leader. He’s had a lot of labels attached to him in the last few days but the one I haven’t seen is ‘Jewish’. In fact, I didn’t even know he was until my mother mentioned it last night. Which I think says a lot for public discourse in the UK. If he gets to be Prime Minister, he won’t, of course, be the first Jewish PM in Britain, as this accolade went to Disraeli, more than a hundred years ago. I wonder how long it will be before there’s a Jewish president in Spain. Or a gypsy leader in either country. Or, indeed, a Romanian president in France.
The left-wing columnist I quoted above also had this to say on the theme of the looming Left-Right clashes in the UK:- “He [Ed Miliband] has to prove that he is not in the pocket of the trade unions. . . He has to reject the politics of envy and stay firmly in the centre ground. Yesterday his older brother declared that the purpose of the Labour Party was 'not to practise class war but to end it'." Quite.
In like vein, Spain’s main left wing paper, El País, yesterday called for the country’s ‘grandes centrales’ to counter any union extremism. If there’s a definition of who the former actually are, I’d be pleased to hear it.
A sign of the times? Down in Pontevedra’s old quarter I today saw one of the rarest of beasts here in Spain – a second-hand shop. Called “Vintage”, naturally. I guess it’s possible the stuff inside is new but just looks used. I must go in and have a better look.
Much of the past ten years must now look like a dream to many Spaniards, with public money (from a variety of sources) being sprayed around as if there were no tomorrow. For those who speak Spanish, here’s a commentary from todays's Voz de Galicia on where some of this manna went and on the abrupt change that’s recently taken place. In Galicia at least. From feast to famine, in a word.
Which reminds me . . . The excess airport problem isn’t confined to Galicia, it seems. No doubt reflecting the consequences of devolution and regionalism, there's a total of 48 around Spain.
Finally . . . One of those headlines: “One third of Spaniards who use a condom do so incorrectly”. How exactly?
Tailnote for new readers: My elder daughter has now net-published six chapters of a novel which is “A fast-paced political thriller but, above all, a personal tale of pride and paranoia.” Set in a fictionalised Cuba, it’s being e-published at the rate of at least a couple of chapters a week. If this entices you, click here. And, if you enjoy it, please tell her. It’s tough being an aspirant novelist.