I walked 13km to lunch with my Dutch friend Peter today. And, after it, 13km back to my car. I’m not sure why. But, anyway, one of the things we discussed over the meal was whether there’s a “working class” in Spain and, if so, what it’s called in Spanish. Peter’s view was at one with that of reader Mike, viz. that the basic dividing line here is not between ‘classes’ but between Right and Left, with the overlay of a religion (Catholic, of course) which favours the former. Meaning that the Right comprises both very rich and very poor. As to whether Spain’s (pallid?) version of the industrial revolution had thrown up what’s called in the UK a working class, we weren’t sure. But it certainly seems as if (as reader Moscow has said) the label is not commonly used here.
But the real discussion was of bullfighting, as Peter represents the Contra side of the dialogue I mentioned the other day and which will be featured here soon, after it’s reached a conclusion and I can post it in an easy-to-follow format. As it happens, this is a dialogue between two foreigners, both of whom have lived here some time. As and when it’s posted, Spanish readers will be free to contribute as they wish. Plus everyone else, of course. Except, need I say, the ineffable Cade.
In The Times today, Anatole Kaletsky claims that, in the two years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Anglo economies have failed to draw the appropriate lessons and to make the changes introduced elsewhere. Possibly because most forecasts made two years ago have proved over-pessimistic. Contrary to expectation, for example, public opinion moved to the right, not to the left. And the demise of ‘free-market fundamentalism’ has yet to occur. Instead . . . “Business as usual has prevailed. Not only have the banks escaped any wide-ranging regulation, but politics has reverted to the language of the Thatcher-Reagan period.” This Anglo complacency, says Kaletsky, is not shared by China, India, Japan, Korea and Continental Europe, where “the Lehman crisis has inspired new thinking about alternative approaches to managing a capitalist economy.” “In short, the rest of the world appears to be learning from the mistakes that led to the financial crisis and is beginning to forget some of the prejudices instilled by the market fundamentalism of the 1980s and 1990s, which served their useful purpose under Thatcher and Reagan but have now run out of time. The US and Britain, by contrast, seem to have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing from the past two years.” Assuming this is true, where would Spain lie in the spectrum, one wonders. If either the government or the opposition has tabled a vision of the future – whether Leftist or Rightist - I must have missed it.
Finally . . . Does anyone still reply to things like this – “You have been awarded the sum of 850.000.00 USD. in the EXXON-MOBIL OIL AND GAS COMPANY AWARD 2010”. I guess they must.
An apology: Sorry about the 352 in yesterday's post. My brain was obviously thinking of both weeks and days when I typed it.
Tailnote for new readers: My elder daughter has now net-published five chapters of a novel she describes as “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. Click here, if this entices you. If you do go and you enjoy it, please comment. It’s tough being an aspirant novelist.
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