Which reminds me . . . When I first came to Pontevedra around twelve years ago, there was no fiesta in September. Now, though, we have the Feria Franca (or medieval fair), which started small but is now huge. Five years ago, we had no fiesta in October. But next week sees the city’s version of the Munich Oktoberfest. Can’t wait to see what we’ll be having in November within a year or two. Crisis? What crisis?
For the vast majority of time, you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘Old Spain’ had disappeared completely. But then along comes some pillock who makes a macho comment that takes us back several decades. This time it’s the mayor of somewhere down south who made a lewd comment about one of the new female cabinet ministers. I wasn’t quite sure what his words meant but the graphic gesture of the barman I asked left little room for doubt. I can’t say I was surprised to see the mayor is a member of the right-of-centre PP party but I was a little taken aback to read he’s a gynaecologist. Illogical as that might be. I dread to think what his bedside manner is like.
The leader of said PP party is the deeply uncharismatic Pontevedran, Mario Rajoy, who’s so bad he ranks as the main electoral asset of the beleaguered president, Sr Zapatero. That aside, he came up with a nice response to the surprise government reshuffle of this week. Or, rather, his scriptwriters did – “”They’ve changed the musicians but not the conductor nor the score.” If you’d like to know more about this development and its implications, click here for Guy Hedgecoe’s informed overview in Qorreo. Essentially, while moving rightwards with his policies, Sr Zapatero has moved leftwards with his ministerial personnel. This appears to be an attempt to lure back disenchanted socialist voters, who currently look like staying away from next year’s urns in their droves. As Guy says, decisive but perhaps a little too late.
Incidentally, all the new members of the government were sworn in before a copy of the Spanish Constitution, a Bible and a crucifix. Which seems a little anachronistic and excessive even by God-ridden US standards. I wonder how many of them really are practising Catholics. I do fancy, though, that I’ve read that this mode of swearing your allegiance is not compulsory and that there’s at least one alternative. But I can’t recall what it is. I don’t suppose it involves Mephistopheles. Even if it would be more appropriate for some of them.
, our government’s budget for 2011 is around 11% down on this year’s. The level of spend will, therefore, be around that for 2006. There will be screams of pain, of course, but I don’t recall anyone complaining back then that this wasn’t nearly enough. And we all got by somehow. Possibly with smaller fiestas. Galicia
Finally . . . It’s been announced that there’ll be a competition to decide between the governments of
and Portugal as to which has been more inept in handling the issue of road and air travel in their respective bailiwicks. This, of course, follows the Portuguese government’s “third world” implementation of a decision to put tolls on all major roads in the north of the country, and the Galician government’s failure to reach an agreement with Ryanair so as to keep it flying into and out of our region. For what it’s worth, I believe the Xunta will finally realise all the cards are in the airline’s hands right now and beg it to return to the table. By which time, of course, the price will have gone up. And the policy of having three small airports which can be played off against each other will have been shown to be as strategically stupid as I’ve long said it is. But we will see. Galicia
Tailnote for new readers: The first nine chapters of my daughter’s novel can now be read and/or downloaded in pdf form, for easy reading. It’s a “Fast-paced political thriller but, above all, a personal tale of pride and paranoia.” Set in a fictionalised
, it’s being e-published at the rate of at least a couple of chapters a week. If this entices you, click here. Cuba