Sunday, December 12, 2010

As regular readers will know, the one thing that still gets my goat here is the lack of consideration for others. However, I’ve been here long enough to know this comes in at least three categories. The first (and worst) of these is the general lack of consideration for everyone, e.g. when someone parks their car across a zebra crossing. The second is when someone acts as though you aren’t there – as today when I was ordering my usual Sunday lunch and a woman from the next table got up and started talking to the waiter about her order. And the third – and least annoying – category is of the person who demonstrates the Spanish lack of antennae by doing something that isn’t meant to affect you but does. Like the lady yesterday who started reading the paper in front of me at the bar. My guess is that, if she thought about this at all, she figured that, like her, I was waiting to pay a bill at the counter. Needless to say, when I pointed out – politely – that I was actually reading the paper she was turning the pages of, she became all flustered and apologised like only the Spanish can. Thought-less but not as thoughtless as the earlier examples. 

The front page of the Business Section of El Pais today had a large foto of Mrs Merkel, with the by-line “The Boss of Europe”. Inside, an editorial took the currently fashionable line that the Germans don’t seem to understand what Europe is all about. That Mrs Merkel might be accountable to hardworking Germans fed up of subsidising other, shall we say, ‘less-productive’ Europeans didn’t rate a mention, of course.

Returning to the subject of education in the UK . . . Given what I wrote the other night, I wasn’t surprised to read today: that “The raw data reveals pupils in private schools are streets ahead of their state-school peers. The average reading score of a privately educated teenager in the UK is 553, while it is 492 for a state-educated pupil. (The OECD average last year was 493 points.)”. I can’t help wondering whether things have now gone so far in the UK that state education is a lost cause, regardless of what the present government tries to do about the failure of the last ten years of massively increased expenditure to reap rewards.

As for Wikileaks . . .  I find myself in sympathy with this trenchant view. Which distances me from The Guardian, I suspect . . .

Finally . . .  My daughter has now posted Chapter 14 out of 19 of her novel “The Second Death of Juan La Roca.” Click here for this. And for all the others.

5 comments:

Ashleigh said...

Wow...what a concise and accurate description of the rudeness cultural divide. I love it!

Sierra said...

"...The average reading score of a privately educated teenager in the UK is 553, while it is 492 for a state-educated pupil..."

I wonder how many teacher-hours are spent compiling those "scores" instead of teaching?

moscow said...

Colin,
It is not just the Pais that says Merkel doesn't understand Europe.
Large sections of the German press - the more high brow intelligent ones, of course - are saying the same. And what would you expect of a lady who spent all her formative years under communism? Populists in Germany are busy disseminating their views. I believe in democracy, but the electorate is not always wise in its choice....who did Germans vote for in 1933?

Alberto said...

Regarding Spaniards’ lack of consideration for others I concede that you have a point. Being a polite person myself I’ve often been on the receiving end of it.

However you should realize that lack of consideration for others expresses in many ways. As a frequent tourist to England, a country that I admire and love, I can tell you that I’ve been mocked many times by your fellow countrymen on account of my far from perfect spoken English. This is something that you as a native cannot know. That irony and despise I have so often felt in England for not being profficient enough in your language is something I’ve never seen in Spain. And I’ve been living in Valencia, where tourists abound, for fifty years.

I just wanted to remind you that en todas partes cuecen habas.

Colin said...

Hi, Alberto

Well, I think there's a difference between the (often) passive lack of consideration here and the active (and unacceptable) treatment you've experienced in the UK. There's no excuse for this rudeness and I can confirm no one in Spain has ever mocked my (unbdoubted) accent.

I do hope most of it was done with humour at least. Not that this makes it acceptable.

But, yes, the UK must have its fair share of rude folk.

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