Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Final words on the elections. . . One of the more significant developments was the success of the (new) Bildu party in the Basque Country. To the Far Right - and even the Not-so-Far-Right - these are nothing less than ETA terrorists masquerading as democrats. To the rest of us, they are hopefully a sign that ETA recognises it's been defeated and that the way forward is democratic and non-violent. Anyway, Bildu gained 25% of the vote, only five percentage points less than the well-established Basque National Party. And it took control of San Sebastian, ousting the socialist PSOE party from the region's second-largest city.

Here's a considered overview on Sunday's results from Guy Hedgecoe of IberoSphere. And here's Guy talking about the Indignants' version of revolution.

Moving away from elections and revolutions, I'm having difficulty keeping Samuel Johnson out of this blog. Here's a paragraph I ran across today  . . . On this very day, in 1763, a chance encounter took place which changed the face of literature. In Davies’s Bookshop in Russell Street, Covent Garden, the 22-year-old James Boswell was introduced to the 53‑year-old Samuel Johnson. Boswell recorded the meeting in his journal. Knowing Johnson’s “mortal antipathy” to Scots, he begged Davies not to tell Johnson that he was one, but Davies ignored him and revealed “Bozzy’s” origin; so Boswell said: “Indeed I come from Scotland, but I cannot help it.” To which Johnson replied: “That, I find, is what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help.” You can see more/Moore here.

Which reminds me . . . Having Irish as well as Welsh and Scottish blood, I was naturally pleased to see that the Queen's visit to Ireland had finally sealed some of the ancient (and not so ancient) wounds that had bedevilled relations between Britain and its Irish neighbour. Quite an achievement.

Walking into town today, I noticed two more closed shops - one dedicated to wardrobes and one offering computer and phone services to South America. I don't hold out much hope for the place on the other side of the road specialising in, of all things, doors. And in which I've never seen a customer.

Talking about towns . . . Here's Lenox of The Spanish Shilling on what greed can do to a place.

Finally . . . A couple of quotes:-

H G Wells's last words - "Go away! I'm alright"

Historian, Niall Ferguson: "The best thing about our networked world is that it greatly increases the chances that natural leaders will emerge, whatever the disadvantages of their birth. What else is Twitter but a Darwinian process for sorting the human race very efficiently into leaders and followers?"

2 comments:

Diego said...

I sincerely hope that you are right on the Bildu matter, although i go with the other option, i am open to surprises.

The cease fire, one party, two parties pattern is not new, this time it worked. 25% of the vote is no laughing matter and something has to be done to include that many people in the democratic process, banning them altogether does not work in my opinion.

Of course, i understand the need to save face by being ambiguous with their message but a clear rejection of ETA and its methods would be nice.

Colin said...

Well, I don't think such clear statements have yet come from Sinn Fein in Ireland but they are now represented in the parliaments of both Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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