Well, one can hardly post a blog tonight without making reference to the cause celebre of the day. My sister, who's lived in France for 40 years, endorses my view that the Strauss-Kahn affair wouldn't have seen the light of day in La Belle France. Fascinating to see the dumbstruck French resorting to all sorts of conspiracy theories. I'd thought this was a Spanish speciality. Who knows, levels of anti-Americanism in France may yet reach the stratospheric levels they are here.
Meanwhile, there was a nice comment from the editor of Libération this morning:- "France is having its first sex scandal à l'anglo saxonne and is brutally entering a zone of public debate which, up to now whether because of the cultural exception, the 'latin' identity or democratic weakness has been confined to rumours and gossip among a small inner circle". "Politicians" he added "enjoy a particular tolerance on this subject. Part of the shock comes also from the unusual scene, until now unthinkable here: police arresting a top-level politician on a matter of morals." Except, of course, it isn't a matter of morals; there's an allegation of attempted rape.
Anyway, the developments tend to endorse two of my own long-standing beliefs - That those with the greatest strengths also have the greatest weaknesses. And that those who live by 'the sword' shall perish by 'the sword'. In France, Monsieur S-K was nicknamed the Hot Rabbit (it sounds better in French) and was seen, even before these events, as more of a predator than a mere womaniser. Shades of Mr Clinton. And yet he survived in the USA.
Here in Spain, the polls suggest that the last thing the electorate will be doing this month is punishing the PP party for the raft of corruption charges in which some of its leading lights are embroiled. See the IberoSphere overview here for all that you need to know about politics in Spain today.
I'll just add that a letter-writer in yesterday's El País made the valid point that, not only is the PP to the right of the rest of the European Right, but the PSOE is also to the right of the European Left. I blame it on the Catholic Church. And the boogey.
I wonder if we 'naive and puritanical' Anglos are supposed to be impressed by these 'sophisticated' European standards.
Which reminds me . . . A columnist in the UK's Sunday Telegraph yesterday addressed the issue of the European dream:- "In many ways the EU is a triumph of co-operation and political tenacity. Yet the reality is that the great experiment has developed stresses and pressure-points that must make even the most ardent Europhile wonder how long it can hold together. [Reader Moscow?][No. See his comment to this post].
But there's no place for Anglo gloating . . . "This is not a risk which Britons can watch smugly from over the water, telling ourselves how wise we have been to maintain a truculent attitude to everything emanating from Brussels, to have kept our island frontiers intact, and to have shunned the single currency. There can be no benefit to us from a European cataclysm, beyond the opportunity it offers to Ukip to say “I told you so.” But why has the founders’ dream mutated into this crisis? At the heart of Europe’s problems is a failure of logic. Monetary union was hailed as the locomotive of progress towards a European super-power. Yet monetary union itself can only flourish on the basis of a high degree of political and fiscal integration. Without those elements its destiny is to be torn apart: For now, however, the euro is sacrosanct, whatever the cost in terms of lost international confidence and respect — but Europe’s leaders are too weak to drive forward the fiscal and political integration that is the only path to securing the euro’s permanency. The European ideal looks more fragile today than at any time since it began to evolve in the 1970s from a “common market” to an enlarged community of states. And that is no cause for celebration or schadenfreude. Tarnished and flawed though it may be, the EU has made a huge contribution to peace and has supported the democratic aspirations of many millions of people. It urgently needs two things: a strategy to deal with the debt crisis in which no options are ruled out, and a new set of leaders." Fat chance, I would have thought. Even less today that yesterday, perhaps.
Finally . . . An announcement for those who missed it Saturday:- Two or three years ago I set up the Anglo Galician Association, for those speakers of English with an interest in Galicia. For one reason and another, it didn't flourish. On the assumption it was ahead of its time, I'm having another stab at it. So, anyone interested in going on the circulation list should contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org Any nationality. Any location. Don't be shy.