Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I see that San Sebastian has been chosen as one of the European Cities of Culture for 2016. It'll be interesting to see how it's referred to in the non-Spanish press, as it has two names – San Sebastian (Spanish) and Donostia (Basque).

Reader Sierra has pointed me in the direction of the news that the AVE line from Toledo to Cuenca and Albacete is being cut because it costs 16,000 euros a day to carry an average of nine people. Does nothing to reduce my pessimism about the year in which we'll be able to get to Madrid in less than 7-8 hours. I'm currently going with 2018, against the official prediction of 2012.

Talking of sad news, I heard this on the radio this morning: “Pecha Galicia Hoxe. A crise económica e o radical recorte das axudas institucionais converten en inviable o proxecto do único diario en galego. Herdeiro de O Correo Galego, publicouse por primeira vez o 17 de maio de 2003. Dezanove profesionais, entre periodistas e filólogos, quedan sen traballo. O Grupo Correo Gallego manterá o espírito do xornal na rede dende” I would translate this but there wouldn't be much point, if you don't already understand it. Suffice to say Galicia's only newspaper in Gallego is closing because La Crisis has reduced subventions. Though I will, on second thoughts, add this view from a Professor of Gallego in the UK:- “It was indeed a dark day yesterday for the pluralism of the Galician media, and for Galician-language media. Note that no government intervention in the form of a rescue package was forthcoming. There may be a link between this failure to intervene and the very critical tone taken by many writers from Galicia Hoxe towards the Feijoo government. There are now no all-Galician print newspapers in Galicia. Thirty-six years of normalisation are being dismantled with alarming rapidity. Even more alarming is the lack of a collective, dynamic response to these measures in the vein of the Nunca Mais movement or from a political grouping. That suggests a lack of policy-making in the opposition and/or a lack of collective will to defend Galician interests. Either way it is not encouraging.” On a point of detail . . . “normalisation” is the term used for the process of increasing the number of Gallego speakers in Galicia. Sometimes by compulsion. I always find it a very Orwellian term.

With two days to go to the deadline, I finally got round to submitting my 2010 tax declaration today, on line. This was tremendously efficient, once I got past the problems of finding out what they meant by my NIF (turned out to be not my NIF but my NIE) and which of my three names they regard as my 'First surname' (turned out to be David, as in Davies David Colin.)

Following up Edward Hughes' comments on Spanish banks yesterday, here's the comment of someone who thinks that the French/EU plan for Greece is seriously flawed:- “One theme of Spain’s economy returned to haunt it yesterday as El Confidencial reported that her banks have hidden some 50 billion euros of bad housing related debts. This was likely to be concentrated in the savings banks, or cajas, where the official policy of mergers has done little to sort out the obvious problems." Still waiting for that transparency.

Finally . . . The Quote of the Week:- What else is Twitter but a Darwinian process for sorting out the human race very efficiently into leaders and followers. Well, I'm pleased to say I'm neither. But I've no idea where that puts me on the evolutionary ladder/tree.


CafeMark said...

The direct service between Toledo, Albacete and Cuenca is being cut (not surprisingly). But customers in those places are not being cut off - they'll just have to change in Madrid eg making a 2 hour 5 minute journey between Toledo and Albacete into one taking 2 hours 28 minutes. Surprising (well not really) that this news snippet gets picked up by all the English press and blogs. Yet the fact that the new Madrid-Valencia line is doing fantastically well, is shown nowhere. In the first 6 months of operation close to a million passenger journeys have been made, and it's expected to be Renfe's top earning service. Only bad news sells?

Colin said...

Twas ever thus. Can you imagine a newspaper full of nothing but good news . . . .?

But I will cite this tonight.

The AVE example, though, is but part of the larger theme that Spain is full of white elephant projects. Plus a good few grey elephant projects (like the AVE to Valencia but not the AVE to Galicia line).

CafeMark said...

Thanks for your reply Colin. By grey elephant do you mean a project that will be well-subscribed? I'm not so sure that the Valencia line is in any way equivalent to the Galicia line, but maybe I'm wrong, and there'll be plenty of business people commuting between Madrid and the north-west. I suppose the line would be fully occupied in peak tourist times, but I fear it could be a poor choice of investment (apologies to Colin and others in Galicia awaiting this fast train link). Time will tell..

Colin said...

Well, as I cited the other day, some economists (at least) see the Madrid-Glaicia AVE as a folly that can't be supported in these times. After all, we have 3 airports within a small area, from all of which one can fly to Madrid in less than an hour. And a door-to-door motorway system which allows of a 4-6 hours drive to Madrid, depending on one's speed.

I just happen to like train travel but would prefer it didn't take as long as it currently does. But, then, I'm usually sleeping during the journey.

And why should we be denied what everyone else has?

An why do I have to get involved with word verification for my own bloody blog? Especially as I didn't half an hour ago?

Ferrolano said...

Perhaps the appropriate balance between Spanish and Galician in newspapers is already covered by others that use both languages side by side. Maybe as a representation as to what is spoken on the streets of Galicia.