Sunday, October 16, 2011

First things first . . . Great to see the New Zealand All Blacks dominating and handsomely beating the Australian Wallabies in the semi-final of the rugby World Cup this morning. Or last evening, if you're reading this in the Antipodes. Hard to see France coping with them in next Sunday's final. Especially as most commentators (all outside France?) feel the French have got there by luck rather than skill, and that they've been, in truth, one of the poorer teams in the tournament.

From sport to that other great spectator activity, politics . . . . Fascinating to see the example of the Spanish Indignados being followed in so many cities around the world (including 70 in Spain), in protest against the politicos and bankers seen to be responsible for the global crisis of the last two to three years. As you'd expect, the audience last night rather liked this instruction from Lear to poor (blinded) Gloucester:- Get thee glass eyes, and like a scurvy politician, seem to see the things thou dost not.

In the particular bear-pit of English politics, the Secretary for Defence, Dr Fox, has finally fallen on his sword over the issue of the old friend who kept cropping up as his 'personal adviser' in places awash with cash, such as Dubai. Am I being unfair to feel this would be considered pretty small beer in Spain? And not exactly a resigning matter? Or has the latest revelation - that the friend was 'sponsored' by commercial outfits to plough/plow his chosen furrows - taken this affair to a new and significant low?

This article asks if now is a good time for Brits to buy property in Continental Europe. Having been left rather confused in the case of Spain, I found myself agreeing with the reader who wrote - "Dangerous, ill-informed rubbish designed to do nothing other than to line the pockets of the commercial contributors". Though I know of one house in the hills behind Pontevedra that would represent a great buy for those interested in a quiet, picturesque, rural retreat. With terrific views. . . .

Returning to Spain and politics . . . Click here for a sympathetic and optimistic view of the Indignados from Diego Beas in The Guardian. In his opinion:- "This has so far succeeded in revealing a side of Spain that few thought existed: a resilient and politicised public willing to get involved to change the modus operandi of the system. The disruptive power of networked politics, in other words, has been revealed."

That said, Beas (rightly) feels (like my friend Dwight) that this is not enough. He sees the next step as "thinking in terms of outcomes. Not in the traditional electoral sense – it won't change the result of the election, nor should it try to. It needs to redefine goals, metrics and ways to interpret and understand government accountability and political participation. It needs to create a sense of hope among the general public that, alongside the established tired politics of old – which we still need, otherwise Spain would become like Egypt or Tunisia – a new layer of political participation is collectively being woven." My italics.

Finally . . . Click here for the comments of Guy Hedgecoe of IberoSphere on what he calls "Spain's greatest export".


Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Nice article, Colin. I'm sure you've seen a similar discontent in US in the news with the anti-Wall Street protests. It seems to be a recognition all over that a new approach is needed to economic decisions in so many countries.

Azra said...

I was quite taken with the photos of the worldwide protests here: said...

hiii ... Nice Post ..

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