Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In today's British papers, there's a report of the son of an English earl being tried for rape. Of course, the man is innocent until proven guilty but, in the circumstances, it still struck me as rather odd for him to be referred to as "the honourable".

In a development which will doubtless be watched with interest from both Bilbao in the Basque Country and Barcelona in Cataluña, the British Prime Minister and the Scottish First Minister have initiated the dance that will precede a referendum on further devolution to or the independence of Scotland. The former wants this conducted in 2013 but the latter would rather wait until 2014, when the Scots will be celebrating the 700th anniversary of their last victory over the English, at Bannockburn. There are numerous thorny issues in play - for example what currency would the Scots have? - but I rather like the suggestion that everyone in the UK has a vote on Scottish independence, not just the Scots. This would probably result in the Scots 'gaining' independence, even if a majority of them (as of now) were against it. This, of course, is because the English are fed up with all the moaning and the posturing and would be happy to see them go. But I don't suppose this will happen.

Spain's phony boom saw a number of white elephant projects constructed around the country - witness our own City of Culture on the edge of Santiago. One of the most notorious is the airport in Castellón in Valencia. This cost 150m euros to construct and a further 30m euros has been spent on advertising the place. Which all seems to have been a bit of a waste as it is yet to see a passenger or, indeed, a plane. Undaunted, those behind this monumental extravagance have now commissioned a 300,000 euro work of art to honour Carlos Fabra. Who is a local politician notable for winning the huge Christmas lottery several times - a time-honoured way of explaining away your unusual wealth. You can read more on this from either The Telegraph or The Guardian

Pointing up this extravagance are the reports that Valencia can't afford to stage any more Formula 1 races unless Bernie Ecclestone forgoes some of his huge take. As if.
Incidentally, the President of the Valencian region is called Albert Fabra. I wonder if he's related to Carlos Fabra, the lucky man who's won the Christmas lottery in nine of the last ten years. And who clearly doesn't care how suspicious this looks.

Finally . . . How do you pronounce 'indictment'? I hope you've replied 'in-dite-ment'. And not 'in-dicked-ment' as I heard from an academic on BBC Radio4 today. Which reminds me . . . Waterstone's, the book sellers, are to drop the apostrophe from their name.

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