It had to happen. The people of Cornwall - or at least some of them - are demanding the same rights as the Scots to a referendum on independence from the UK. And for a revival of the Cornish Celtic language - Kernowek - which is closer to Breton than to Welsh, apparently. That'll teach me to joke about the Cornish National Front, as I did a few years back.
Back in Spain, IberoSphere's Guy Hedgecoe has some pertinent things to say about the country's politicians . . . Recent months have done little for the credibility of Rajoy and Spain’s political class. The new prime minister sidestepped detail and hardly made any promises during the election campaign, despite the drastic state of the economy he would inherit. And yet, on taking office he has broken one of his only pledges. The near-obsessive secrecy with which Rajoy has gone about preparing his austerity measures and ministerial appointments has hardly served to alter this image of opacity. Meanwhile, the Socialist opposition, mired in their own process of reinvention, must take at least some blame for insisting in public that the deficit they had been managing was on target, when clearly it wasn’t, to the tune of €20 billion. Throughout this economic crisis, the two main parties’ inability to reach consensus for the good of the country has been all too clear. And now, just days into a new four-year legislature, neither shows signs of putting the national interest ahead of political points-scoring. Rajoy’s policies may impress Brussels, but his country’s politics won’t. This will be a year of reforms in Spain, from the labour market to the financial sector. But what also needs to be overhauled is the disdain and lack of sincerity with which the country’s politicians treat the electorate. More here.
On the financial front, Spain today borrowed twice as much as planned, at an interest rate appreciably lower than previously. So, good news at the national level. At the regional level, things are rather worse. Moody's has slashed debt-struck Valencia's credit rating and threatened to downgrade nine other Spanish regions, warning of growing liquidity pressures and big looming debt payments.The decision could be bad news for Spain's regions, which over-ran their deficit-cutting targets in 2011 by a large margin and are still struggling with the aftermath of the 2008 property bubble collapse.
You will recall that it's Valencia which has the airport without planes and passengers. And the 300,000 euro statue of Carlos Fabra on a roundabout in front of the empty airport buildings.
I'm grateful for the several comments on my long list of personal irritants. As some of you rightly said, many of these are not confined to Spain. I also appreciated the advice that customer-check outs had reached Spain. Or Cataluña, at least. But, then, I'd expect them to be ahead of the game there. And Anthea informed me that at least one store in the UK - Toys-R-Us - obliges customers to check in their bags before they enter the store. And Mark has pointed us in the direction of efficient shopping born of a phone app.
Finally . . . Click here to see an interesting pig.