Monday, November 26, 2012

Well, yesterday's regional elections in Cataluña brought us some surprising results. President Arturo Mas, who's promoted them as a vote on secession from Spain, received a kick in both cojones. His party not only failed to get an absolute majority but, worse, lost a fifth of its seats in the process. On top of that, the pretty-far-left ERC party doubled its seats and knocked the national PSOE socialist party out of second place. Perhaps the most surprising element was the anti-secession, right-of-centre PP party marginally increasing its representation in parliament. In other countries, one might expect to see Sr Mas handing in his resignation after such a debacle. Here in Spain . . . possibly not. Though he probably won't be there in a year's time.

All that said, there's certainly a majority in the Catalan parliament in favour of a referendum on independence from Spain. So I guess we can assume it's coming some time in the next year or three. Unless – as with the Scottish Nats – the conclusion is reached it's going to be lost. Meanwhile, here's fellow blogger Graham's rather more in-depth analysis of yesterday's developments than mine.

Incidentally, reporting on these elections France24 spoke of the 'compromise of the independence parties.' This is an all-too-common mis-translation of the Spanish word compromiso. Which really means 'commitment'.

Which reminds me . . . The normally-amusing voiceover on Come Dine with Me keeps referring to chorizo as choritso, rather than choreetho. It's getting to me. I'm starting to shout at the TV.

Tamara Rojo is the Artistic Director of the English National Ballet. She's Spanish and there are some beautiful fotos of her on the web. This is one of them and the question that springs to my mind is – How on earth does she do it? Just looking at it brings tears to my eyes.

I went to an exhibition of Picasso sketches tonight, in a building associated with the now-extinct savings bank Caixa Galicia. We used to have two savings banks in Galicia but now we have none, as they were fused and then converted into a real bank, NovaGalicia. One of the functions of the savings banks – alongside lending or just giving money to favoured politicos and businessmen - was to stage cultural events such as this one. My guess is we'll now see fewer and fewer of these. Especially as the European Commission has demanded serious layoffs in NovaGalicia, as part of the deal to transfer billions of euros to Spanish banks. Pretty inevitable but still unwelcome.

Finally . . . It's generally felt that the first football team in Spain was formed in Huelva but there are two Galician coastal towns which dispute this claim to fame. I knew that Villagarcia believed that – thanks to games against the British Navy – they'd got there first but today I read in El País that the honour may well belong to Vigo, thanks to the British laying communication cables from there in 1873. Followed by the Germans. Which made the city a pretty interesting place between 1937 and 1945.


Anonymous said...

Ever ventured to wonder why Portugal is independent whereas Catalonia is not? Well, in any case, here is the simplest answer: Brazilian sugar

Azra said...

So apparently the Spainish government hopes to reduce excess housing stock by offering residency to foreign house buyers... I just need to get my hands on €200 000 :)

Colin said...


200,000 euros? I thought it was 160,000 euros or 128,000 pounds. Or are you disfavoured as a South African, even though the Russians and Chinese aren't.

The banks selling them may well give you a (cheap) mortgage. Being desperate to sell.