The Spanish police can still be as brutal as their infamous predecessors. Here they are dealing with a peaceful protest in Madrid against the proposed changes to the abortion laws. Which was probably illegal under the catch-all new law for the 'security of the public'. I doubt that the police wear numbers or names on their uniforms which would identify those who are over-zealous in this task. But I may be wrong.
Happily, I've had little to do with hospitals in either the UK or Spain - excepting brief stays in The Priory. (No, I didn't meet/recognise anyone famous there.) I mention this because I've spent a few hours, as a visitor, in the Santiago hospital in the last few weeks and it's been a rather different world from the UK. First off, there are no fixed visiting hours; anyone can come at any time, without limit on numbers. Secondly, visitors - or at least one - are encouraged to stay over night and a reclining seat is provided next to each bed for this purpose. Thirdly, in the paliativo unit, at least, visitors are not so much allowed as compelled to be with the patients 24 hours a day. Should they fail to comply, the patients's arms are tied to the bed rails, to prevent them getting up and wandering around the corridors. I know this is hard to believe but I'm assured by my knowledgable Dutch friend Peter that it's true and that it reflects a low ratio of nurses to patients and the traditional governmental reliance on the family so as to reduce healthcare (and other benefit) costs. Indications that it really is true come in the form of adverts on the notice board for chicas who are prepared to sit with patients around the clock and for flats for rent close to the hospital. Spain, as they say, is different.
With each passing day here, I become aware how much more corrupt the Spanish political class is than I thought the day before - despite its practitioners (male and female) seeming oh-so-honest on the surface. In part, this is thanks to the daily commentaries of Espía en el Congreso (Spy in Congress), who yesterday commented on the vast gap between the public and private moralities of Spain's politicians. You'll need to read Spanish to benefit but here's one apposite paragraph:- The (low or nil) morality of the Spanish ruling class is the prime source of the huge crisis of social, economic and values being suffered by Spain, a country that has always been characterised by the decency and honour of its citizens. One only needs to take a look at her history or culture, if there is still a professor who cares about these. It is the current political class coming from the transition [to democracy] which has perverted this ancient Iberian belief, reflected in the popular aphorisms: "I am poor, but honest"; "My hunger controls me", etc. In fact, the major changes and policy proposals throughout the history of Spain have always stemmed from large campaigns of public morality.
Talking of power-mad politicians . . . Here's today's mots justes from the Ayotalla:- Islam is the religion of those who struggle for truth and justice, of those who clamour for liberty and independence. It is the school of those who fight against colonialism.
Ironic, then, that Islam means submission. Albeit to God. And to his self-appointed lieutenants, of course.