Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spain is different 6: Regional nationalism: & The best place to live.

It seems to be Put a Bike in a Silly Place Week in Pontevedra. Walking into town last night, I saw gaily painted bikes attached to trees in the Alameda and on the facade of the town hall. No idea why

Spain is Different 6: 
  1. Gypsies are quite possibly unpopular in most countries but in Spain they're detested. As the common refrain has it - "I'm not racist but I hate gypsies." I have to confess that, having seen what goes on here, I have some sympathy for the Spanish view. Though the chicken and egg conundrum is surely relevant.
  2. "Please" is not a common word in Spain. Its (Anglo?) function is more normally performed by tone of voice. It's similar for "Thank-you", though rather less so.
  3. Local and regional identities (Mi patria chica) are stronger than in other countries, especially where there are local languages, as in the Basque Country, Cataluña and Galicia. Though not in Valencia or the Balearic Islands, even though they speak a variant of Catalan.
  4. Spain operates on a clock which is out of kilter with its geographical position. This follows a decision by Franco in WW2 40s to move to Germany's clock, rather than that of the appropriate clock of Portugal below it and the UK above it.
  5. Although pretty irritated right now, the Spanish public is rather more tolerant of political corruption than elsewhere.
  6. Spain has invested more in solar energy than most other countries. Indeed it has the world's largest solar park. That said, the government has recently thrown the industry into turmoil by ending the subsidies that underlay its growth.
  7. Sometimes Spain will shock you with its inefficiency and sometimes it will shock you with its efficiency. For example, Spain's system of taxation is generally considered inefficient, whereas The Traffic Police are very impressive at relieving you of cash for offences that only exist in Spain. This might be because they have cars and the tax inspectors sit in offices.

Talking of regionalism/nationalism . . . I joked years ago that Cornwall would soon have a Cornish National Front, only to have life imitate this art. Now the UK government has given the place the status of “national minority”. This, of course, is just the thin end of the wedge and I am with Charles Moore when he writes that "Whenever a 'national minority' is given special legal status, a small attack is made on our common citizenship. . . There is something unhealthy and divisive about this obsession with legally defining minorities. People say it 'celebrates diversity' but actually it forces people into tortuous self-definitions which do not reflect modern reality". More from Moore here.

Finally . . . Britain is reported to have come last in a survey of how European countries rate themselves as a place to live. A whopping 12% of Brits are said to be so unhappy they're considering emigration. And which country gets the most votes - 13% - as the place they'd like to flee to? Spain, of course. Which came 2nd (after France) as the country with the best quality of life. Crisis, what Crisis?


Perry said...

Colin, me 'andsome,

Point 5, not tolerant, but apathetic, or in other words, not waving, but drowning.

The Cornish are just Westwalas. It's good fun tormenting them.

After the Cornish diaspora, it was said that at the bottom of any excavated hole worldwide, there would be a Cornishman.

Andy Osnard said...

Local and regional identities ? Hostias en vinagre. Hay que tenerlos cuadrados.

Spain is not Galiza (y los sabes de sobra) Harry Pendel

Search This Blog