I mentioned the EU elections the other day and waxed a little lyrical about MEPs. Here's the estimable Christopher Booker waxing rather more lyrical on the same subject: Everything is weird about this week’s Euro-election, and nothing is weirder than the possibility that the party that comes top of the poll will be one that hasn’t got a single seat in Parliament. Our other parliament, in Brussels and Strasbourg, plays an important part in producing a huge proportion of the laws we must all obey. Yet on Thursday we shall only be choosing a bunch of unknown nonentities to represent us there, commanding just 9% of the votes that can pass or reject those laws – and, hardly surprisingly, the majority of the British electorate will not even bother to turn out to vote for something they don’t begin to understand
Meanwhile, the British polls are all over the place. The only constant is that UKIP, the anti-EU party, has stayed in the lead. Here's Booker again on why this is: The underlying reason why UKIP is likely to do well this week is that it is the only way in which we can express our anger and contempt for the entire political class. The Spanish, however, have no real option but to turn out for the usual suspects. The full article here.
What's the difference between 'a racial slur' and 'a racist remark'? No, I don't know either but Ed Milliband thinks there is. And that the latter is worse than the former. Dangerous ground.
And talking of politicians who generate anger and contempt . . . Today came the news that only 3 Spanish political parties passed the stringent tests set by the international anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International. The two leading parties scored 40 and 30% and, needless to say, didn't figure in this short list of 3.
It seems the woman politician gunned down in Leon was a rather unpopular lady. Someone has written at the spot of her death "A piece of vermin died here". This was not just because she had a knack for making enemies but also because, as is the Spanish norm, she was enriching herself from the public purse. And rather blatantly, it seems. For her nickname was La dama de once nominas - the Lady of Eleven Salaries. Or was it 12? A columnist on the Voz de Galicia wrote yesterday of the assassination as 'monstrous' and despaired of the standard reaction of politicians to use it as grist for their own mills, ahead of imminent elections. Most pertinently, he adds that:- "The crime speaks of a women gunned down on her doorstep. But also of the particular capital sins of our current politics: institutionalised corruption; bare-faced croneyism and nepotism; revenge, cruelty; obsession; the purging of dissidents; 'You don't know who you're talking to'.
Where is Bateman when you need him? I was walking into the town centre this morning when I was met by the astonishing sight of a man not just riding his bike slowly but doing it in the middle of the road. To point up the rarity of this, in one of the old quarter's narrow streets I was later shouted at to get out of the way of a guy who was about to hit either me or my colleague. And who made it sound like this was our fault.
Finally . . . I went up to the hot city of Ourense yesterday. I planned to visit the cathedral and the nearby archeological museum but they were both closed. My guidebook - the 1999 edition of The Rough Guide said they'd be open. This is not the first time it's let me down . . .