Friday, June 06, 2014

Censorship?; Troublemakers; The Spanish economy; Political English; Brain food; & Verse.

After treating the king's abdication with insufficient reverence, several Spanish journalists have found themselves on the street. The co-founder of Spain’s El Mundo parted company with the paper after committing the unpardonable sin of referring to the king’s relationship with German aristocrat Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. And over at Jueves, a satirical magazine, 4 members of staff left after the pulling of their front-page cartoon of the king handing over a filthy crown with a clothes peg on his nose. Good job he wasn't giving it to Mohammed.

Talking (almost) about a possible Third Republic . . . What would you say if I asked you to nominate the largest political party on the eve of the destruction of the Second Republic in 1936? Most people seem to opt for the Falange, which was in fact tiny. The answer is - the Anarchists. Who continued to be, well, anarchistic after the war had broken out. Unhelpfully refusing to join the government or to have officers for their troops, for example. The group of 50 left wing parties calling for a referendum naturally has anarchists in its ranks (the CGT) but their influence is well below that of the socialists these days. And possible even below that of the communists

One reads, on the one hand, that the Spanish economy is finally doing OK but, on the other, that the government is raiding the pension funds so as to buy government debt - raising the fear that Spain will need to seek a bailout in 2015. But what does it matter as 2016 is an election year and President Rajoy has said his government will lower personal and corporate taxes next year and will resist EU pressure to raise sales taxes. We will see.

Nearly everyone in Spain feels the country's politicians make insufficient effort to learn English and, worse, are ashamed when they hear them trying to speak it. My guess is that most of them are of the generation - perhaps the last one - to learn French as a second language. Though not for Sr Rajoy, who first had to learn Spanish ('Castellano'), then Gallego (Galician) and then French.

But this was good for him, as scientists tell us that speaking one or more foreign languages slows down the ageing process in the brain, whether you do this as a child or an adult. The oldest learner of French I ever knew was a certain Mr Warren, who was 86 and who lived next door to me during my teaching year in the Seychelles. Unfortunately, he did this out loud, driving me to distraction.

Talking of languages . . . Another verse from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam:-
Come, fill the cup and in the fire of spring
Your winter garment of repentance fling.
The bird of time has but a little way
To fly and Lo! the bird is on the wing.


Sierra said...

"...raising the fear that Spain will need to seek a bailout in 2015..."

Then this seems a bit premature:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

I am a little surprised you would call the Anarchists 'a party'. By what criterion exactly? Not votes, since they never participated in elections. Nor members, since there was no party you could be a member of. There were of course unions (CGT) and 'movements' (FAI), but comparing those to political parties pur sang seems a little like comparing the membership of the Red Cross to the subscribers to a medical magazine.

Incidentally: towards the end of the Civil War some anarchists did join the Republican government as ministers… Which is of course completely absurd!

Meanwhile, the 'biggest party' as you call it, to come out of the elections of Februari 1936 was the Catholic CEDA; notwithstanding that in the right-left competition, the left-wing Popular Front won a clear victory.


Perry said...

He's stoic Al.

Colin Davies said...

Thank-you, Al. I hope you appreciate my giving you yet another chance to burnish and display your erudition. But I rather think you are using an old-fashioned and narrow definition of 'party'. I use it, when it suits me, to mean more of a movement. Or a collection of folk with the same political philosophy. And, as you may have said, anarchists, be definition, cannot be members of anything other than the human race. Or most of them, anyway.

Search This Blog