Sunday, August 31, 2014

Presidential chat; Spanish mayors; Train safety; Smuggling; & Evocative songs

Presidents Rajoy of Spain and Merkel of Germany recently spent a few hours together, while walking a few kilometres of the Camino. They were pictured chatting without an interpreter, leaving me wondering what language they spoke in. Merkel speaks English, I believe, but Rajoy doesn't. Which is something of a Spanish tradition. Perhaps the next one.

I can't say I understand the details but there's a new law planned on the election of Spanish mayors. These are powerful people here, not just ribbon-cutters as in the UK. The aim appears to ensure that mayors are not locally elected but appointed by the party which wins the regional elections. The result, of course, will be to entrench the rule of one or other of the 2 main parties. And the disappearance of popular mayors such as ours in Pontevedra, who's a member of the Galician Nationalist Party. Doubtless the bill will be passed, despite screams of protest from the country at large. As I say, what's the point of power if you can't abuse it?

It's taken more than a year but all trains coming into Santiago are now fitted with the security system which should have been installed in the train that crashed last year, killing 80 people. Meanwhile, the driver has been prosecuted but, so far, no one from either of the companies responsible for the decision not to install the system in the first place, despite internal warnings this was inviting an accident.

A Spanish reader recently took me to task for saying I only claimed that smuggling took place into and out of Gibraltar whereas I stated for a fact that it took place into Galicia. I thought of this when reading that the Guardia Civil had captured a yacht from Colombia carrying 800 kilos of cocaine and heading for one of our nearby estuaries.

Finally . . . Have you ever had the experience of a forgotten song coming on and producing a surprise effect in your gut? Eventually you realise it's connected with a now-distant time and place. Today I was taken back to my 19th year, when this song came on the radio. Which led to this one, which I can just about recall singing while playing a pathetic guitar when I was a teacher in the Seychelles. Before anyone knew where they were.

1 comment:

Alfred B. Mittington said...

The point about the new electoral system for mayors is that whatever party scores the best in the local election automatically gets assigned the office of mayor (with a minimum of 40 % of the vote, I believe).

This is meant to take away the perennial frustration of the PP which often scores the best in votes, but is then denied the office of mayor by the smaller parties making a pact in the municipal council and installing one of their own number.

The crux here is of course, that the right is almost entirely united in a single party (i.e. the PP), while the left and the localist parties are heavily fragmentized. But of course there is a fair chance that this will backfire, when those disunited parties decide to merge their lists for local elections. Plus que ça change…


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