Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cataluña; Fighting corruption. Or not; Criminal lèse-majesté; Galician airports; Pianos; & European states.

So, Spain's Constitutional Court - famed for its lethargy - took less than a day to declare Cataluña's imminent independence referendum illegal. "Supersonic", as the Catalan President noted. The next step? Who knows. Theoretically, the Nov. 9 referendum has been suspended by the court for up to 5 months, while it considers the options for going forward. Meanwhile, the Spanish President has recorded his pain that Cataluña's actions are 'profoundly undemocratic'. Which is rich, coming from a party which is not known for its adherence to the concept of democracy and which - true to form - is currently trying to rig mayoral elections in its favour. Inter alia.

Which reminds me . . . Every now and again, someone writes a heartfelt letter to a Spanish paper complaining about the extraordinary levels of corruption here and stressing (correctly) that there's no political will to do anything about it. Today's was in El País. All that said, the governing PP party is reported to be trying to agree a pact with the opposition PSOE party. But I doubt anyone in the country sees this as anything but a smokescreen, ahead of next year's elections. When we're bound to get "We're cleaner than you" claims in abundance. The parties may not actually do anything about corruption but they know it seriously concerns the voters.

Talking about Spanish laws . . . I'm not sure I believe I'm writing this but 2 Catalans who burnt a foto of the last king face heavy fines for the 'crime' of lèse-majesté, or 'violating the dignity of a head of state'. Presumably, they couldn't have been charged with this medieval offence if they'd burnt the foto a minute after Juan Carlos had abdicated. But who knows.

Galicia's 3 (barely) international airports - for fewer than 3m people - continue to lose money and rack up debt. The chances of any sensible action to address this problem - i. e. closure(s) - seem as remote as ever, since there are municipal faces to save. Incidentally, I say '3m people' but most of us in southern Galicia at least regard Porto's much better facility as our main option. Which is why it advertises itself as "The airport for all Galicians.".

Words: Yesterday I thought I saw the expression piano en plano, ('flat piano') which I assumed meant 'grand piano'. But checking in the dictionary, I see the right Spanish translation is piano de cola ('piano with a tail'). Which I have to say is even odder. But admirably accurate and down-to-earth.

Finally . . . In a BBC podcast today, I heard there were around 170 states in Europe, only 28 of which formed the EU. But Wikipedia says there are only 50. Maybe I misheard. Still, who can list the 50?


Alfred B. Mittington said...

No fewer than 170 states in Europe! That's rich, seeing there are only 206 states & territories in the entire world…



I'll see about the 50 European states, which comes a lot closer to the truth. Until then, yours, truly


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Yep, here we go


Now was that so hard you couldn't find it yourself??


Colin Davies said...

Eh?? I wrote that there were around 50, per Wiki. Did you not finish the paragraph?

Alfred B. Mittington said...

My dear fellow,

If you got that number from Wiki (a reference which wasn't there when I first reward the post at 9.17 am…) then why do you want the list of nations? It right below on the page! Did you not, perhaps, finish the wikipedia entry???


Alfred B. Mittington said...

READ! Not Reward! Stupid spellcheck! Who gave me the bleeding idea to turn it on???

Colin Davies said...

I meant who could recite them all without recourse to Wiki. Or you. Please pay attention, Alfie.

Perry said...

The whole of England is divided into 48 ceremonial counties, which are also known as geographic counties.

Add 48 Rsssssss to the above, Spain' Autonomous Communities, Balkan tribalism & the Regions of France & the differences are such that each could be assessed as a nation, a large group of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history.




Getting there.


Stories said...

Interesting to look at the list. especially the partially recognised states!

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