Thursday, September 04, 2014

Rotherham; Podemos; The future of Spain; Listening & Talking; Fairy tale endings; & Smashed eggs

Because it's so complex, I wanted to stay off the subject of the Rotherham scandal. But this is a piece worth citing. Plus this follow-up from the same writer.

Podemos is Spain's new left-of-centre party, rising from the ashes of the street protests of a year or two ago. It's making such sizeable inroads into the support of both the main Right and Left parties that it's forced the governing PP party - ahead of elections next year - to take the not-very-credible line that it wants to 'regenerate democracy'. Where is George Orwell when he's needed? Anyway, right now 21% of voters say they support Podemos. Not far behind the socialist PSOE party. Which must be terrified. If this persists, a hung parliament is inevitable.

Talking about the right-wing PP party, a professor of political science has made the following points this week:-
  • The nationalism of Spain’s right is very much of the tradition of National Catholicism - the dominant ideology under Franco.
  • The PP’s way of dealing with the Cataluña problem has been to employ its traditional, brutal manner of acting. "We've seen it in Rajoy's refusal to engage in proper dialogue with Cataluña, where the key problem has been the lack of a democratic approach by the government. They have acted in a Francoist way, following Spain’s authoritarian tradition."
  • The PP want their 'own medal' for finishing off Catalan independence.
  • Maybe an independent Cataluña is the only way to make Spaniards recognise the reality of their country. We have gone from being the rulers of a major empire to a bunch of slackers.
  • Spain is a disaster and much of it is down to the incompetence of our ruling classes, something which stems partly from centuries of foreign rule.
  • What people need to realize is that the current debate is not about independence of Cataluña but about the possible end of Spain, as it currently exists.
  • Perhaps that would be the best effect of Catalan independence: it would be a great shock for the nation, one that would wake Spain up from its moribund state and finally make it react, building itself upon a new base.

I doubt that everyone in Spain would agree with this analysis.

I understand that the British government has effectively removed Listening and Talking from the English Language GCSE subject. This is because it was a 'soft' element - in Spain a maría - which nonetheless accounted for 20% of the total marks. Spain's schools still retain a similar subject though; it's called Talking Loudly and All at the Same Time.

Anglo (and Scandinavian and German?) fairy tales usually end with the sentence: "And they all lived happily ever after." No so Basque tales, I hear. As Orson Welles put it: "Here in the Basque Country people don't end their stories like that. Instead they say 'And if they lived well, they died well.'" Rather more realistic. But is it what kids want? Over to Richard Dawkins.

Finally . . . Helen Mirren's favourite dish, she says, is huevos estrellados, which may be the Madrid version of huevos rotos. She describes it as a version of egg and chips but, either way, the Spanish descriptions are 'smashed' or 'broken' eggs. With ham or possibly something else. Anyway, here's some fotos.


Bill said...

There is nothing "complex" about the Rotherham scandal as this Labour MP seeks to persuade people. His meaningless verbal gymnastics cannot disguise the shocking dereliction of duty that this Labour-dominated Council allowed to continue for well over a decade. The perpetrators of these crimes do not deserve to be "understood" rather they must be stopped and made to understand that their actions will not be tolerated under any circumstances. I have rarely read a more repulsive load of pseudo-learned tosh!

Alfred B. Mittington said...

I do not have the impression that Podemos is making much inroad on the two big parties. Mostly, it is gobbling up the electorate of Izquierda Unida, and some of the PSOE. The PP, however, is still retaining 30 % of the vote, which is stunning, given the fact that the party is riddled with unheard of corruption while it presides over the worst economic slump since Philips II…

Here is the prediction of an old fellow who's seen it all before: Podemos will do well in one general election. After that, boredom and disillusion will set in, and things will return to the previous status quo within four years.


Colin Davies said...

Well, I don't disagree that the perpetrators need to be severely punished but what about the derelict police, fearful and incompetent social workers, the Pakistani/Pushtu communities and the blind-eyed families of the criminals? This is where it get complex. How shall we punish them?

Colin Davies said...

Hola, Alfie. Well to the extent that politics here is so tribal (as you know better than I), it's quite significant that the PP has lost 25% (10 percentage points!) of its support. But you may well be right that this won't last beyond the next election. Especially now that the PP has JIT re-discovered democracy.

I wonder what the Dirty Trix Dept of PP is now planning to lure members of Podemos into a corruption trap. Y tú más!

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