Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Scotland again; Cataluña; Cultural traditions; Orwell; & Beggars.
Well, thank God the shouting's over. Now we await the verdict. And my prediction of a 5-10 point margin for the No camp stands.
Looking back 3 months - before it all got frantic - here's the view of the estimable Simon Heffer. As he says, some of us saw the Labour party' cynical initiation of the devolution process as inevitably leading to the break up of the United Kingdom. And, as someone has said, this is now going to happen whatever the result announced Friday.
Perhaps the most amusing aspect of a depressing saga is that, if Scotland becomes independent, the Orkney islands will then seek independence from Scotland. Blame oil. The same thing will surely happen in parts of Cataluña and the Basque Country which wish to stay Spanish.
A here's a nice list of the 5 consolations the rest of the UK will have if Scotland goes it own way.
Spain's government warned on Wednesday that fellow European Union members would not welcome a yes vote in Thursday's referendum on Scottish independence, and a new state could not expect swift readmission to the bloc. And today the President upped the tempo by saying independence movements were torpedoing the EU. Not much comfort there for Scotland if it breaks loose of the UK and seeks EU membership. And government.
Spain's Foreign Minister, Motormouth Margallo, insists the Spanish government will use "all means necessary" to stop the planned independence referendum in Catalonia, including stripping the region of its autonomous powers. But they won't be sending in the tanks because "it's not in the Constitution". There's a surprise.
It's a funny thing, the EU. It seems that, though it can tell you and me what strength vacuum cleaner to use, it can't do anything about cruelty in the shape of cultural events which centre on lancing a bull to death or setting fire to kindling tied to its horns. Or chucking fighting cocks together. The issue of animal cruelty, like health, is delegated to nations and the Spanish nation - as opposed to the Spanish people - doesn't want anything done about these 'cultural traditions' from previous centuries.
Which sort of reminds me . . . The military dictatorship in Thailand has made the reading of Orwell's 1984 a criminal offence, being an act of 'passive resistance'. You couldn't make it up.
Finally . . . There's no greater indication that summer's over than Pontevedra's beggars doing their rounds quicker than ever. Which means you have little time after refusing one before the next one is at your table, with his/her hand held out. As with flies, winter will bring some relief from these pests, when we're driven indoors.