With only a week to go before the holding of some sort of plebiscite in that region/nation, the game of Yes, I Will/No, You Won't continues to be played between the Catalan and Spanish presidents. It could be an interesting 7 days, as we get closer and closer to the brink. Who will blink? And how? Will Madrid send in the troops?
Members of the governing PP party are reported to be concerned the Party leader is not doing enough about the tsunami of corruption revelations and that there's a serious risk of a defeat in next year's elections. At the same time, though, they're doing their utmost to ensure there's no debate in parliament in which he'd be skewered by the opposition parties. The closest we get to such a debate is going to remain the standard (and pathetic) public exchange of accusations between the two main parties that each is worse than the other. Or, in Spanish - Y tú más.
Here in Galicia, the President (also of the PP party) is saying absolutely nothing about the large corruption case which implicates provincial administrators of his party. Which may be wise.
One of those accused in this case is said to have taken his bribes in the form of properties. I would have thought the ID system would have militated against this. But apparently not. So why have it?
I think I mentioned a while ago that the Catholic Church had quietly appropriated Córdoba's Grand Mosque. This is not a one-off case, though. In this article, we learn that this is being done widely in respect of public properties, under a typical Franco-era law that favoured the Church, strengthened by a more recent PP party measure. The questions arise - Why does the Church want to do this? Is it not rich enough already?
This is my updated list of people who bother you when in Pontevedra, especially when eating or drinking. Some of them will be drug addicts, collecting enough for a purchase in the gypsy encampment below my barrio. I do wonder whether you would get a greater collection in any other European town. The musicians, of course, are not drug addicts and only bless us with their presence during the summer. Perhaps it's a bit harsh to call them beggars, even if they are truly irritating at times. Likewise the trinket sellers.
- Simple panhandlers ('Give me some money'). Usually young.
- Panhandlers with dog
- Old panhandlers with stick and dog
- Church door beggars (usually gypsies)
- Supermarket door beggars (usually Romanian)
- Cigarette cadgers
- Car park 'helpers'
- Book sellers
- Trinket sellers (usually African)
- Money janglers (usually in the same spot)
- Jugglers with dogs
- Tissue sellers
- Cigarette lighter sellers
- Pipe/recorder players
- Pipe/recorder players with dogs
- Accordion players
- Bagpipe players
- Men/women who sit on steps with placards in front of them.
Apart from all these, there are the true musicians and singers who perform on well-established pitches in the town. And who are usually very good and worthy of payment.
Finally . . . I heard a disturbing podcast today about sexual abuse of young girls in the Islamic community of a British town. There, it's said, men from 15 to 65 prey on young girls on daily basis, not only in the streets but also within their own families. And with impunity. This is because the community's bizarre notion of family honour prevents both victims and parents doing anything about it. The Muslims in this town come primarily from one rural area in Pakistan. The horror has less to do with Islam than with the customs of a primitive culture which predates it. Listening to the accounts of unpunished rape and exploitation, I was left with the uncomfortable feeling that lynch mobs might not always be a bad thing. And that there couldn't be a better example of how multiculturalism was taken too far in the UK.