Those Funny Spanish 4:-
Prelude: I hope by now it's clear how fond I am of the Spanish people. Where would Spain be without them? Where would I?
Apologies for any repetition:-
- They tolerate long, intrusive TV ads.
- They invest huge sums in state lotteries.
- The put their dead in above-ground vertical cemeteries, with Gothic features.
- They think the British government really wants to keep Gibraltar.
- The don't say Please and Thank-you very much. They may even tell you "It wasn't a favour'.
- They have ridiculously complex informal and formal forms for 'you'.
- The have some of the finest cities and buildings in the world. Not to mention all the gold and silver items in church treasuries.
- They take their kids everywhere and keep them up very late.
- They answer their phones when you are talking to them, not thinking this is at all rude.
- They are very polite at times; yesterday a woman in a café apologised after she sat down with her back to me.
- They smoke more than other nations, especially the young women.
- They have all have Don Quixote on their bookshelves and many have read it.
- They will put themselves out enormously for you if you are a friend.
- They are very open and welcoming.
- They are very patient if you stop your car in the middle of the street to talk to a friend.
- They are very impatient if you hesitate a microsecond when the traffic-lights turn green.
- They park their cars illegally and then leave the hazard lights on to indicate they've just gone for a coffee and won't be long. No one is fooled by this.
- They flood out of their offices at 11am to have their breakfast.
- They don't have an obsession with pedophilia.
- The don't much like spicy food.
- They call anyone they disagree with 'fascist'.
- They are rather conformist; every door in my 30-house development is white.
- They respond to every invitation with: "Yes. (Provided I don't get a better invitation before then.)". But everyone understands this unstated provisionality.
- They make promises and offers which everyone knows aren't serious.
- They are brilliant at spontaneous improvisation. Again, they get a lot of practice at it.
- They worship hake but dislike mackerel.
- They use the subjunctive mood a lot.
- They have about 15 ways of using the imperative.
- They ask direct questions about financial matters. "So, how much have you got in the bank?"
- They don't have the British affection for eccentricity and eccentrics.
- The don't speak English as well as, say, their neighbours the Portuguese. Almost none of their politicians speak it at all.
Postscript: I meant yesterday that the Spanish laugh at the 2 separate British taps, as all bathrooms in modern Spain have mixer taps. Older bathrooms don't have any taps at all, but this is conveniently overlooked.
And now for something completely different . . .
UK ELECTION SPECIAL
I don't think I've ever seen so many politicians so comprehensively evade so many questions in such a short period of time. Never has so much been denied to so many by so few, you might say. Are they really unaware of how much this impacts on their credibility? Every one of them, no matter how lowly he or she is, has clearly been fiercely trained in this black TV art. And not one of them is prepared to give a direct answer to a direct question. Shoot the lot of them, I would.
After I wrote that, I read this (supportive) paragraph from one columnist:- After weeks of hearing little more than all the parties trying to outbid each other over how much imaginary money they can chuck at the NHS, many of us are deeply uneasy at how many serious issues have scarcely been touched on: such as how the money we haven’t got should actually be spent, whether on the NHS or overseas aid; our lack of any proper foreign, defence or immigration policies; our suicidally ludicrous energy policy; and many more.
But then I read a contrary view from another columnist, who thinks it's ultimately all the fault of the nasty voters: We have come to the understanding that the best way to treat politicians is to interrogate them with increasing vehemence and intolerance; to interrupt and bludgeon and ask “When did you stop beating the disabled?” questions, demanding promises and searching out heresy like Jesuits on piecework. This in turn has taught our politicians to repeat rote answers, to ignore questions and to see interviews with the public not as explanation and enlightenment, but avoiding gaffes and damage limitation. If we continue to see politicians as the enemy, a plague foisted on us by circumstances beyond our control, then the politicians we get will be a bevy of preternaturally thick-skinned, bombastic, insensitive thugs who relish argy-bargy. But it is plainly a truth that the man who wins the argument doesn’t necessarily have the best argument, and the man who makes the fewest mistakes won’t necessarily get the most things right; and that keeping the nation safe, fiscally functioning, fair and optimistic won’t be the result of making fortune-cookie promises and flattering the bullying masses. It’s often said that we get the politicians that we deserve. Actually, we get the politicians we fashion, and perhaps we all ought to think of our responsibility to be the employers they deserve.
An American pollster said there's been more American language in this election than he'd seen in any previous British election. Ed Miliband, he said, frequently parrots the exact language of Obama.
Finally . . . For what it's worth, my own prediction is that the Conservatives will benefit from a last-minute surge and get just enough seats to allow them to keep out an SNP-propped-up Labour Party. Second prediction: The SNP will find they've grossly overplayed their hand. Third prediction: Within 10 years, the UK will be a federal state. Fourth prediction: Within 20 years, Spain will follow suit.