Thursday, November 12, 2015

Student protests; Driving in Spain; Russian TV; & Rumer has it.

STUDENT PROTESTS: Three youths have been given prison sentences, plus fines, for something that happened during a visit of the President of Galicia to their university. The verb 'boicotear' is clearly a 'false friend', meaning rather more than its English oppo.

DRIVING IN SPAIN: One of the several things surprisingly banned here is car-towing. See here for an enterprising way around this restriction. Which - not terribly surpringly - fell foul of some other traffic law.

CATALUÑA: HT to Lenox of Business Over Tapas for his overview at the end of this post. As he says, it's a soap opera. But a very serious one. Ironically, it seems to be increasing the support for the 'Spanish nationalist' PP party. Which may now get get an absolute majority in December. Possibly the last thing the Catalan nationalists would want. But who really knows, in this ludicrous game of chicken? I doubt it makes sense to anyone.

ATHLETICS: I've waited in vain this morning for RT News to report Putin's effective admission of the scandalous state-sponsored drugging of athletes. So, I went to Nowt  there either.

FINALLY  . . . RUMER: Whenever I listen to this wonderful singer I'm tempted to tell you to check her out. Say, P F Sloan (below). Now that I've done that, could I ask whichever friend who borrowed 2 of her CDs to let me have them back. You know who you are.

CATALUÑA - Lenox's overviewThe Catalonian Parliament in its opening session on Monday voted to follow the path of independence (to be completed within the next eighteen months).

The new Government is made up of a hodgepodge of politicians - the conservative Convergencia (Pujol's party), having dropped its long-term partner Unió (which promptly disappeared), as led by Artur Mas joined with its long-time rival, the hard left ERC, to frame a pro-independence group called Junts Pel Sí (Together For Yes), but with another independent, Raül Romeva - from a small group called the ICV - as a straw candidate. They won the recent autonomous election but were a fraction short of a majority. So, enter Stage Left, a lunatic fringe anarchist group called CUP, which is also in favour of Independence, but doesn't want Artur Mas as the next president. (On Tuesday morning, they suggested Raül Romeva).

On Monday, the two groups voted to declare Independence (as El País huffily reports) or rather, to initiate the route to independence from Spain.

Another group in opposition, the Podemos-led Si Que Es Pot (Yes We Can) is in favour of Spain staying whole, but also in the democratic right of the Catalonians to secede. However, the SQEP were instructed to vote 'no' rather than - as at least one of them wanted - to abstain. Result - 72 'yes' and 63 'no'.

On Tuesday afternoon, Artur Mas lost the vote for president, needing an absolute majority, but comes a second round on Thursday which will only need a simple majority...

Now Madrid is not happy about this and will bring, says Rajoy, 'strong action'. The BBC takes up the story: ‘Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government would file an appeal with the constitutional court to try to stop the move. He told reporters that, after an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday, he would "sign a recourse [to the Constitutional Court] of unconstitutionality and will ask for... the immediate suspension of this initiative and all its possible effects"...’.

Will this go down well in Barcelona? No. On Tuesday, the High Court had asked all the Catalonian-based police to act ‘against any crimes of sedition’. Some of them will not enjoy this instruction from Madrid.

On Wednesday evening, the Constitutional Court suspended the Catalonian Parliament’s resolution saying that ‘it breaks up to eight articles in the Constitution’ and at the same time warned 21 senior politicians of possible arrest. The Govern quickly replied that it would continue with its independence plans.

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