Saturday, September 23, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 23.9.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

Life in Spain
  • Cataluña: What can one say? Has a government ever dealt with a major challenge so ineptly, despite having all the time in the world to get it right? And now - oh so predictably - Madrid has ramped up its 'repressive' measures, which are having the totally predictable and counterproductive result of converting non-secessionists into rebels. 
  • But . . . Things can only now get worse. Though no one knows exactly how. Meanwhile . . . read Barcelona-based Don Quijones' views here and here. And here's The Guardian with its overview.
  • Very, very bleatedly, the Spanish Finance Minister is saying things like: Once independence plans are dropped, we can talk about a new arrangement. Too bloody late, mate. This should have been said years ago. Or, at the very least, months ago.
  • Interestingly  . . . The Venice Commission – a panel of experts who advise the Council of Europeon constitutional law – has told the Catalan president that the referendum would have to be carried out “in agreement with the Spanish authorities … and in full compliance with the constitution and the applicable legislation”. Not much chance of this right now.
  • It wouldn't be a show without Punch and the Scottish First Minister - Mrs Sturgeon - has opined that: It is of course entirely legitimate for Spain to oppose independence for Catalonia, but what I think is of concern anywhere is for a state to seek to deny the right of a people to democratically express their will. The right of self-determination is an important international principle, and I hope very much that it will be respected in Catalonia and everywhere else. So . . .  As Cataluña is not (yet) a 'state', how far 'down' does this principle apply, Mrs S? Can Cornwall vote to leave England? Can Edinburgh vote to leave Scotland? Do tell us what the principles are. Meanwhile, the good lady has at least called for dialogue. Also very belatedly.
  • I'm reminded of the film Passport to Pimlico, one of the great Ealing comedies of the 1940s. This centres on a London barrio declaring itself independent of wartime UK. Not terribly amusing to today's sophisticated audiences but certainly funnier than the Catalan imbroglio.
  • I'm also reminded of what's said to be a long-standing view of this country - viz. that In Spain, everything is politicised.
  • And also that it's very difficult to achieve agreement with nationalists, who are always obsessively mono-minded and almost impossible to compromise with. But this is no excuse for the ineptitude of Madrid, given that there was at least the Basque model to discuss.
  • To change the subject . . . Here's news of a Madrid plan which really does seem sensible and forward-looking. My daughter, at least, is delighted with it.
  • It's reported that my favourite supermarket - Valencia born Mercadona - now has 24% of the market and is visited by 70% of Spanish households on a monthly basis. As this is the only supermarket here which has displayed much by way of customer orientation, I regard this as a well deserved success. 
  • Finally on Spain . . . A day or so after I accuse Spanish supermarkets of being slow to innovate, comes this news of an initiative on the part of Eroski.
Has anyone else received an email from a Madrid restaurant called El Tenedor, a place I've never been to or even heard of? But I see it was recently bought by Tripadvisor and so draw the obvious conclusion. I've been spammed.

If you've taken my advice and read Richard North on Brexit, you won't be surprised to know that he is thoroughly unimpressed with Mrs May's performance in Florence yesterday. Click here if you want details. As he says: In short, all the issues that were left unresolved prior to Mrs May's speech, causing the impasse, are still unresolved. Mrs May seems to think that wafting into Florence and speaking in lofty terms about a "New Economic Partnership" is somehow a magic wand that can unlock the talks. She is going to be mightily disappointed. 

Here's the reason why Northern Brits find it so much easier to fit with Spanish culture than their uptight, anal Southern counterparts.  . . 

Finally . . .  I've always thought it utterly daft to buy botled water. Here's proof of my contention. C'mon, people. Wise up! And stop paying through the nose for Starbucks 'coffee' as well!

Fianlly, finally . . . Here's me as a camino pilgrim on a bridge somewhere north of Madrid. Between Colmenar Viejo and Manzanares. It's only the start of our walk so I am not yet contemplating throwing myself into the river . . . :-


Sierra said...

Received my "ECO" sticker from DGT (have an hybrid) earlier in the year - the accompanying letter said that it "...may allow me to enjoy the advantages or incentives provided at any time, whether in the fiscal area, in the mobility, parking regulation, etc...". Seems things are starting to happen, slowly

Alberto MdH said...

Passport to Pimlico is still a great film but modern audiences are't nearly as sofisticated as the consider themselves.

Anonymous said...

Latest from "Thoughts from Wales":

When I first moved to the UK I didn't have a clue about the existing diversity of the UK nations. But now I know that it's not only English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. Cornwall is a proud nation too, with a very alive language and culture. Every year they merrily celebrate their national day and wave their national flag. Also Edinburgh is a nation of its own, and will be holding a referendum for self-determination soon. I was there the other day I most of the people were very adamant about not being Scottish, but proud Edinburghians, I hope they get a vote on that soon.

In the meantime, in Spain, thanks god we have the Popular Party to hold the country together against that terrorist Catalan mob. Who cares about corruption as long as they get the job done?

Good night!

Colin Davies said...

Yes, I can't understand anyone in Cornwall, Edinburgh or, indeed, Wales.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Catalonia is the same as with Korea: a guy with a funny haircut in charge. Thanks god we have Trump and Rajoy to stop them. I say nuke them!

Anonymous said...

same here, I don't understand Catalans, and that's because they speak in a guttural funny manner and have invented funny words so you can't understand them. They had it coming!

Maria said...

To buy or not to buy bottled water depends on where you live. Our well water is not advisable for consumption. We're not going to spend thousands on a filtration system, so we buy Spanish bottled water - the cheap brand, nothing belonging to Pepsi or Nestlé. But if I lived in a city, I would drink chlorinated water from the tap. That's why it's chlorinated - so you can drink it.

Alberto MdH said...

Water quality varies greatly between cities in Spain. You can usually drink tap water without problems on the plateau (Madrid) and on the northern coast (Pontevedra, for example) but on the Mediterranean coast it is usually of very poor quality.

Anonymous said...

Our water comes straight off the mountain and whilst it may be pure who know what may be in the deposit itself. A dead horse was found a couple of years back and baby frogs regularly found in the pipes. So it's bottled water for me thank you very much!