Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 15.10.17

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
  • The Catalan president is under increasing pressure from his left-wing, hard-line secessionist coalition partners to confirm tomorrow that Cataluña is now an independent republic, even though they can't be unaware that - by Thursday - this would bring the full might of the Spanish state - economic and other - down onto Cataluña - however mad you and I might regard this. Worse, it would almost certainly lead to the arrest and martyrfication of several Catalan politicos and the further hardening of 'moderate' opinion there. As someone has written: After the heavy-handed police effort to stop voting, that would be sure to reignite Catalan fury while darkening Spain’s reputation abroad. It may be exactly what Puigdemont is intending.
  • Needless to say, the EU president, while saying Brussels won't get involved, has announced that the last thing he wants to see is an independent Cataluña. This, he (rightly) fears would put wind in the sales of secessionists in the likes of Venice, Scotland, Flanders, Corsica and Brittany. Not to mention Cornwall. If this happened, he avers, the EU would become impossible to govern. As if that's possible now, other than by regularly ignoring the will of the people.
  • As you'd expect, this weekend the Spanish media -  as heavily government-influenced as ever - is having fun "feeding suspicions" of Cataluña and revelling in the economic impact of the flight of corporate HQs.
  • After a plane crashed shortly after Thursday's air display in Madrid, a politician suggested on social media that it was perhaps time to do what happens after every car crash and check the pilot's alcohol level. For this  he was charged by the police - presumably under Spain's infamous 'gag law' - with a 'hate crime'. Welcome to the Spain of the PP party. The one which for years has made an unholy mess of dealing with Catalan complaints of mistreatment by Madrid. Perhaps Cataluña could denounce Spain for this 'crime' motivated by 'hate'.

Brexit: The ever-despairing Brexiteer, Richard North, claims that the English language is being 'brutally tortured' by both negotiating parties. . . .We are entrapped in the debate of the insane . . . Words are losing their meaning.  . . No-one actually knows what they're talking about or, to be more precise, people are talking about the same things using different vocabulary and meaning different things, or even the same things described with different words. . . Where we go from there, I honestly don't know. If we can't even agree on what words to use and what words mean, and can't even rely on the various factions to apply honesty in their dealings, it does not seem possible to have meaningful negotiations. Mrs May is asking for something that cannot exist, while the EU is demanding some things that the UK cannot deliver – and neither side will offer any clarity as to what they really want. . . .  I'm moving towards the idea that there is nothing salvageable from the current negotiations

Talking of the EU . . . Don Quijones here describes the immense power of the ECB and tells us who benefits most from this. You won't be surprised to hear, I guess, that the major banks which exercise a 'staggering' amount of influence. The ones who've served us so well in the past 20 years. As DQ says of these institutions: These banks are supposed to be under direct ECB supervision, and yet they have been repeatedly caught committing serious financial crimes. And now it turns out that they enjoy more influence over ECB decision making than anyone else, begging the question: how can the Eurozone’s most powerful financial regulator possibly regulate European financial institutions when it receives most of its advice and guidance from their senior executives? 

Here's Donald Trump addressing US evangelists on the 'shared and timeless' values he'd never heard of before he became a (fraudulent) presidential candidate. And here's how someone thinks he can be removed from power before he starts a war of some sort. Meanwhile, his Republic colleagues are reported to be increasingly at odds with an ‘incredible shrinking president’ in whom they have nil trust. As one of these colleagues put it: With Trump, we can’t get anything done. There is no trust; no strategy. In terms of our foreign policy, America is at its lowest ebb. Allies can’t rely on us; no one knows where we stand. We’re in a dark cellar. It’s hard to think of a more dangerous moment.” With friends like this . . .

Finally . . . Last evening I checked out the Spanish wines in a local Coop supermarket. As usual, I recognised very few of the labels – and the prices! - and neither of the 2 albariño options on the shelves. There was no godello, of course. Anyway, having chosen a couple of – unknown – Spanish reds, I then made the mistake of using the self-service checkout, only to be told to wait until an employee could confirm if I was over 25. When someone finally came, the bastard didn't even bother to seek proof of this but just pressed a button.

Today's Cartoon:-

And he says if I'm really nice, he'll take me up in his helicopter.


Lenox said...

Love the cartoon. Heh!

Colin Davies said...

Big type just for you!