Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 18.4.18

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.

Spain
  • The PP Presidenta of the Madrid region is still in her job, despite the scandal swirling around her. And despite her – farcically – renouncing a Masters qualification she never got in the first place. All the fault of the university, she insists. For confusing her. No one believes her, of course and she doesn't expect anyone to do so. Many now see her as a dead woman walking. So, what is President Rajoy doing? What he does best – nothing. Fence-sitting, playing for time. Or, as this article puts it, keeping his options open. But she will surely go in due course, as the opposition insists that she should, and the minority PP government needs their support.
  • Meanwhile, here's more on the extension of the meaning of the word 'terrorist' here in Spain.
Life in Spain
  • Yesterday – at the 5th attempt – I finally got pre-authorisation from my medical insurance company for my minor op next month. My 4th failure had been via the internet and I was then faced with the options of an expensive premium rate phone call or a visit to their offices in town. As these were on my route to the railway station, I opted for the latter. As I probably would have done anyway to be honest.
The world/The USA/The EU
  • Trump has decided to launch not a trade war but a confrontation between Washington’s version of a US-run globalized economy versus China’s vision of national sovereign economic development. Today we see an increasing divide opening between nations such as China, Russia, Iran and several European countries such as Hungary or Austria who realize that the agenda of US-driven globalization spells disaster for their future. This divergence is the most significant tectonic fault line in world geopolitics and will define whether the world descends into a new depression or develops a model for growth and expansion centered around the infrastructure of China and Russia Eurasian cooperation
The UK
  • Below is an article on the modern obsession for apologising for one's nation's history. The author makes the same reference to the Norman invasion as I did recently.
  • Yesterday was the 800th anniversary of the first public reading of Chaucer's fabulous Canterbury Tales. Chaucer was by no means the only author writing in English at the time, but the richness, sophistication, and humour of the Tales immediately helped consolidate English as a literary language. In case you don't know: The stories vary as widely as the characters, and many are famed for their humour, which ranges from the bawdy to the literary, often simultaneously. Although the comedy amuses and titillates, much of the humour comes from Chaucer’s acute observations of the characters' hypocrisy and self-delusion, offering a rich insight into medieval society. I recommend a reading or listening, in modern English, of course.
Nutters Corner
  • 'Conspiracy nut', Jerome Corsi: Donald Trump has gotten to be more of a religious man than he ever was. He, I think, has had a Christian awakening. I think Jesus Christ has more entered his life today than ever. I think the hand of God has touched Donald Trump and I do see the hand of God in his presidency. He is going to expose the deep state and bring these people to justice in a way that no one else could, even if it involves military tribunals, even if it involves charging Hillary and Barack Obama with treason, which I believe is the end game here and I think it’s going to be played out. You have to laugh.
Galicia/Pontevedra
  • Oh, dear. I and my daughters have experience something like this, both with oysters and mussels. Hardly surprising when you know where the local crooks grow their produce.
Finally
  • I was unique yesterday. Leaving the train at Vigo station, I was the only person to use the stairs,  not the escalator. It struck me that future railway stations  – as in department stores – surely won't bother with stairs alongside the escalators. And then I realised this was almost certainly already the case in UK stations. Making government exhortations about avoiding obesity rather hollow.
© David Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 18.4.18

THE ARTICLE

Asking Britain to apologise for its Empire is lunacy:  Dr Bella d’Abrera, director of the foundations of western civilisation programme at the Institute of Public Affairs in Australia

Emily Thornberry’s call for Theresa May to apologise for Britain’s “historic wrongs” has caused bemusement here in Australia and doubtless other Commonwealth countries.

What exactly is it that the shadow foreign secretary is ashamed of? The British Empire gave the citizens of Commonwealth countries law and order, democracy, honest government and free trade. It suppressed slavery, internal warfare and a plethora of barbaric practices.

The British Empire gave its citizens the opportunity to travel and trade. It gave them education and employment. It promoted freedom of speech, freedom of religion and equality before the law. Britain helped save the world from fascists and hyper-nationalist domination.

It is lunacy to hold people responsible for the crimes of their ancestors. Should the Italians apologise for having invaded England in Roman times? Should the French apologise for 1066? Will Ms Thornberry apologise to all Ulster Catholics for the wrongs committed by her Protestant ancestors who took part in the anti-Catholic “Plantation of Ulster” push in the 1600s?

What is driving this mea culpa mania? It seems to be a combination of ideas, beliefs and fears which are manifesting themselves in a pathological and ultimately self-destructive aversion to and rejection of the positive aspects of British Empire and western civilisation.

Until as recently as the 1960s, academia saw the Empire as one that had committed crimes and was flawed, but in general was well meaning and a force for good. Now, the opposite view has become the unquestioned orthodoxy.

Rarely, if ever, do historians acknowledge that western civilisation has done more than any other to relieve the plight of the poor and oppressed. There is moral revulsion at the very idea of one culture being seen as better than another. Averse to the capitalism associated with the Empire, they also appear to be exponents of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s theory of the “noble savage”, whose perfect existence in a paradisiacal state was corrupted by civilisation and private ownership.

Perhaps Ms Thornberry should reconsider her vocation entirely if she is so ashamed of the institutions of which she is a part.

1 comment:

Scrooge said...

Congratulations on using the stairs rather than the escalator. Even if the human race continues to get lazier replacing stairs with escalators is unlikely to happen as there are some amongst us who are unable to use an escalator due to faulty eyesight or phobias. Lifts (elevators) are of course a practical alternative.

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