Monday, June 11, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 11.6.18

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.

  • Ex PP president, Aznar, has offered to help Spain by heading up a new centrist party. No one in Spain seems the slightest bit interested in his kind offer. One observer has dismissed him as a 'bad version of El Cid'.
  • As for one of the existing 'centrist' parties – Ciudadanos – Tim Parfitt asks here what the point of it is.
  • El PaĆ­s this morning gives us these forecasts for the parties' fortunes, if a general election were held tomorrow:-
- PSOE: 26%. 102-105 seats, a 20-seat boost compared to its current total.
- Popular Party (PP): 24%. 98-102 seats, a drop of nearly 40.
- Ciudadanos: gets 21%. 65-68 seats, a doubling of its current 32.
- Podemos: 17% . 50-54 seats, a fall of 17-21.
So . . . 43% parties of the Left and 45% for parties of the Right. Another hung parliament, then, with the left-wing parties depending on the support of several small parties. Stability still seems some way off.

Life in Spain
  • Spain has a Coastal Law which forbids construction within a certain distance of the sea. Here in Galicia, this seems to have been honoured more in the breach than in the observance. By senior politicians as well as by plebs. But now our local authorities are having at least some of these illegal homes knocked down. Or at least sentenced to destruction. For, all the folk who knowingly ignored the law are now protesting en masse at the implementation of the law and seeking public sympathy. Doesn't seem quite right. Especially in view of the infamous destruction of homes bought by innocent foreigners in the South, rooked by crooked town planners, estate agents and lawyers.
  • I don't know if this pertains nationwide but a report on Galician universities says that the most profitable qualification to have, at least at year 3 after graduation, is – would you believe? - in criminology. Medicine comes in at no. 9, after social anthropology. Most remarkably, at no, 12 is Italian philology, which compares – respectively - with 125, 131, 140, 143 and 144 for Roman(Latin?) philology, Portuguese philology, Hebrew philology, Classics philology, and Galician philology. Castilian/Spanish philology doesn't seem to figure but maybe I missed it. TBH . . . Until I came to Spain, I'd never heard the word 'philology'. Still don't know what it really means.
  • Sitting under the little bit of sun we had yesterday, I was much bothered by a small dog that yapped incessantly – at children, at the pigeons and at passers by. But most of all to get from its owner more of the food she was giving it from time to time. My impression was that I was the only person on the terrace not (yet) totally inured to this ceaseless noise. Not to mention irritated.
The EU
  • Here's an article from someone who's more optimistic about M Macron's ability to compel Mrs Merkel towards his EU dream.  
  • There's been a view around for a while that the US empire is entering its final phase. Here's one article suggesting that the long-standing US power to rule a digital world is ebbing away
  • And here's a Guardian article on Trump's effect on the Republican party. The original headline was: It's Donald Trump's party – and he'll cry havoc if he want to. The president is a loose cannon but Republican voters like what his frenzied fire can do. Has the GOP changed forever? But now it's: How Trump captured the Republican party. He has the strongest approval ratings within his own party of any president and from pardons to G7 he’s showing real swagger. Among the GOP, at least, Trump has won. Either way, there's now – says the author – less of a party than a cult of personality.
  • At the end of the G7 conference Trump characteristically boasted that his relationships with the leaders of German, France and Canada were at 10. Given the anger later directed at him by these leaders, perhaps he meant out of 100.
  • Donald Trump's attack on G7 allies was a show of strength ahead of the Kim Jong-un summit, claims his aide Larry Kudlow. So, ahead of trying to prove he's a reliable negotiating partner, he shafted his allies. IGIMSTS. In Fart World, at least.
  • Headline: Para correr, hace falta tener much flow. Anyone got any ideas?
  • The owner of my watering hole also told me that the local council is insisting that tables outside bars permit a space 3 metres wide in our old quarter's narrow streets. This would eliminate most – if not all - of the tables in streets normally crammed with them in summer. This is to allow cars to pass easily. Which is ironic for a council which is avowedly anti-car as regards the city as a whole.
  • The lazy guitarist outside the health centre has progressed. He still uses the same never-changing chord configuration with his left hand but now he moves it up and down the neck while aimlessly strumming. I's sure this is a capital offence in Spain. But, if not, it should be. Where is the PP when you need it?
Finally . . .
  • I'm not sure I agree with this.

© David Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 11.6.18

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