Sunday, August 26, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 26.8.18

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. Garish but informative.

Matters Spanish
  • Franco's (wealthy) family has said they won't resist the government's plans to shift his remains from the Valley of the Fallen. And they will decide where these end up, it seems.
  • Here's another of those bull-taunting accidents.
The USA
  • Ending a review of the fascinating last few days, a commentator asks here whether this wasn't: The worst week yet of the Trump presidency? Adding that: It faces stiff competition from his responses to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, a devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki. Indeed, with this man in the White House, every week feels like a lifetime. 
  • To lighten your day, here's one of the laugh-out-loud US satirical shows I enjoy late every evening.
  • I've always believed Fart would never get to the end of his first term and am on record here saying so. I've even wondered whether the Republicans would have him assassinated in order to get Pence into power. My current view is that, if Fart were only a tenth of the deal-maker he thinks he is, he'd be working now with whomsoever on an 'elegant' resignation that would keep him and his entire his family out of jail. But I suspect he isn't. Yet.
The UK: Brexit
  • Christopher Booker was the co-author of Richard North of the exposure – 20 years ago – of the EU's founding and workings – The Great Deception. Naturally, he's always been in favour of Brexit. But not any old Brexit; he's always shared with North the vision of a gradual, Flexit-type departure. If you can bear it, below is an article giving his view of the British government's approach to date. And its implications.
  • Separately in the Times, Janet Daley refers to the miasma of contradiction and incoherence  which now envelops the government’s strategy. She goes on to say: What has become alarmingly clear is just how entangled we have become in the EU bureaucratic system. Startling degrees of European law and regulation now dominate the running of almost every area of our everyday lives. Message to Leave-voters: It was much worse than you thought. And to Remainers: Were you aware that we were in this deep? I don't think she's very optimistic either . . .
Galicia and Pontevedra
  • I mentioned recently the new – but 'authentic' – camino from Pontevedra to Combarro and then Sanxenxo and O Grove, en route to Vilanova de Arousa - the Way of Padre Sarmiento. Here's an article on the cleric. And here's Amazon's details of the book cited:-
  • I also recently mentioned the criticisms of poor signage on the newish Spiritual variant of the Portuguese Way just north of Pontevedra. Yesterday, there was a report of of group of confused and angry Italians who'd missed a turn and found they'd traipsed some way along the main road to Vilagarcia, instead of across the hills to the monasteries first in Poio and then Armenteira, towards Vilanova. Well, surely pilgrimages are not supposed to be a cakewalk.
  • Ooh, a British competitor to the camino de Santiago? The 'newly described' 13th-century pilgrimage route linking Swansea with Hereford: The St Thomas Way. 
Finally . . .
  • One of the books re Spain recently cited was by the namesake of my younger daughter.
  • Taking a look at it on Amazon, I came across this description of book on angels, by a woman I once watched – jaw on chest – on British TV: Angel Whisperer Francesca Brown has been communicating with the angels since they first came into her life during a time of grave illness and guided her back to health. In her new book 'The Voices of Angels', Francesca draws us once again into the angelic realm, sharing her amazing personal journey to becoming one of Europe's best-known angel channelers. Here she focuses on the insights of the angels with whom she communicates daily, most especially with Ann, her ever-present and trusted angel companion. TBH, I can't help wondering if, in other times, she'd have been consigned to a lunatic asylum, as they used to be called. These days, of course, she makes a mint.
© [David] Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 26.8.18

THE ARTICLE

Finally, our wishful-thinking ministers are waking up to the consequences of no-deal Brexit: Christopher Booker, the Times

Ever since January last year, this column has had one persistent theme. When would the British people finally wake up to the potentially catastrophic consequences of the dramatic shift in Theresa May’s Brexit strategy revealed in her Lancaster House speech?

Until then, it was reasonable to believe her repeated insistence that she wanted Britain, on leaving the EU, to continue enjoying “frictionless” trade “within” our largest export market. And the only practical way to do this would have been to join the European Free Trade Association (Efta) and thus remain in the European Economic Area (EEA).

But as soon as Mrs May slammed the door on this, it became clear that neither she nor her ministers had any real understanding of what it would mean for Britain to shut itself out entirely from the EU’s trading system, to become what it terms a “third country”. They clearly had no idea of how enmeshed our economy had become with that of the EU or how complex it would be to disengage from it. All we saw instead was our Government completely out of its depth, lost in one bubble of wishful thinking after another, of which Mrs May’s absurd “Chequers plan” is merely the latest.

Only now, after 16 months of talking ineffectually around the subject, has our Government come out with the first tranche of 80-odd papers to explain how we should prepare for the consequences of leaving the EU without a deal.

These tell us nothing more than what should have been obvious back in the days when Mrs May was still claiming “no deal is better than a bad deal”; and for detail and clarity they are not a patch on the 68 “Notices to Stakeholders” already issued by the European Commission to spell out the consequences of Britain choosing to become a “third country”.

Yet even now, so poorly understood on this side of the Channel have been the implications of our leaving without a deal that this ragbag of papers has widely come as quite a shock, despite being airily brushed aside by the Brexiteers as another instalment of “Project Fear”.

The ultimate irony is that what we are facing is not so much a “no deal” as the need for dozens of “side deals”, to be hastily scrambled together in the few months remaining, to keep sizeable parts of our economic activity functioning. And many of the most serious issues have not yet been addressed, such as how legally we are going to be able to keep our airports open and our aircraft flying outside UK airspace (let alone that intractable riddle of how to keep an open border in Northern Ireland).

The bottom line is that we are putting at risk a substantial chunk of our export trade with the EU worth £270 billion a year, or 14% of our GDP, with all the implications for lost jobs, businesses and tax revenue that carries with it. Yet, tragically, without Mrs May’s fateful wrong turning in January last year, so much of this chaos could easily have been avoided.

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