Thursday, November 15, 2018

Thoughts from Hamburg, Germany: 15.11.18

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 Hamburg/German
  • I'm a tad confused about Germany's/Hamburg's approach to rubbish disposal. In contrast to the policy of other countries, it seems that here you don't have to separate out plastic. And you might even be allowed to include some glass items in the garbage bags you chuck into the street bins. But possibly not those on which there's a deposit. But there are separate street bins for paper, at least.
  • Twice a week, I gaze out of my bedroom window onto a street market which stretches a long way underneath the U-train rails that run down the middle of the wide Isestrasse. There's some wonderful foodstuffs there, and even a stall selling a very wide array of spices and herbs. I fancy I'd be a regular patron, if I lived here. But not for the cheese. Or the cucumber.
  • I'd also be a regular customer of the supermarkets offering a nice selection of Asian foods and sauces. Not to mention Portuguese vinho verde at prices not much above those back home.
Matters Spanish
  • Good news for Brits. And others, I guess.
  • As I've said more than once, planning is not usually a Spanish thing. But they seem to have drastically changed their approach to their Xmas shopping. Impressive. 
  • One of the biggest negatives of La Crisis was the emigration of talented young people without employment prospects here. The government is now trying to woo them back, it says here. One wishes it luck, of course.
  • Do you find labyrinths amazing? If so, this article on Spain's best 5 is for you.
Some glaze-eyed readers might wish to pass over this section . . . 

The Brexit
  • Just in case you live in a cave, here's a few of this morning's British headlines:-
The Times: May papers over the cracks as split cabinet back Brexit deal. PM faces furious backlash. 
The Telegraph: Cabinet backs Theresa May's plan but leadership challenge could come amid Tory fury.
The Guardian: Theresa May's Brexit plan: a split cabinet, a split party and a split nation
‘Collective’ decision by ministers to press ahead – but Brexiters may back push for no-confidence vote
Politico Europe: UK Cabinet approves draft Brexit deal, Prime Minister Theresa May predicts ‘difficult days ahead.’ Theresa May’s Brexit deal: That was the easy bit.
  • And here's Richard North's final para of his post today:- It is possible to see a scenario where the UK is locked in perpetuity into a customs union with the EU. The issues relating to the single market and regulatory checks is by no means clear and, it seems, are still not fully resolved, leaving areas for future dispute. But there is ample material to support an assertion that this is Brexit in Name Only (BRINO). This is exactly the fudge that should never have been accepted by Mrs May.
  • My favourite summation: Mrs May had a weak hand and played it very badly.
  • My own view is that every sensible Brexiteer would take the view that, if this is where we were bound to end up, we should never have initiated a Brexit in the first place. Of course, one should add the rider that there were exit plans – most obviously Richard North's Flexit – which could well have avoided this outcome. But the incompetent British government ignored them. Possibly because - like its Prime Minister - it didn't really want a Brexit.
  • Mrs May said last night: It's either this best possible Brexit, a no-deal Brexit or no Brexit at all. If feasible, I'd go with the last of these, accepting that an opportunity has been lost and it would be sensible to accept defeat. Though this, of course, would be seen as a betrayal of those who voted in 2016 for a Brexit. But it's never going to happen as it would mean the Tory party losing power for quite possibly a generation. And one thing the party is good at is resorting to pragmatism that keeps it in power. So, I imagine Mrs May will get what she wants but won't last very much longer as party leader and Prime Minister. Because, as a Times columnist puts it: Mrs May knows with her head and her heart that this deal is worse than the one we are relinquishing. It is her fate and her legacy to leave the nation with something she knows is a bad deal. The fact that it is also just about as good as she could have got is no consolation. An ungrateful party, which simply has no idea what it wants, may punish her simply because she has finally come to a decision.
The USA


Matters Galician
  • HT to Lenox of Business Over Tapas for this item . . . The courts have caught up with some of the folk who, over the years, have flagrantly ignored the law about building properties close to the sea. Which was not exactly a secret.
Finally . . .
  • It's not only the Spanish who are fed up with the tourist hordes. Some Dutch volk have had quite enough. But I hope they don't mind me taking a look at their village next week . . .
© [David] Colin Davies, Hamburg: 15.11.18

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