Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 26.2.19

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
           Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain
  • Lent is fast approaching, so it's time for Carnival. Or is it Carnaval? Both are used in this article on Spain's most unusual celebrations of it. 
  • Here in Pontevedra, we have a mock funeral, which involves a lot of cross-dressing (wailing 'widows') and ends in the cremation of a huge stuffed parrot (called Ravachol), while our neighbouring villages make do with an anonymous sardine.
  • On a wider front, there's turbulence ahead in the political sphere.
  • As residents will know, Spain is a country of great contrasts. Here's one of them . . . While in our cities we might still be spoilt for choice, out in the countryside as many as 4,000 villages have no local bank branch and just 20% of these are served by a monthly or fortnightly mobile bank open for 3 hours at a time. This is problematic for an entire generation which still pays its bills in cash over the counter at the bank. For American readers, a fortnight is 2 weeks. 
  • Remember me saying I got a large coffee for 50 cents near Valença in North Portugal a couple of weeks ago? In Madrid yesterday - €2.00. For the non-numerate, 4 times the price. 
Brexit and The UK
  • Mrs May's most obvious - only? - talent is stonewalling, not giving a straight answer - or, indeed, anything resembling a real answer - to a straight question. After Brexit means Brexit, this week - when asked if she would seek a delay to the Brexit - she gave us: Any delay is a delay. A British columnist has suggested that, if Mrs May were to write a dictionary, it would go something like this:-
- Aardvark, noun. Aardvark.
- Abacus, noun. Abacus.
- Abandon, verb. To abandon.
And so on, for 200,000 words.
  • If, indeed, there is an extension to Article 20 - especially if this is for almost 2 years - it's widely believed that Mrs May would be rapidly defenestrated by her party. But can there really be anyone willing to take the poisoned chalice from her hands? Of course there is.
  • Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has almost emerged from the long and twisted grass to say that the official Labour policy could well be - or become - support for a second referendum. A bold move which at least some in his party believe will end his chances of becoming prime minister.
  • So, what say you? An extensive delay during which a second referendum or even a general election takes place?? Do you care one way or the other??
  • More here on the Nazis of the 1930s.
  • Odd Old Word: Sennite. A week. See above for 2 weeks.
Finally . . .
  • Today's fashionistas are reported to increasingly favour items of clothing that you wear only once and then chuck away. Or give to a charity shop. I wonder what they'd make of my still wearing trousers I bought over 20 years ago. And into which, I'm proud to say, I can still get.


CBM said...

Hola Colin - to respond to your question, my thoughts at this juncture of the three main outcomes (and I have not been following quite so closely as you or others) are:

1 - remain - now pointless, as the damage of leave has already been done (or cannot be reversed), and would in addition be highly embarrassing for the UK

2 - TM's deal - a poisoned chalice (as currently written) as the promises in the political declaration (a 'wolf in sheep's clothing') tie the UK inexorably to the EU as a 'rule-taker' and contributor (in some ways moreso than currently) following the 2 year withdrawal period

3 - [managed] no deal - pretty much all that remains left

(I voted to remain, by the way)


Sierra said...

Like most things in Spain, it's difficult to generalize - our village in Lugo - district population about 5,000 has four bank branches (and 10 bars) - those poor farmers!

Colin Davies said...

@Chris: Thanks for this.

I don't rule out remain being engineered . . . tho' it's true that the things lost probably can't be retrieved. As I've said once or twice - as a Brexiteer - the leave options are now all so bad, the wise thing to do - ignoring embarrassment and assuming the EU 27 would let it - is for Britain to abandon the attempt to leave and leave it for another day. Or stay, if other problems cause Brussels to change its Mission Statement and Credo.

I also don't rule out Mrs May's terrible deal getting enough support for it to happen. Anything could still happen.At least everyone could then forget about bloody Brexit for a while. But only until its implications became obvious.