Friday, February 08, 2019

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 8.2.19

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain
  • What Brits in Spain need to do urgently. Apologies if this is another Members Only article from The Local.
  • But this warning for us from The Olive Press certainly can be accessed.
  • And here's something very specific on one aspect - something which you really should have done long ago.
  • I'm pretty sure we've seen this before or something similar at least . . . 17 reasons to hate Spain.
  • Some rowing back on the PP's infamous Gag Law.
  • The Spanish - or at least the Galicians - tend to believe that, while they themselves are bad at speaking English, their Portuguese neighbours are all pretty good at it. This is not exactly my experience and this table gives the lie to the claim:-
- The percentage of citizens able to converse in a second language:-
Luxemburg 98
Netherlands 94
Sweden 91
Denmark 89
Austria 78
Belgium 72
Germany 56
France 51
Spain 56
Ireland 40
UK 39
Portugal 39
Italy 38

The EU's economy
  • Germany is catching the predicted cold, possibly even the flu. That doesn't bode well for the rest of the EU. The German government has already serially lowered its projections for GDP growth for the whole year 2018 to just 1.0%, after a solid first half. But with Q3 already on the books as a decline and Q4 falling apart before everyone’s astonished eyes, the government’s projection may still be too optimistic.
  • A major factor has been what Don Quijones (nicely) calls Carmaggeden across the EU. Interestingly, Spain was an exception.
The EU, the UK and Brexit
  • Richard North today: Yesterday's developments effectively rules out a meaningful vote in the Commons next week. As to the substantive vote, the speculation is that a modified deal won't be put to MPs until a few days before we are due to leave. This is extreme brinkmanship that would supposedly require an Article 50 extension to give time for Westminster to pass all the Brexit legislation. . .  That the vote should go to the wire is no guarantee that the Withdrawal Agreement will be ratified – even if Corbyn and some of the Labour MPs can be induced to vote with the government. An accidental "no-deal" Brexit is still very much on the cards. Oh dear.
The UK 
  • A bold prediction - The parties we have at Westminster were created in an era of class politics. The electorate has graduated into an era of identity politics but the parties have not come with them. They will do, one day and I think this will be soon. Brexit makes it inevitable that the both parties  will split because politics is now driven by identity not class. The Labour Party  can't paper over its cracks for long.
Social Media
  • A few comments from Twitter users:-
- Twitter feels like a natural milieu for fanaticism  - the perfect tool for populists and an incubator for aspiring despots.
- Like a rocket’s fuel boosters, lies on Twitter can be discarded once the conspiracy theory has been successfully put into orbit.
- The mesmerising chain reaction of tweets is to a healthy interest in news what junk food is to a healthy diet. We know it does us no good and yet we keep on reaching into the bottomless Pringle-tube of salty, sugary snack information.
- Those of us who waste too much time on Twitter have grown wearily used to the tribalism, insults and mock outrage that are the warp and weft of this corner of the web. . . Alarmingly, it has become hardwired into our public life, debasing our democratic discussion. 
  • And my view . . . It's inexorably taking us towards the de facto mob rule the 19th century politicians feared universal suffrage would bring. And I thought the collusion between the British government and the country's appalling tabloid press was bad enough! One's reminded of Gresham's Law: 'Bad money drives out the good’.
Finally . . .
  • From the occasional complaint about it, I suspect readers wanting to make a comment have to go through the select-certian-fotos process which assures a computer that they aren't a spamming robot. I know this is irritating as I have to do it myself when I respond to comments. Sometimes several times. On my own blog! Really, really annoying.


Sierra said...

Hint - just click "Publish Your Comment" - don't tick the "robot" box - seems to work (for me, at least)

Eamon said...

Sierra I click on publish your comment, sign in to google account and click on publish your comment again and that's all.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Those 56 % of Spaniards who speak a second language... Did that include Catalan, Basque, Bable and Gallego perhaps??


Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Sierra. I have done so in the post. Wonder why I stopped . . .

Colin Davies said...

Just did it now . . .