Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 15.1.20

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.   
                  Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain
Spanish Politics
  • Spanish governability. See below the (much amended) Google translation of a tortuous Voz de Galicia article on this theme. (Which reminded me of the comment of an Anglo journalist friend to the effect that journalism graduates here are never taught to write simply and clearly.) Anyway, as I can't guarantee that my amendments have resulted in a perfect translation, I've added the original text.
Spanish Life
  • I'm confused re the place of solar power in Spain, having seen several government U-turns in the last decade. But it does seem to be back on the agenda now.
  • One of Spain's oddest annual events/celebrations is this one, which takes place close to my elder daughter's flat in Madrid.
  • Another odd custom that I've observed over the last week of visiting my friend in Santiago hospital is that of relatives of the patient sitting or lying at the bedside 24 hours a day, for as long as it takes. Usually the wife, if the patient is male, but probably a daughter, if female. Anyway, I'm assured that this isn't obligatory but is only Spanish custom and practice. Which can be 'compelling', so that the family are looked at askance if they don't do it. Or, at least, pay for a nocturnal carer. The latter are invariably South American and, I'm told, are looked down on by the Spanish who employ them. Beats me.
Galician Life
  • A  custom/practice which might be on its slow way out - there were protests this year - is the annual fox hunt competition involving, I read, 350 of the region's 7,000 licensed fox hunters.
  • There's a lovely little narrow-gauge train - the FEVE - which runs along Spain's outstandingly beautiful north coast. In the West, it ends in Ferrol (Franco's birthplace). But the Voz de Galicia reported recently that the stretch from Ribadeo to Ferrol is being slowly slaughtered. Or euthanised, as they put it. Which is a shame.
  • Galicia has a lot of pretty granite railway stations, many of which see few passengers, and some none at all. Here's one of the former, in one of the several villages here called Portela. It has 36 passengers a day, on average:-

Actually, that isn't Portela railway station. This is. It looks a bit like Carballiño's but isn't. My final guess is Redondela.

 Brits and Brexit
The USA 
The Way of the World

  • Words of the Day:-
  1.  Aluciner: To hallucinate.
  2. Abrojo: Caltrop(?); Burr.
Finally   . . .
  • Yesterday's central heating engineer (técnico) didn't, as I suggested, solve my problem. After 3 hours of tinkering, he came to the same conclusion as last week's técnico, viz. that a valve needs to be replaced. Unlike the previous guy, he says his company can get this for me. So far, though, all I've had is 2 call-out bills totalling €100. I fancy I may be paying what I call El Impuesto de Guiris. Foreigners' Tax

Governmemt: Spain is different!: Sergio Perez, Voz de Galicia

Carried away by an attack of sincerity, perhaps caused by the anger that came from seeing her sister serving 12 years in prison for sedition and embezzlement, Monserrat Bassa on Tuesday shattered into bits the essential piece of the illusion behind which hides the very weak parliamentary architecture of the Socialist Government which the president will present to the king : "Do you think I care about the governance of a Spain that has my sister and my Government in jail and in exile?" the spokeswoman of ERC asked the Chamber. And who, in the midst of a formidable scandal, replied: "No: Personally, and I say personally, I don't give a damn about the governance of Spain."

Let's finish! With the applause, which we could see on television, of several deputies of her cabal, Bassa demonstrated what's obvious to the millions of Spaniards who have not bought into the formidable deception that we, astonished, are witnessing: that, among others, the Bildu and ERC deputies - the key to the majority who elected Sánchez president of Spain - that is, those who've here- don't care a bit about Spain.

Although the independence claim constitutes from any point of view (historical, political, economic, social, cultural and even moral) a true nonsense, and that a secessionist leader who doesn't give a damn about the country from which she wants to separate would not deserve it, obviously, nor even a comment, if not that leader were one of the 350 members of an organ, the Congress of Deputies, which decides on the present and the future of all Spaniards, whom said Congress represents. And this does constitute, however you look at it, a political anomaly of such gravity that it is, in fact, unbearable. Although the relevance of the separatist parties in the governorship of Spain has never been comparable to what they will have in the current legislature, with a government that they have managed to literally force onto its knees, nationalism has had an influence over the years on the general interests of the country, represented in the Cortes, which can only be compared to the contempt that this country has felt in the past and feels today. Something truly insane, which is unique, not only in Europe, but throughout the democratic universe.

On the one hand, the separatists govern autonomies over which the State has, in normal situations, a minimum capacity for decision, given the constant expansion of regional powers derived from nationalist pressure during the last four decades. On the other, these same separatists, who openly acknowledge with their words, but, above all, with their actions, that Spain and the Spaniards are the enemy to fight, have the government of the country in their hands and decisively influence each and every one of the decisions that condition our life. If such a situation does not constitute true madness, it means madness does not exist in this world.

Gobernabilidad: ¡Spain is different! Sergio Perez

Llevada de un ataque de sinceridad, provocado quizá por la ira que le produce ver a su hermana cumpliendo 12 años de prisión por sedición y malversación, Monserrat Bassa hizo el martes saltar en mil pedazos la pieza esencial del trampantojo tras el que se esconde la muy endeble arquitectura parlamentaria del Gobierno socialista que va a presentar al rey su presidente: «¿Creen que me importa la gobernabilidad de una España que tiene a mi hermana y a mi Gobierno en la cárcel y en el exilio?», preguntó a la Cámara la portavoz de ERC, quien, en medio de una formidable escandalera, respondió: «No: personalmente, y digo personalmente, me importa un comino la gobernabilidad de España». 

¡Acabáramos! Con el aplauso, que pudimos ver por televisión, de varios diputados de su cuerda, Bassa evidenció lo que es obvio para los millones de españoles que no hemos comprado el engaño formidable al que, atónitos, estamos asistiendo: que, entre otros, a los diputados de Bildu y de ERC, clave de arco de la mayoría que eligió a Sánchez presidente, España -es decir, quienes la habitamos- no le importa (importamos) absolutamente nada.

Aunque la reivindicación independentista constituya desde cualquier punto de vista (histórico, político, económico, social, cultural y hasta moral) un auténtico dislate, que a una dirigente secesionista le importe un comino el país del que quiere separarse no merecería, por obvio, ni siquiera un comentario, de no ser porque esa dirigente es uno de los 350 miembros de un órgano, el Congreso de los Diputados, que decide sobre el presente y el futuro de todos los españoles, a los que dicho Congreso representa. Y eso sí que constituye, mírese como se mire, una anomalía política de tanta gravedad que resulta, de hecho, insoportable. Aunque la relevancia de los partidos separatistas en la gobernación de España no ha sido nunca comparable a la que tendrán en la actual legislatura, con un Gobierno al que han conseguido colocar literalmente de rodillas, el nacionalismo ha tenido a lo largo de los años una influencia sobre los intereses generales del país, representado en las Cortes, que solo puede compararse al desprecio que por ese mismo país han sentido en el pasado y sienten hoy. Algo verdaderamente demencial, que es único, no solo en Europa, sino en todo el universo democrático.

Por un lado, los separatistas gobiernan autonomías sobre las que el Estado tiene, en situaciones de normalidad, una mínima capacidad de decisión, dada la constante ampliación de las competencias regionales derivada de la presión nacionalista durante las cuatro últimas décadas. Por el otro, esos mismos separatistas, que reconocen abiertamente con sus palabras, pero, sobre todo, con sus actos, que España y los españoles somos el enemigo a combatir, tienen en sus manos el Gobierno del país e influyen decisivamente en todas y cada una de las decisiones que condicionan nuestra vida. Si tal situación no constituye una auténtica locura, es que la locura no existe en este mundo.

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