Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in SpainSpanish/Galician Life
- A great bull makes for a great bullfight, goes the local saying. Or something along those lines. One such event was described in yesterday's El Mundo. But I didn't read far enough into the review to know if the brave creature was spared death. Either way, his opinion probably wasn't sought.
- By coincidence 1: I read yesterday in Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature that the heroes of today's Spanish youth are not matadors but singers and football players, so that While bullfighting retains a loyal following, the crowds are middle-aged and older. Pretty true, I think.
- By coincidence 2: Here's The Local on the Osborne bulls that dot Spain.
- Another quote from Tim Parfitt's 'A Load of Bull', which rather endorses a comment of mine about the current La Rueda trial of 14 corrupt TV companies: All 'final decisions' and 'closures' are extremely rare in Spain. I'd endlessly read reports in newspapers of high-profile crooks being sentenced to 20 years or so in a prison for major fraud but then, a minute later, it was never absolutely certain that they'd be jailed at all.
- What a Galician claim to fame . . .
- Here's Richard North today in respect of a - deceitful - government announcement on the issue of future trade restrictions between the UK and the EU: It seems we have taken a giant leap backwards to Orwell's 1984. In his land where the Ministry of Truth was devoted to the falsification of public records, the Ministry of Peace concerned itself with war, the Ministry of Love sanctioned torture and the Ministry of Plenty presided over starvation, he launched the concept of the Orwellian inversion where official pronouncements mean the exact opposite of what they said. However, no one can really claim to be surprised. It all, says RN, bodes ill for the future. I'll say.
- Strange political goings on there, accompanying the economic reverses. I guess they're connected.
- As I've said, Spain is not alone in this . . . Although Ireland is seen as an economic success story — the “Celtic tiger” that has transformed itself from one of Europe’s poorer countries into one of the wealthiest - the proceeds of growth have not filtered down to the general population. Rents have soared, property ownership has slumped and homelessness has nearly quadrupled in the past five years. One poll found that 63% of people do not feel personally any better off despite the country’s wider economic success. All very familiar here.
- Huge post-Brexit cuts in agricultural and structural funds are something else that don't bode well. Stand by for the angry horse-trading.
- Ireland is the latest country to experience the populist shock waves that began with the 2008 financial crisis* and continue to emanate around the world. Like the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump, this was a rejection of the status quo and an expression of frustration at the failure of the political elite to improve voters’ lives.
- * In their book National Populism: The Revolt against Liberal Democracy, Messrs Eatwell and Goodwin argue that populism emerged much earlier than this. Back in the 1990s, as I recall.
- Word of the Day:- 1. Agallas: Balls; Guts; Cojones. 2. Catre: 'A light bed for one person': As in the narco-submarine, on top of the cocaine cargo.
- Spanish chat-up lines, says The Local. I have ni puta idea - as they say here - as to their validity.
- This is a new property development outfit here in Southern Galicia (As Rías Baixas), which just happens to be run by a friend of mine. So, if you're looking for a house here, get in touch with them. And, if you're particularly interested in the lovely Miño area down on the border with Portugal, let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you my write-up on it.
- Not me . . .