And now a very spatial moment

Public English

… said Sophie Adam last night at the opening of the Tenth World Police and Fire Games. I don’t know who she is, but she googles as a hard porn actress and she certainly didn’t get to partner Constantino “James Bond” Romero as presenter on the basis of her English language skills or her nous. Anaesthetist-turned-mayor Joan Clos is also linguistically challenged, and the programme was a mess. If Barcelona is serious about shaking off its provincial reputation, it needs to stop paying nephews and nieces to write its English copy and call a native speaker. My number is at the top of this page.

The rest of the ceremony was Barcelona all over:

  • Let’s celebrate institutional as opposed to individual rights. How on earth can a city like Barcelona, which claims to support human rights, welcome policemen from notorious violators like Kazachstan and China? Rumour has it that the Russian delegation suffered severe delays at the airport when it was discovered they were trying to bring in a significant number of non-authorised guns.
  • Let’s piss off Madrid. The king had come over to play Aunt Sally, so they obligingly turned up the volume when the Catalan anthem followed the Spanish one and turned off his microphone when he got up to speak.
  • Let’s demonstrate how far we are down the Serbian route. The Catalan national police force – els Mossos d’Esquadra – entered carrying independentista flags. The king seemed to have vanished at that point, and it’s difficult to blame him. Let’s be very clear about this: the majority of the Catalan population rejects independence. However, the Mossos tend to support it, presumably because the entry criteria are being fiddled to admit disproportionate numbers of ethnic Catalans. What it all comes down to is the fact that the 1978 constitution – for all its virtues – has failed to create the conceptual division between public and private space that is a cornerstone of liberal democracy. Neither Brussels nor Washington is interested in an independent Catalonia, so it’s about time that civil servants here learned that they are paid to (be seen to) work for all the citizens.

In truth, the best reason to go to events like this is the Banda Municipal. Our town band was formed in 1886 and does the classics of the wind band repertoire well. Fortunately for them they weren’t on stage during the entry of the athletes, many of whom appeared to have come to participate in the eating competition: some other poor sods had to play Bella Terra for an hour and a half while the rest of us tried to figure out why Sophie Adam couldn’t tell the difference between the Poles and the Portuguese.

Dragon photo: Angie.

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