Apparently a Spanish telly programme did a survey the other day of who people wanted to win the European elections–Germany, Switzerland, France,…–as if it were a football championship. Voters took this seriously, some supporting a foreign country while others remained faithful to Spain. For the small minority with any interest at all in the contesti, Daniel Hannan suggests that if to vote for the right is to support homophobia and racism, then the alternative comprises Stalinists, anti-Semites, and the IRA.
Closer to one version of home, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) candidate had called the local conservative candidate the heir to slave traders, and Manuel Trallero points out in revenge that ERC is in coalition with a Catalan socialist whose grandfather and great-grandfather were blacklisted in WWII for trading with the Nazis. José Bono’s dad was a Falangist, as was María Teresa Fernández de la Vega’s dad, etc etc etc.
None of which explains how any of the parties proposes to achieve the transition to a knowledge-based economy (a Swedish professor says +- that the new Catalan education law appears designed to achieve the opposite) and rein in unemployment which is almost four times Mexico’s. Ignacio says forget it, let’s just aim to be the European Florida. A new, primitive hominid has been found in Barcelona province, but since he wasn’t standing you can’t vote for him.
Will Berlusconi get the Nobel Peace Prize? Will Emma Bonino starve herself to death? Entertaining outside chances, and a welcome distraction from the tiresome business of examining their grim political records. Berlusconi probably deserves some kind of prize, if just for being the most successful of the southern leaders in convincing the rest of the world that his country is a gigantic brothel. The guy in the erection photo doesn’t look at all like Topolanek, but some of the mud will stick.
Another assault on Ryanair from an elitist “left” that doesn’t think proles should be able to afford to go on holiday. Ryanair is by a long chalk the best functioning bit of Girona Airport, including the brothel. Last night we get on the Barcelona shuttle at 22:15 and the girl next to me asks the driver at what time the bus will leave:
–22:30, he says–indeed the scheduled departure time.
–So I’ve got time to quickly go to the toilet, she asks.
–No problem, he says, and she scampers off, leaving her rucksack on the bus.
Two minutes later and without consulting with anyone else he starts up and begins reversing out of the bay.
–Er, excuse me, you’re leaving the girl behind.
–Well, she can catch the next one.
–But she’s left her all her things on the bus.
–She can pick them up at the office in Barcelona.
–But she’s new to here.
–Well call her then.
–I don’t know her.
–She’s stamped her ticket?
So he glowers and glowers and, when she scampers back, leaves 5 minutes ahead of schedule.
Latest news suggests we may not all die of starvation or swine flu, but allotments are back with a vengeance. Someone photographed me the other day for a skull project, but I’m eating plenty, mum, and it honestly wasn’t me trapped for a day in the chimney of that kebab bar. Now here‘s a cool noddle to toddle with.
More corporativist news: The television companies are all going bankrupt so they’re going to merge and try to find new ways of making the public watch their crap. It’s not just socialist Catalonia that is mounting conservative opposition to the liberalisation of commerce. Renewable energy schemes are a costly scam, which probably explains why a major local cement manufacturer is buying into them now building is dead. Principles are a fine thing. Urbanism Belly-Up continues to copy-paste articles on political corruption and the construction industry (the PP is way ahead), as well as news of the first wave of demolitions. Manuel Chaves says he is untainted by corruption, despite the stench emerging from the administration he ran for 25 years.
Staying south, David Hidalgo has published a Palabrario Andaluz, an Andalusian vocabulary and usage guide. Combined with my Spanish-Andalusian translation machine, it could make Andalusia completely inaccessible to outsiders. Meanwhile, in Holland inhabitants of the eastern fringe are demanding the right to use their various Low Saxon dialects in school and the public administration. As I believe I’m the only translator in the world capable of handling Twents-/Drents-/Gelders-/Gronings-/etc-English, I hope to be able to purchase a château near Brussels over the next couple of years.
My favourite scaggy bar on this walk has, improbably, a Botero print on the wall. The owner has never heard of Botero but likes fat ladies. I need to convert him to Beryl Cook, who does fat ladies rather better, I think. Anyone who painted Napoleon’s Pauline with a few kilos extra might have been in for trouble, but, whatever physical resemblance she may have borne to the species, it turns out that she was the mother of all Mediterranean plumbers:
When she discovered that her brother-in-law, Jean-Louis Leclerc, had no shower in his house when she arrived to stay with him, she demanded that a hole be made in the ceiling of her bathroom through which water could be poured over her.
- Nationalism and the European elections, Berlusconi and the intra-Mediterranean risorgimento
Link love for 01/06/2009.
- Cataloonia, Sweden on the Med
Jordi Pujol’s venerable dream appears finally to have been realised, although perhaps not quite as he anticipated.
- Catalan corruption
“The degree of corruption of most administrations is more or less equivalent in different times and circumstances…”
- Link sink for 30/05/2009
Mid-20th century Ibero-American hits, state-controlled media, the personal and the public.
- End of an affair?
Catalan Europhilia seems to be decreasing as contact with European institutions increases.