If Merkel complains about how much TV3 costs, ask her about Bavaria

The television arm of Bayerische Rundfunk inflicts roughly the same relative damage on regional GDP as its Catalan cousin.

This is a 15-minute job, so I hope the Generalitat-hating faithful will forgive me for not discovering German subsidy figures for 2010, when the Generalitat may have contributed 350 million to its absurd remake of Birth of a Nation. I enjoyed some of the footwork in the announcement – the Spanish league is dying and its rights are enormously overpriced, so this was a marvellous way of getting shot of it and being able to blame the previous administration.

For me this is a story not of the unfair treatment being handed out to an ahem cost-conscious Spanish regional government but of how incredibly backward much of Germany is, with statism and inertia that would have made Honecker blush concealed by extraordinarily successful private sector entrepreurs. It can’t be long till we choke with laughter as we recall when Frankfurt – Hicksville am Rhein – believed it was going to run Europe, and Europe was going to run the world. Superb country cooking beyond the bounds, though.

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  1. We’ll buy it.

    While I was cooking in Holland I used to watch whichever station it was hit on the bright idea of filling empty hours with video recorded from a camera hung on the back of a bus or something. You could see people’s faces and everything, but I don’t think anyone worried about privacy.

  2. German public TV has excellent programs and high journalistic standards. Free-to-air over satellite into Spain. What I don’t know is if in Germany their TDT version also delivers, for foreign films, the original language option plus subs, that’s really good in Spain (except for such cheapskates as 8TV and Intereconomía, but there’s no journalism there anyways and watching them is like looking back in time; white noise is more honest).

    But back to what Catalonia can learn: in Germany there are some Länder which share one channel.

    TV Països Catalans anyone? Or Extremalucía channel?

    And: regional TVs make up Germany’s country-wide channel Das Erste. Like if in Spain all regions would contribute to La Primera.

    But that can only happen if there is a truly public channel. Right now in Catalonia we can see how politics is made in the 21st century: CiU is not trying to control TV3 as much as shifting the weight and the gains to the private sector, their beloved La Vanguardia/8TV/RAC.

  3. I honestly don’t think there is any understanding of or interest in liberalisation in Spain. Aznar had eight years and all he did was hand over public businesses to his friends. As Charles B pointed out, the notion that a village notary – possibly the least liberal profession in the world – will do any better is frankly absurd.

  4. @MM: Good piece. When I was working over the border I eventually gave up buying from the local Green councillor’s bookshop because although I agreed with a lot of what he said I just couldn’t take the sermons. I guess the right preaches now as well.

  5. Thanks, MM. I agree that Germans can be terribly preachy. And all those actors who are regularly invited to discuss politics (and basically everything else) is another turn-off.

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