Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 4.5.21

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’ 

NOTE: Info on Galicia here. Where you can also find my Guide to Pontevedra city.

Covid  

Portugal: Deaths are down to only 2 a day but the country is still not on the UK’s Green List. No way to treat an old friend and ally. But it might well join Malta, Gibraltar, the Seychelles and Israel on May 17.

The UK: Just one Covid death yesterday. Meaning that the virus was surely outnumbered by other causes neglected over the last 12 months. Perspective may yet make a return. Meanwhile, the 1m social distancing rule won’t be lifted until at least June 21.

In contrast: The 7 day moving average:-

Italy: 270, falling.

France: 265, falling.

Spain: 79, falling.

Germany: 239, not falling.

Sweden: 6, falling.

Cosas de España

How powerful is the Roman Catholic Church these days, almost 50 years after the death of Franco? How far is is it still woven into the fabric of Spanish life.  Click here for one informed view. Of course, whatever the church’s influence actually is, the Vox party would like it to be greater.

Here’s Isambard Wilkinson on Madrid’s Vox-supported ‘freedom fighter’/’Trumpista’. Tellingly: The capital and its surrounding region has been among Europe’s worst hit areas in the pandemic but her risky gambit to keep Madrid open appears to have paid off.

Spain’s political future? Farewell the Centre?

Cousas de Galiza

María’s Level Ground: Days 29 and 30

The UK 

It’s not so long ago that ministers used to quit on a regular basis for breaking the rules but the idea now seems laughable. For an extreme example of how things used to be, consider the case of Mark Harper, who resigned as an immigration minister in 2014 after discovering that his cleaner didn’t have the right to work in the UK. Imagine that today. I mean, it’s inconceivable, right? Thank-you, Mr Johnson and pals. And Brexit. And Covid.

France

Killer robot dogs to control unhappy voters. Whatever next?

The USA

When Mississippi became the 2nd state to leave the Union, the Declaration of Secession was read from the balcony of the city hall. It contained these statements: Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery  –  the greatest material interest of the world, and: A blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. Wow. All justified by the Bible, of course. No wonder attitudes have taken so long to change.

The Way of the World 

The nation state is back. As they have struggled with the pandemic, governments have amassed extraordinary powers. They can close your business, stop you travelling and forbid you to see your family. They can prevent you from holding the hand of a dying relative. They can bar you from returning to your home country.These are not the decisions of local authorities or international bodies, but almost invariably of national governments. It is they who can close borders, halt exports, impose laws and print money on any scale. Anyone who thought that globalisation meant the withering of nation state power has had a terrible shock. Even now, that power is underestimated. More is still to come: in a new race to lead innovation and promote greater self-sufficiency, nations will intervene in more industries, control supplies of minerals, unleash colossal spending and raise taxes. Even the mighty tech companies will face a day of reckoning with the power of the nation state. It is a paradox of our times that this revival of nation coincides, in much of the western world, with a growing crisis of national identity. Nowhere more so than in the UK, perhaps. What with Brexit behind it and Scexit possibly ahead of it.

English

Reader Perry has reminded me that there’s long been a word confusingly similar to transhumanism  – transhumance. Very relevant to Spain, as you can see here and here. It still survives up in the northern regions of Asturias, Cantabria and Navarra.

Finally  . . .

I have a plant called the Christmas or Easter cactus, because that’s when it’s likely to bloom.  It’s not really a cactus, though it certainly looks like one. Anyway, mine bloomed in full last Xmas, so I was surprised to see a single flower emerging a week or so ago, and here it is:-

I was impressed by its unique status but yesterday I noticed a couple of more  buds. So not quite the rebel I thought it was. 

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