Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 19.7.21

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.  

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de España/Galiza  

Law courses: As I was late in adding it, 1 or 2 early readers might not have seen this yesterday, nor my comment that, at 98%, some Selectividad marks demanded are far higher than the 5.5(49%) of others. Here are a few local ones:-

La Coruña: Law  alone 60%  Law + Business Admin 81%

Santiago de Compostela: Law alone 67%  Law + Labour Relations 70%

Vigo Pontevedra Campus: Law alone 56%  Law + Business Admin 76%

Siestas: Why do (some) Spaniards (and I) have them?

You think you’ve seen it all – or most of it – but then, in the supermarket, you come up against a woman doing her shopping on an e-scooter

Ever since I came here, the mayor of Pontevedra city has been trying to get rid of a factory on the city’s outskirts. As this is by far the largest private employer, you might think this is an odd thing for a left-of-centre politician to do but there we are. Its licence was scheduled to expire in 2018 but in 2016 the top Galician court extended it for 60 years. Last week, though, a national court reversed this decision, leading the company to say it’ll appeal to the Supreme Court. So, there’s several more years of this saga to run yet. It looks rather more like a personal vendetta to me. Perhaps the mayor hates the factory even more than he does cars on his city’s streets.

María’s Not So Fast: Days  13 & 14. Lessons of Yesterday. 

The UK

A valid comment? In recent yers, the government has legitimised all sorts of nannying measures, including greater taxation of foods high in sugar or salt. Plans for rebuilding after the pandemic, particularly those associated with the green economy, almost always involve the spending of vast amounts of taxpayer money or greater government intervention. It is a dangerous moment for government by fudge. Unless the statist trend is arrested, the great risk is that, despite having voted for Brexit to free itself from the EU’s stultifying rule-making, the country becomes like France, with a French economic model and a French attitude to the state. There are already worrying signs of a drift towards dirigisme, grands projects of questionable value, and a prevalent cultural attitude that government is an empowering force whose diktats are to be followed without question. The old common law idea that you can do what you like, so long as it is not explicitly prohibited, threatens to be turned on its head. The country can no longer avoid the choice that governments have faced ever since the Brexit vote. Is the UK’s future really that of a European-style social democracy, with high levels of tax and regulation, and an expansive and interfering state? Or are we to follow the logic of Brexit to a more coherent conclusion, and embrace American-style freedom and enterprise, and all that entails?

The Way of the World

Dietary science:  Scientists have lurched one way and another over the past 50 years. Carbs were good and then bad. Eggs bad and then good. We’ve had dozens of government guidelines, policies and fad diets, from the F-Plan to Paleo, Atkins and the Mediterranean. No wonder people are confused. The reason for this surreal history? They framed the problem the wrong way: they analysed groups rather than individuals. But this is flawed. We all have different microbiomes, genes and metabolisms and so react to the same food in different ways. When it comes to diet, the focus has to be the individual. And it’s now possible, with a couple of measurements, for doctors to provide personalised nutrition. After 50 years of chaos and growing public distrust of nutritional guidance, this could go a long way to solving the obesity crisis. Let’s hope so.

Finally  . . ,  

I have my daughter and grandson from Madrid with me this week. It’s amazing how quickly they can convert my house to a replica of her flat, viz. a toy shop hit by a minor earthquake.

Note: If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here.