5 October 2021

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’

Cosas de España/Galiza

Galicia is the 2nd largest beneficiary of the EU’s social Cohesion Fund and will receive €3.2bn to spend over the next 5 years. A tidy sum. Not all which will end up where it’s intended to go. I imagine.

It looks like one consequence of Covid will be the permanent loss of the ability to go to a government office, take a ticket and wait your turn. It’ll all continue to be done by prior appointment, which possibly benefits employees more than customers.

Details of those upcoming bigger motoring fines. The good news is that there’ll still be an allowance made for overtaking.

The impressive overview. I recall being shocked by the annual death toll on the roads when I arrived here in 2000. But understood it better when I witnessed the attitude to drinking and driving and the very high speeds on the motorways down to Madrid.

Talking of my personal experiences . . . I’m used to birds taking a shine to my window but snails . .?

The birds do it rather faster, of course. And don’t stick to the glass.

Note the Atlantic Blanket which has enveloped the city of Pontevedra. But the forecast is of a 180 degree turn tomorrow. However, most of us have learned not to trust forecasts of Galician weather beyond, say, an hour. The Atlantic is an even bigger jokester than Boris Johnson. If not as big a clown.

The UK/Quotes of the Day

The sorry truth is that we [the British] are at the mercy of a just-in-time Prime Minister. Here is a man of straw who seems only to make decisions when they are forced upon him by circumstance or catastrophe. And he doesn’t even always make it under the wire. A minority view, it seems. His popularity rating remains high among the populace at large.

No one every went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public.

Though they might eventually vote you out of office, once they’ve come to their senses.


Wendell Phillips(1811-1884): You can always get the truth from an American statesman after he has turned 70, or given up all hope of the presidency. Those were the days.

Social Media

Frances Haugen’s interview with the US news programme 60 Minutes contained a litany of damning statements about Facebook. Haugen, a former Facebook employee who had joined the company to help it combat misinformation, said the tech firm prioritised profit over safety and was “tearing our societies apart”. How much longer?

The Way of the World

Are you woke enough for a British university? Find out below . .


My daughter in Madrid usually talks to her 2 year old son in English, while his dad talks in a mix of English and Spanish and his step-sister only in Spanish. Yesterday, my daughter asked him a question in Spanish, to which he responded: Why mummy is talking in hola?

Some flesh for one of yesterday’s bones . . . Si Bruselas no entiende que cambian las cosas, habrá otros Brexit.

Finally . . .

Interesting to read that the middle-finger salute goes back at least 2,300 years – to some Greek orator who didn’t like one of his opponents.

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


Are you woke enough for university? Find out now with this foolproof test. Michael Deacon

It’s the exciting new trend taking the world of academia by storm. At two leading British universities this term, first-year undergraduates have been required to sit induction tests to confirm that they hold the correct views about equality, diversity, privilege and other crucial progressive issues.

At the University of Kent, for example, new students were asked whether they understand that wearing second-hand clothes can be a sign of white privilege. At the University of St Andrews, meanwhile, students were asked whether “equality” means “treating everyone the same”. (The correct answer, of course, was no. Students were expected to know that in fact equality means “treating people differently and in a way that is appropriate to their needs so that they have fair outcomes and equal opportunity”.)

Every responsible university will naturally be anxious to follow the example set by these two enterprising institutions. Thankfully, for the benefit of the entire higher education sector, Way of the World has compiled a test that covers all the most important ground, enabling students across Britain to be examined forthwith. To any self-respecting 21st-century undergraduate, the correct answers should be obvious.

  1. A fellow undergraduate confesses to you that he or she is a supporter of the Conservative Party. How should you respond?

a. Engage him or her in a lively but respectful exchange of ideas about politics and current affairs.

b. Change the subject. For pity’s sake, you’re young and you’re here to have fun, not to bore each other senseless with incessant rows about Brexit.

c. Report him or her immediately to the university authorities. If the encounter has caused you post-traumatic stress, professional counselling is available on campus.

  1. Your fellow members of the university debating society suggest inviting Nigel Farage to be a guest speaker. What should you do?

a. Agree. Like him or loathe him, his visit would represent an excellent opportunity for you to hone your debating skills against one of the most formidable public speakers of our time.

b. Invite him purely so you can have the pleasure of publicly withdrawing the invitation five minutes before he’s due to start speaking.

c. Veto the invitation, picket the homes of the students who suggested it, and campaign for the debating society to be shut down with immediate effect, on the grounds that its very existence helps to perpetuate a pernicious and inherently Right-wing interpretation of “free speech”, by enabling and thereby legitimising the expression of reactionary, harmful and bigoted views.

  1. What is the greatest driver of inequality in British society?

a. Racism.

b. Austerity.

c. The vast expansion of university education, which over the past 40 years has transformed Britain into a two-tier society, benefiting middle-class degree-holders at the expense of working-class school-leavers. So after completing this induction test, demonstrate your commitment to reducing inequality by quitting university at once.