20 October 2021: The luck of the Irish; And of migrants; UK Covid woes; The EU – Poles apart; & 2 talented boogiemen.

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 

Another non-surprise, around those Covid-compensating EU funds  . . .    

Spain is smoothing the path for unaccompanied young migrants to obtain residence and work permits. This must be a tad hard to take for all those previously under-the-wire/illegal Brits with properties here, especially if they’ve had their residence application rejected.

I know some lovely Irish folk – indeed, my paternal grandmother was one of these – but I still can’t understand why the demand for Irish teachers of English is particularly high in Spain. Especially as I once chatted to a B&B owner in Cork whose version of it I couldn’t understand. Brexit has actually strengthened this trend, though perhaps post-Brexit aversion to being educated by ‘nasty’ Brits is understandable, if misplaced. Anyway, I guess future generations of English-speaking Spaniards will be using those Irish-origin Americanisms of ‘bring’ instead of ‘take’ and ‘gotten’ instead of the more modern ‘got’. Not to mention legalize for legalise, etc. . . .

The UK 

Bad News. A new variant – AY.4.2,  ‘even more transmissible than Delta’ – is being closely monitored in the UK. It’s a descendant of the Delta strain, now dominant across the world.

As of now, the Covid situation in the UK is deteriorating, in contrast with many/most European countries. No one seems to know why for sure but factors cited include: high population density; anti vaccination views among ethnic and religious groups; reduced NHS capability; failure to vaccinate the young, belated implementation of restrictions; premature removal of restrictions; waning immunity after early vaccination success, and the widespread refusal to wear masks in public places. Perhaps the new variant is yet another factor. It’s also said that a much higher level of routine testing than in France and Germany, for example, overstates the seriousness of the UK situation. But this doesn’t explain the higher deaths per million number. Which is the only truly relevant statistic – assuming the designations are correct and that like is being compared with like. One day we’ll have all the answers. Maybe. 

Meanwhile. Here’s just one of the recent flurry of articles on this issue, all of them critical of the government, of course. Which is led by a grandstanding chap who says his priority now is to make the UK ‘the Qatar of hydrogen’. Whatever the hell that means. 

I’m pretty sure I’ll be one of the few people wearing a mask in shops when I’m there in December. And I worry about under what circumstances I’ll be allowed back into Spain in January, Especially if a threatened further lockdown materialises in the UK. 

The EU

One of the strongest charges made in the book I’ve cited twice already is against the constitution, nature and role of the European Court of Justice. Accountable to no one, says the author, it’s played a huge political role in furthering the objective of an undemocratic technocratic oligarchy, In doing so, he says it’s ignored both its own illegalities under the EU Constitution and the law-breaking of Germany and France. But it seems that not only the fractious Poles but also the French are now questioning the supremacy of EU law and the role of an institution unparalleled anywhere in the democratic world. The EU President has gone so far as to claim that, if Poland wins the rule-of-law battle, this will mean the end of the EU. But perhaps some (substantive not superficial) changes to the way the ECJ operates will kick this particular can down the road a bit and avoid the (premature?) collapse of the project.

Meanwhile, Poland has been put on the (very) naughty seat and told to pull its socks up or lose its pocket money. The Polish PM has retorted that the EU leaders are trying to turn his country into a province of a greater state –  i. e. the United States of Europe, always the true objective of the founders. Which certainly has the ring of truth about it. Likewise his allegation of double standards.

So, interesting times. 

The Way of the World 

It takes all sorts . . . Up in Sitges, a man died when he fell off an electric scooter and his (unhelmeted) head met the ground at speed. He did so without colliding with anything or anyone and a major factor in his fatal fall could well have been that he was sporting the wheel of a bike between his legs, affecting his balance somewhat. A lesson for us all, I guess.

Quote of the Day  

A classic William Dalrymple comment: Smoking is disproportionately encountered among the bored community — we must now call all people who share a characteristic a community. 


Mecenazgo: Sponsorship; patronage. From un/una mecenasUna persona que patrocina las letras o las artes. Derived from the name of Mecenas (69-08 BC) – adviser to the emperor Augustus and protector of literature and the Arts. 

Finally  . . .

Talking of lovely Irish folk  . . .  There’s hope yet for those of us who ‘tinkle’ and who aspire to play boogie . . .

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