10 August 2022: Whither Spain? Nutty nationalists; Rude Spaniards, again; Nasty Portugal; & Other stuff.

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Awake! For, Morning, in the Bowl of Night, has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
And, Lo, has caught the Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Apologies for the Test post which possibly went to email subscribers yesterday. Well, to those who actually read it. I was testing the WordPress app on my phone after my Mac Air simply died on me . . .

Life in Spain  

This is a bit from Ayn Rand’s famous 1957 book Atlas Shrugged. I guess it’s about (Western capitalist)societies going from good to bad. But the funny thing – it seems to me – is that, while this might well be happening in the UK and the USA, in Spain things could be said to be going in the opposite direction. In that the picture conjured up is more accurate for 20th century Spain, than for today’s Spain. Though there is certainly a way to go:-

When you see that, in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; 

When you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods but in favours;

When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work and your laws don’t protect you against them but protect them against you;

When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming self-sacrifice;

You may know that your society is is doomed.

Cosas de Spain/Galiza 

This is a comment about Scottish nationalists which applies equally well to nationalists in Cataluña, Pais Vasco and Galicia:- Scottish nationalists see equivalence between their nationalism and the supposed nationalism that wishes to hold the UK together. But it is a false equivalence. It is not nationalistic to wish to maintain the territorial integrity of your nation state. Every country in the world wants to do this. To call it ‘nationalist’ makes the word meaningless. To describe British[and Spanish] people as ‘nationalists’ is as absurd as describing French people as nationalists because they don’t want France to break up.

When asked, foreigners usually say the best thing about Spain is Spaniards. This might well be true, as they’re certainly friendly, polite and sometimes even ‘noble’. But, as I regularly moan, they can be remarkably unaware of – or even inconsiderate towards – people they don’t know. In the last 24 hours I’ve experienced:-

1. A woman in the supermarket who came and who stood right in front of me as I scanned the shelves for shaving soap 

2. A driver at crossing who didn’t leave a space for pedestrians despite them having priority

3. A car parked right at the entrance to the parking lot making it difficult to enter coming from one direction and impossible from the other. Mine, as it happened.

4. New Airbnb ‘neighbours’ in my street leaving 2 metres between their cars and others parked there.

So, who can blame me for my regular gripe?

Walking with my grandson through the Xardíns de Vincenti to get to the fair ground, I noticed this monument to relations between Pv city and Burgos. And realised I must have passed it dozens of times over 21 years and never clocked it . . . Too lost in my thoughts?

Portugal

Given that this country has always seemed very well disposed towards Brits – especially retirees – it’s odd to read that Portugal is wilfully, deliberately and systemically not adhering to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. Meaning that thousands of Brits are without their new residence card – the TIE here in Spain – so can’t drive or access healthcare. And even run the risk of being prevented from entering EU states or prosecuted if they do.

The Way of the World 

A Saudi academic studying for a PhD in dentistry at Leeds University has been jailed for 34 years[sic] in her home country after she was reported to a mobile phone “snitching” app for tweeting about human rights. She is is married with two sons aged 6 and 4 and is a lecturer in Saudi Arabia. She has never been involved with human rights groups. She had a Twitter account with about 2,000 followers and occasionally made comments about human rights in the kingdom, including women’s issues.

Roll on the days when no one buys oil or gas from the Middle East.

Quotes of the Day

Scottish nationalists are angry because nationalism makes people angry.

Finally

Who would gainsay this?

For new readers: If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there.

Welcome to new subscribers gervasiomeicende and Highwaypay. Blimey, 4 this week already! Though not all of them will actually be reading my posts.