4 February 2023

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’

Cosas de España/Galicia

Domestic violence is no more prevalent in Spain than in many European countries. It may be even far less so than in, for example, England and Germany. But it’s true that it’s a major media ‘obsession’. So . . . A recent rise in murders in Spain has revived popular alarm over domestic violence.  The need to tighten protective measures has also been highlighted by official data published last week that showed that 39% of women murdered in acts of domestic violence last year had initiated legal proceedings against their attacker. Five of the 49 killed even had protective measures in place, such as restraining orders. “Machismo is still embedded in our culture. I see it at schools with boys trying to control their girlfriends. It is normalised behaviour. We still have to make changes at every level of education.” The ultra-nationalist right-wing Vox party, which became the country’s third largest force in elections in 2019, opposes the landmark law on gender violence passed in 2004, claiming it is biased against men. It has refused to sign an all-party declaration condemning violence against women, drawing outrage from civil rights groups.

Spain’s population has reached an all-time high, largely thank to an influx of foreigners. Allegedly, the most numerous are Romanians (623k), followed by Italians (274k) and Germans (115k). But these are fellow EU members, so Brits – 200k-1,000k – are excluded. The lowest presence of non-Spanish nationals are in La Rioja (412k), Melilla (12k) and Ceuta (5k). But, then, if you want to live in Spain, why move to North Africa?


The French love to hate Brexit. And to pity the Brits. So says a Frenchwoman here, amusingly.

AEP sees the EU paying a high price for a Macron pension-reform failure. Which would be ironic, given that the drive towards fiscal union is being driven by France. Meanwhile . . Says Agnès Verdier-Molinié of the French Research Institute on Public Administration: France is still stuck in its infernal equation: it is the country that taxes the most, that spends the most, and that works the least.


Germany’s intelligence agency is worrying the rest of the West.

Europe/The EU

Qatargate, the huge corruption scandal engulfing the EU seems to be of little interest to the mainstream media in the UK. Far more column inches and airtime have been devoted to the PM’s failure to wear a seatbelt than to this mega-scandal in Brussels, in which numerous members of the EU oligarchy and their friends in NGO-land stand accused of taking cash bribes from the Qatari government. The response to Qatargate makes it clear that the Remainer political class is so invested in the EU that it is prepared to minimise these extraordinary allegations of corruption. Its single-minded focus is on shielding the EU from reputational damage. The Remainer class would rather protect its own from the glare of accountability than confront the corrupting influences at work in Brussels. A corrosive double-standard is at work here.


Fentanyl deaths in the USA. Europe next? Europe has been warned that a flood of fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that has killed more than 100,000 people in the United States, is heading this way . . . Belgium is on the front line of the new drugs war, as the main entry point for narcotics arriving from Latin America, and its customs chief says that fentanyl is a bigger threat than heroin or cocaine.

Given what praise they get for just about everything else, it comes as a shock to read that the top 3 countries for drug-related deaths are all Scandinavian, with Blessed Norway leading the pack.

Quote of the Day

X is another amazing friend we’ve never met: The inimitable Ginger Whinger, Prince Harry. A whole new concept in friendship. Possibly Californian. Or just stupid.

The Way of the World

If you believe in Net Zero but have an open mind, this calmly-argued podcast should give you cause to ponder. But not, of course, if you’re a zealot armed with a quasi-religious fervour that brooks no real scientific argument.

Spanish and Galician

I cited the other day the outrageous claim that Gallego is simply mispronounced Castellano, whereas it’s one of the two sister languages of the original Galaico-Portugués which, like Castellano, descended from Latin. But yesterday – after I’d worked out this headline – I confess to wondering whether one couldn’t say it’s an abbreviated form of Castellano . . . But that would be equally wrong, of course:-

Imos sempre cun pau na man v. Vamos siempre con un palo en la mano

Did you know?

These are the names of 8 things you use every day but never knew what they were called, until now.

Finally . . .

To amuse . . .

1. 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.

2. Should you want to, the easiest way to to get my post routinely is to sign up for email subscription. As opposed to using a Bookmark or entering the URL in your browser.


  1. I think Galego is older than Castellano. And so is Astur-Leonés, from which Asturiano and the old Llionés derived. That would explain why some words are still much closer to the Latin in Galego than in Castellano. Ferro vs hierro (ferrus).


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