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Friday, December 26, 2014

Goodwill to all?


Christmas Day



Well, the log was truly thwacked last night and it duly shat its presents to the waiting masses.  And you have to be Catalan to understand that sentence, but take it from me I now am.
            Not, I hasten to add, that I am any more proficient in the language and history and culture of this excellent region, but rather that I am now the proud owner of a hoodie with the numbers 1714 emblazoned on the front and an artistically sketchy conglomeration of yellow and red with a star set in blue.  In other words I am now a fully functioning Catalan Independentista.  Though I have some considerable reservations around that designation.
            It is true that given the present government which is composed entirely of self-seeking, corrupt liars and which is led by a man whom I have designated, ‘Bromo’ (an incorrect, but masculine, perversion of the Spanish word ‘broma’ which means ‘joke’) who takes every opportunity to denigrate Catalonia and the Catalans, independence seems like a wholly acceptable idea.  But I think that the future is, to put it mildly, uncertain.
            The political situation is interesting.   Podemos is the new political party which promises to change the old corrupt Spain into something new.  Their policies are interesting and they seem to be determined to promote ideas of transparency (Spain is the ONLY developed European country not to have a transparency law) and legal equality (Spain has an extraordinary number of citizens who are above the ordinary dictates of the law – Britain and Germany have, for example none.)  The real problem comes with the election next year.
            According to the opinion polls both the major political parties PP (the sort of Conservative party which makes the British version look positively wholesome and guilt free) and PSOE (the sort of Labour party which would welcome Tony Blair as a socialist radical) have suffered quite deserved losses in their possible share of the vote.  The largest political party is now Podemos which was formed less than a year ago as a direct response to the woeful lack of decency that the two main parties displayed.
            If the opinion polls are correct and the population votes in the way that they indicate then Podemos would be the largest party in parliament.  It would not, however, have an overall majority and would need to be in coalition with another party or a series of smaller parties.  PP and PSOE would, between them, be able to stymie any truly progressive policies that Podemos brought forward.  The purity of Podemos would begin to be tarnished as they coped with the very grubby reality of the art of the possible in the murky political atmosphere of this country.
            With Podemos denied a working majority, with the other parties working against it to preserve their own shoddy self-seeking goals, Podemos would soon sink under the weight of disappointed expectations.  If they managed to form a minority government, there would be a vote of no confidence forced by the other parties, a new general election would be called, Podemos would be decimated and the old hegemony of two Old Party Rule would be re-established.  The People, yet again, would be the losers and the old guard fingers in the till politicos would be comfortably back at the trough.
            These are interesting times for Spain – but don’t hold your breath for anything approaching Justice to prevail.  So, at the moment, as I type this, alone in a sleeping flat in Terrassa, I wear my independence hoodie with something like desperation, in the hope that every gesture of possible separation will focus the governments’ eyes and bring them to a realization that the policies which have worked for them since the fall of Franco (god rot him) will not work in the future if they want to secure the unity of the country.
            It will be interesting (not that I am going to listen to him) to hear what the so-called King of Spain has to say in his Christmas Message.  Just think about it.  He is on the throne because his elephant killing, philandering, financially corrupt father made one mistake too many and to save the tarnished concept of monarchy in this country he abdicated in favour of his tall son.
            There is no provision for abdication in the Constitution of this country so PP and PSOE in an unwholesome and indicative clandestine alliance made up some pseudo-constitutional form of words and gave the throne to the crown prince.  No reference was made to the people of Spain and ignoring an on-line petition which demanded that the whole concept of the monarchy be put to the people in whose name this lanky scion of the discredited Bourbons purports to reign.
            So, thanks to PP and PSOE, the previous king, financially and morally corrupt as he was and is, gets indemnity so the paternity cases against him continue not to be heard in the Spanish courts; his financial machinations continue to be impenetrable because of the complete lack of transparency in dealings with the Royal Family and he has faded into almost complete invisibility so that the untarnished bloom of the new long King is allowed to blind people to the obvious inequality and injustice that the whole system flaunts.
            The previous king, in a notorious and mendacious broadcast which has been much replayed, stated that ‘justice is the same for all’ – a laudable, if laughable statement as the king and the people who promote him are clearly above the law.  The most glaring example of injustice was the position of the Infanta.
            The Infanta (the old king’s daughter and the present king’s sister) together with her ex-sportsman husband have been accused of theft.  The presumption of innocence is difficult when the evidence that has been made public is overwhelming, but the Public Prosecutor has been a staunch ally to this beleaguered royal (! sic!) and while saying she has to pay money back (i.e. guilty) she was blinded by love and trusted her husband (i.e. innocent).  When she was (amazingly) forced to go to a closed hearing in court, her responses to questions were a few hundred variations on the ‘I don’t know’.  Anyone other than a member of the royal family would have been accused of contempt of court, but her admission of what amounts to idiocy was seen by the Public Prosecutor (i.e. the person who works on our behalf to prosecute those guilty of crimes, like the Infanta) saw only charming naivety and glowing innocence.
            Basically she got away with it.  The country fumed but could do nothing.  The judge had been overruled and the concept of ‘justice is the same for everyone’ was clearly seen as the lie that it is.
            But, and this is why the king’s broadcast will be interesting, the judge refused to be overruled and has demanded that the Infanta return to court and answer to charges that, were she to be found guilty, would carry a sentence of four years in jail.  So the king has a choice: either ignore what is happening to his family and you show your regal arrogance or make a reference and reignite the obvious lie of universal justice.  It is a no-win situation for him and his type and I am glad that he has an impossible choice to make.  Although, to be truthful, the most obvious lies and sleight of hand in this country seem to work.  Look at the number of proven thieves who still operate at the highest levels of political society in spite of the glaring light of publicity showing exactly why they are where they are!
            This is hardly the stuff to be writing on Christmas Day, but given the state of Spain, what else is there to write about?
            Well, loads if I care to think about it.  Like what we are going to have for lunch.  This is going to be a family affair with something like 16 people sitting down to the meal.  All in Toni’s sister’s house.  All participants are supposed to bring something to eat.  I have bought the booze.  Which, considering the number of people would normally be woefully inadequate.  I have bought two bottles of Cava, two bottles of red, two bottles or white and a bottle of liqueur.  I have bought no beer, or Fanta or any soft drink.  And those, I hope will be what most of the people there will be drinking.  I have bought decent bottles (i.e. about three times as much as I would normally spend) and I intend to savour it!

            So far I have done quite well on the present front.  The hoodie previously mentioned combined with quite acceptable aftershave, including the one advertised by the impossibly sculpted ex-Australian football player hefting a trophy on his naked shoulder.  I am sure that I could have made something of advert and the bottle in the shape of a silver handled cup as essential part of my Media Studies lessons in the School on the Hill.  But those days are well and truly and thankfully past and now I can merely speculate and squirt.  Which sounds a bloody sight worse than I intended when I wrote it!

            I have my art books with me and I should be drafting my TMA, but it is already the afternoon and we have to start thinking about getting ready for the Christmas Meal.  Which is in someone else’s house, which is another Christmas gift as there is not the putting away and clearing up that comes with a personal involvement of house provision!

            I have also bought a rather pesky poem with me which refuses to resolve itself into something that I can regard as acceptable.  Perhaps a different environment will give my poetic muse a kick up her refined backside and get the words working!

            Worth a try – and that goes for everything else as well.
            
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