Monday, June 01, 2009

Marching Onward

There was another march on Saturday, another one to do with language. Responding to the pro-Catalan demo of three weeks back and also in the context of the pro-Catalan "Acampallengua" in Sa Pobla, the latest one expressed the desire for people to be able to choose their language, be it Castilian or Catalan. Bit by bit, demo by demo, the whole language debate is being elevated into public consciousness to a degree that begins to suggest more serious divisions in local society. While Saturday's march was said to be non-partisan, the presence of the Partido Popular gave it a political dimension, while a group of youths shouting "no to fascism and yes to Catalan" said something for how the language debate is still linked to old wounds. Separately, in an interview in yesterday's "Bulletin", the PP's Rosa Estaras stated that the "local government (i.e. the Balearic one) has gone over the top on this issue". That the two languages enjoy joint official status in the Balearics has not prevented Catalan from becoming THE language for many working in the public sector and official documentation from some town halls being issued in Catalan only.

A curiosity of this march was the fact that, though the organisers claimed that there were between 20 and 30,000 people, the police, the national and the local forces in Palma, did not issue numbers. Government sources said that the priority was security not counting people, which all seems a little odd when one considers that the police did issue figures for the pro-Catalan march (and their figures were just a bit more than a quarter of those claimed by the marchers).

To Holiday
There was an advert in "The Bulletin" over the weekend. It was for "British sales representatives". The name of the company was To Holiday. And To Holiday is? The holiday club scratch card mob. In "The Bulletin" last June was a letter from a veteran holidaymaker to Alcúdia complaining bitterly about the abuse he and his wife had been subjected to by scratch card personnel.

Interesting that it says "sales representatives" because when someone local intervened during an exchange between one of the scratch-cardists and a gullible couple, the girl said that she was not selling anything. Maybe not, so maybe the ad is just for those at the office who do the real sale. After all, the ones on the street are only interested in doing so-called market surveys. As if.

Euro elections
The Euro elections are almost upon us. It is at such times, well it is on this occasion, that recipients become "friends" to Sr. Bean. The PSOE has sent its mailshot. In English. How very thoughtful of them. And it actually makes sense for once, as in the English makes sense, even if all the words don't; if that makes sense. "Dear friend", it starts, and is bottomed - to use a term that can have other connotations - with "warm regards" and signed by José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and the lead candidate for the socialists, a certain Juan Fernanado López Aguilar. And very happy they look in the photo at the very bottom.

This is all fascinating stuff. That the PSOE has taken the time to do an English version, which the PP has not, does suggest that they are quite keen to curry favour with the Brit voter, or maybe they're desperate. However, when one gets to the actual text of what the PSOE has to say, there is one thing that stands out and requires a bit of taking to task. Talking about the economic crisis, the letter says: "The crisis was not brought about by workers, entrepreneurs or families. It was caused by the greed and lack of control over financial markets espoused by conservative politicians and policy". While not wrong, this does rather fail to mention the fact that politicians of a different political hue, i.e. the Spanish socialists, as with New Labour, were quite happy to endorse the policy.

There was another advert, one linked to the Euro elections. It was in "Euro Weekly". It was on behalf of a party called Alternativa Española. The ad was calling on "Costa Brits" to vote AES. And this party is? A far-right splinter from the PP. On the Tel Aviv University's antisemitism and racism site, there is a reference to a meeting in 2005, of "right-wing extremist and neo-fascist parties" in Vienna, one of which was AES. It was a meeting organised by the late Jörg Haider's FPÖ. The British Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan puts his name to the advert. There is some confusion as to whether the British Conservative Party has allied itself with the AES. I sincerely hope not.

Yesterday's title - Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: Today's title - not sure I expect anyone to get this, but you never know. This comes from a ragtime song by probably the most famous exponent. Who was he and the song?


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