Saturday, May 30, 2009
The one exception is when I gave a lecture to students at the Limerick School of Art. It was a lengthy talk and the end of afternoon bell went yet still my audience were wrapt with attention. A senior school lecturer told me that I had been exceptional as never before had the students stayed once the bell went and many distinguished speakers had addressed them over the years.
Later that afternoon it was a pretty pleased with himself lecturer who joined the students in the local pub. I told a group how flattered I was that they were so spellbound over my words when one of them said – “oh, I think we’d better tell you the truth.”
It transpired that I was wearing a tight red shirt and the buttons were at breaking point. The students had started a book on when the shirt would burst open and nobody was going to leave until they knew who had won the bet. Hence why I waffled ... they stayed put ... not gazing at me in wrapt attention ... but at my straining buttons which as it happened lasted the course.
So why am I telling you this? Well it transpires that Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has won a salute from former Cuban leader Fidel Castro for spending 1,536 hours over the past decade promoting his revolution on his weekly television broadcast “Alo Presidente”.
Currently Chavez is on a four-day, special edition of “Alo Presidente” to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the program, in which he has sung songs, interviewed ministers, announced policy decisions, ridden a horse and ordered tanks to the Colombian border.
Castro, who himself has made lengthy speech giving in to an art form, said that he’d calculated that Chavez has spent the equivalent of 64 complete days broadcast live on “Alo Presidente,” which he said has served as a valuable tool to “inform and educate the nation.”
I suspect being locked in for one of Castro’s speeches was bad enough but four days of Chavez? It does beg questions of both the speech giver and indeed his audience. For instance, does Chavez wear a tight red shirt?
I shall leave the last word with the Spanish King, Juan Carlos l, who at the 2007 Iberian Summit called out to Hugo Chavez - who was constantly interrupting Spanish Premier José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s speech - ¿Por qué no te callas? – Why don’t you shut up?
And so said all the Venezuela nation!
Friday, May 29, 2009
True but then Man U is a football team and not a political force.
Barcelona are the visible arm of the Catalan aspiration for nationhood and when the team scores a victory be it over Real Madrid or in Europe that arm waves the flag of the separatist movement.
I think it was appropriate that the Spanish King and Prime Minister were prominent at the match in Rome to signify, like it or not, that the Barcelona side represented all of Spain.
Fireworks were let off where I live after Barcelona’s victory and cars drove through the streets honking their horns. But then as my good friend Prospero observed in Jimena Pulse – the noise in his village would have been greater had the winners been Real Madrid.
Indeed there was much anger last summer after Spain won the European Soccer Championships and that success was ignored by many in Barcelona and wider Cataluña.
Ahead of the match in Rome Sky News presenters talked to the Barcelona fans about the encounter with Man U. After talking football nearly every fan also made the point about Cataluña and its aspiration to nationhood which was completely lost on the bemused reporter prepped for mentions of Messi or Ronaldo.
When I grew up in London many moons ago the then Real Madrid team of Di Stéfano and Puskás were the kings of Europe. However I have supported Barcelona since the days of ‘El Tel’ and the British players that followed in his wake. I adore the city of Barcelona, am proud to have been to the Camp Nou but my support is that of a Briton and I do not share in the Spanish and Catalan views – which are passionate – on this soccer and political mix.
It was the legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly who said – “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”
The proud Scot could well have been speaking for the people of Cataluña.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
During the game the Italian Premier, Silvio Berlusconi, was flanked by the Spanish King and the Spanish Prime Minister. Protocol would have only allowed that if no ranking Briton was present. So where were the members of the Royal Family and the British Prime Minister?
Now to Gibraltar which has a special relationship with Cataluña because of the latter’s desire to cede from Spain. When I was in Gibraltar yesterday I saw many Gibraltarians wearing Man U shirts – indeed there is even a team named Manchester United in the local soccer league. However Gibraltar also has a very strong Barcelona supporters club. Some years ago I reported on this club, which if I am not wrong although I frequently am, is the largest outside of Spain. So given this strong following for Man U and Barca – who did Gibraltar support last night?
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The demonstration was staged by Verdemar – Ecologistas en Acción who from the start have led the opposition to the road. For the first time all the political groups at San Roque town hall backed the protest which was strictly non-political so that it could be supported by all.
The environmental impact report (DIA) produced by the Ministry of the Environment has proposed that the motorway would be carried over the southern corner on a viaduct over 300 metres long with just one support point. It would also have acoustic panels and plants surrounding it to lessen its environmental impact.
However both the ecologists and residents want the road to be kept away from the woodland. Verdemar admits the problem is a difficult one but suggests the road should go further to the south so as to avoid the valuable water resources of La Alhaja. Ahead of the protest the Ministry of Public Works promised it would study the situation but whether that was in the hope of stalling the demonstration or is a genuine effort to find a solution only time will tell.
Local activist Ángela Aguilera addressed the crowd declaring it was important that they fought to save the Pinar for their children and future generations. She accepted that some improvements to the infrastructure were necessary but added that they should not be carried out at a cost to the Pinar or by destroying the environment – “This is not progress.”
Mary Finlay – British resident:
“As a resident of this beautiful area El Pinar, I commend Angeles the activist for her grip on the situation and can only say that it is a fight we must all support, even if we are not regular visitors. Complacency will only lead to central government riding roughshod over us - again - because this area has been used and abused for decades. This road must not go through the Pinar- even the edge- because it demonstrates their complete indifference to the inhabitants and their right to a natural park, clean air and a place which for so many is the only way of escaping high rise living - imagine the uproar in Madrid should the Dehesa de La Villa be threatened in this way. The natural consequence to this would be more urbanisation along the route, not necessarily residential either- more industrial parks, all crowding and putting more pressure on an environment that is heavy with toxic industries and lacking controls on effluents and emissions and all in the name of employment for the Campo de Gibraltar. How much more does this area have to accommodate?”
Lyana Armstrong-Emery – spokesperson Friends of the Earth, Gibraltar
So what’s your view?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Well what’s new is that the works have started on creating the new San Pablo – dare we suggest in Andrés Beffa’s image and likeness.
Andrés Beffa says the village fully support the works – the villagers mumble "no we don’t."
Where will the old men of the village huddle for shade next year? They are currently behind the rubbish bins!
Is the work being carried out by local unemployed people? – Apparently not unless you count Granada as local.
Gone are the charming orange trees –the very symbol of San Pablo’s heritage and existence.
And if you want to send a letter in protest – the post box has been sealed since March.
Meanwhile urgent projects go unfunded such as the local school, the lack of a sewage treatment plant – but hey, we’ve got a modern plaza on the way.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The Pinar del Rey is a 200 year old precious woodland that was first planted by the Spanish Navy. It covers 338 supposedly protected hectares that are home to flora and fauna and valuable water aquifers. The proposal is to build a flyover across a section of the Pinar del Rey to carry the motorway that will be used by heavy vehicles travelling to Algeciras port and the industrial zones of the bay.
Not only is the Pinar del Rey an important environmental zone it is also used as a leisure area by many thousands of people from the Campo de Gibraltar and Gibraltar itself especially during the spring and autumn months.
However even for those who have never visited the Pinar and live in the area it plays a major role in their lives. The woodland is a vital green lung in the heavily industrialized bay area – a zone that has amongst the highest number of cancer and breathing related deaths in Spain. Destroy the Pinar and you destroy the quality of the very air that you breathe.
Although the protest is organized by Verdemar – Ecologistas en Acción it is fully supported by the new Partido Popular administration at San Roque town hall but will be a strictly non-political event that can be and should be supported by all who live in the Campo de Gibraltar, Gibraltar and beyond who are deeply concerned about our environment.
So if you care about the air that you breathe the answer is simple – ¡Pinar Si – Autovía No!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Critics of this broadcaster say it is nothing more than the mouthpiece of the Andalucía government which is controlled by PSOE. The same can be said for the other regional stations that speak not for the people of Madrid, Cataluña, the Basque region and so on but for their political masters.
Spain has a highly developed commercial broadcasting system as well as its own national State broadcasting company RTVE. There are those who would argue there is no need either for RTVE (or for that matter the BBC in Britain) as a State funded entity. However for the moment let us accept that RTVE should stand.
If it does what possible justification can there be for RTVA in Andalucía? I suspect the answer is none – but PSOE wouldn’t agree with me because it is its voice to the people and not the voice of the people.
It has just been revealed that RTVA’s director general, Pablo Carrasco, earns 139,345 euros a year. That is 72 per cent more per annum than the president of the Junta de Andalucía – José Antonio Griñán – the station’s political master. Indeed it appears that 18 of the 44 directors of RTVA receive more than the person who runs the Andalucía government.
There’s more. In the first three months of 2009 RTVA lost 5.8 million euros which equates to 2.47 per cent of the Andalucía government’s budget for that period. The Partido Popular predicts this will reach 20 million by the end of the year. There is also a study underway to determine whether the Andalucía broadcaster should still accept advertising or be entirely funded by the people of the region instead.
So not only do we have a regional station whose key executives earn more than the president, ministers or delegates of Andalucía – it also eats up a good share of the region’s funding and that seems set to increase.
In a nation with a State broadcaster RTVE that covers all regions there are also numerous national commercial TV stations and more radio stations than you can shake an aerial at. Hence there can be no justification for regional stations funded by the people who speak not for them but for their political masters.
Of course there is yet another layer of broadcasting in Spain. There is hardly a municipality in the country, however small it may be, that doesn’t at least have a radio station and probably a TV station as well. These again are funded by the local people but speak for the administration. After each town hall election the defeated parties will claim, probably correctly, that the ruling party excluded them from the airwaves. Hence PSOE will bitch at the Partido Popular, the PP at PSOE, and so on and so forth depending on which municipality you are in at the time. I used to read these reports with alarm – then I rationalized it on the basis that each party probably excluded the other equally so that overall there was a perfect balance.
However the key question still remains – why should the Spanish tax payer fund the regional and town hall stations?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It makes interesting reading and I offer you this piece that describes Sir Teddy’s arrival in Parliament in 1964. No moats or duck islands here!
“A Scottish MP has to spend his week in London, travelling up only at weekends to visit his home. The salary was not too good at that time and if expensive accommodation was secured and a full-time secretary employed, there would not be much left. Nowadays, things are much easier for MPs with quite generous allowances being made available on top of salaries for accommodation in London and for the employment of secretaries, but these privileges were not available in 1964.
“So it had to be a little guesthouse in Clapham for accommodation which, as it happened, turned out to be the ideal place to live. I discovered it in an advert in The Sunday Post and the proprietors, a Mr and Mrs Fair, looked after me in the way in which you would expect a favourite aunt to do.”
I have held the view since studying the book that it should be required reading for all those who aspire to Parliament as it sets out the day-to-day life of a back bencher in great detail.
Now I also believe it should be required reading for all British voters as it describes the hard often humdrum work carried out by the majority of the nation’s elected representatives at both national and local level.
I believe some 170 MPs have had their expenses examined and published in print by the Daily Telegraph. That is a shameful figure but it still makes a large minority and doesn’t given credit to the latter day Sir Teddy Taylor’s who serve their nation and constituents with dedication and honesty.
(Teddy Boy Blue – Edward M Taylor – Kennedy & Boyd – http://www.kennedyandboyd.co.uk/)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Bibiana Aído is Spain’s minister of equality and is charged with introducing the new ‘Ley de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva y de Interrupción Voluntaria del Embarazo’. They key element of this law is the reduction of the time at which an abortion can be carried out and that women aged 16 can have an abortion without telling their parents.
What is important in such a debate is that the minister involved fully understands the facts and Aído clearly doesn’t. Indeed her ideas are an abortion as she clearly hasn’t mastered her brief.
Asked by a listener on the Cadena SER radio station whether a foetus of 13 weeks was not already a baby Aído replied: “Un ser vivo, claro, lo que no podemos hablar es de ser humano porque eso no tiene ninguna base científica”. In other words we can’t say the foetus is human because there is no scientific basis to say that.
As this statement caused immediate furore including calls for her resignation Aído quickly backed tracked issuing a statement: “No hay evidencia científica para decir que es un ser humano ni para no decirlo y me baso en el manifiesto que han elaborado los científicos.” In short science hasn’t decided whether a 13 week old foetus is human or not.
I am for contraception and the use of condoms to prevent AIDS.
I support abortion when the health or life of the mother is in danger. I can also agree to medical intervention in case of rape.
However I do not accept the use of abortion as a form of belated contraception or agree that the wishes of the would-be mother overrule the rights of the unborn child.
I also believe that Aído has missed the point. Once an egg has been fertilized the process of creating a human life has started. We all travelled that route and whilst scientists obviously disagree about when the egg develops sufficiently to become human there is no disagreement that we are interfering with a life or I should add - the right to life.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
To this day the playing of the British and anthems of other nations at international soccer matches is sadly treated with disrespect – a habit that shames us.
At rugby matches the British national anthem is usually replaced with a national song or anthem which the crowd is happy to get behind. However I suspect that rugger buggers would sing anything with a pint or two under their belts.
God Save The Queen (an uninspiring dirge) is of course the British anthem – England doesn’t seem to have one – whilst the Welsh, Scots and Irish have them a plenty.
In contrast other nations take their national anthems seriously. This I learnt at a dance in Dublin when I took to the floor and was bemused that I was on my own – yes it was the ‘The Soldier’s Song - Amhrán na bhFiann’ playing – a melodic piece but I never made that mistake again even given the amusement rather than anger of the on-looking crowd.
I raise the subject because last week during the King’s Cup – Spain’s version of the FA Cup – the crowd booed and cat-called during the performance of La Marcha Real – one of the world’s oldest anthems. This shameful event took place even though King Juan Carlos was in the crowd to present his cup to the winning team – Barcelona.
Now Juan Carlos is highly respected by the majority of Spaniards and a recent poll stated that most of his fellow countrymen and women wished him to remain on the throne rather than abdicate in favour of his son.
The key reason for the disrespect shown to the king at the match was that the two teams participating came from Cataluña and the Basque region – two areas of Spain with separatist ambitions. Hence this was a political protest at a sporting event at which the monarch – their monarch - was present.
The excellent website – Voto en Blanco – has been holding a debate on whether the King should have stayed (as he did) or walked out in disgust. I will leave it to you to form your own opinion on that matter –but to read what Voto en Blanco readers think – click here:
Monday, May 18, 2009
A spokesperson for the National Police organized crime and drugs unit (Udyco) in Málaga stated: “It is an organization of world level dedicated principally to the trafficking of drugs, to selective killings and it has a hierarchy structure amongst its integrated members, all of whom originate from Liverpool and Manchester.”
The Irish are also an important group. One of these gangs was implicated in a shooting at the start of this year. Experts say that they are also dedicated to laundering the proceeds from their activities on the coast.
The Russians have been hit hardest by judicial investigations with major arrests in the Avispa and Troika cases, the latter seeing 24people detained. Their crimes are said to include weapon and drug trafficking with links to the USA, Germany, France and Russia. Their presence on the Costa del Sol is explained by their activities in the property business.
With talk of mafias it is no surprise that the Italians feature heavily – indeed a leader of the Camorra was arrested on Sunday. So too do the Dutch who are accused of being experts in money laundering – seemingly offering this service to other criminal groups. Finally the French are in the top six with gangs from the traditional criminal stronghold of Marseilles being active here.
So why the Costa del Sol? The National Police have identified a number of reasons – the closeness of Gibraltar with its off-shore banking system, the complex nature of the urbanizations which provide good hiding places plus the excellent communications of Málaga to other locations in Europe and the wider world.
However it is not only the police who have been speaking out but also the far left Izquierda Unida party. Two of its leading lights in Málaga province, Antonio Romero and Miguel Díaz, have edited a book on organized crime on the coast – ‘Costa Nostra’.
They have identified 120 mafia gangs spread over 100 nationalities who communicate in some 80 different languages. They have based their report on data supplied by the Spanish Prosecutor General. To the reasons given by the police for the gangs’ location here they have added the closeness of the Morocco hashish market. They say they are also drawn by the idyllic climate, the large tourist market and add they operate in silence using the most advanced technologies.
The IU is convinced that only government action can fight this high level of crime that has found its way in to the town halls of Spain. “The water that maintains these fat fish is in the fiscal paradises and town planning.”
Two interesting facts highlighted in the book are that 76 per cent of the overseas investments in Andalucía come from off-shore financial locations. Also 27 per cent of all the 500 euros notes in the European Union are to be found in Andalucía – these large notes are the preferred means of money laundering.
Whilst the Spanish police and politicians are speaking out on these matters what of the British police – given that some of the major players are from the UK? Scotland Yard told me that there are over 40 police forces in the UK all of whom would operate independently. The Serious Organised Crime Agency - SOCA – which has responsibility for tackling major crime was tight lipped on operational matters but said: “Serious UK criminals who are believed to be hiding out in Spain are the targets of a joint project run by SOCA, Crimestoppers, the British Embassy, and the Spanish Authorities. Since its launch less than three years ago, Operation Captura has arrested half of Britain’s most wanted criminals living in the Costas, some within days of a public appeal. Later this year we’ll be publishing our latest most-wanted list through the British and Spanish media, and we expect more success to follow.”
It has long been presumed that British officers operate undercover on the Costa del Sol with their Spanish colleagues. It is understandable that SOCA would wish to keep their activities under warps. Given that the British gangs operating here do so at a sophisticated level it is safe to assume that whilst our police are watching them – they too are attempting to monitor the movements of the boys and girls in blue.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
On Friday evening there was a demonstration in support of the journalists at Europa Sur and other regional titles who face an uncertain future. Cuts are being made across all the titles with over 100 people so far affected.
The tactic of this media group seems to be economic death to its journalists by a thousand cuts – the old Chinese method of torture. A few professionals are booted out here, then a few there. It avoids the Grupo Joly having to comply with the Spanish labour laws of presenting an ERE redundancy agreement and thereby its economic accounts to justify the action to the Andalucía government.
I am led to believe that the titles within the Grupo Joly – Europa Sur, Diario de Cádiz, Málaga Hoy and so on - are each independent. Hence if one is profitable the company pockets that money and if another makes a loss then the journalists are let go to reduce the overhead. There is no subsiding of one title with another.
Curiously Grupo Joly has run advertisements showing how Europa Sur and Diario de Cádiz are the leading publications in this province by far – and yet their journalists live in fear of ending up on the streets. It also leaves those professionals who remain too scared to speak out in case they are suddenly shown the door as well. If there were mass sackings then there could be large scale union action but the family-run media group is too smart for that.
Of course this desperate situation not only exists within the Grupo Joly but in other newspaper operations in Spain, Britain, Ireland and beyond.
According to El Observador the Grupo Joly has benefitted the most along with Prisa from contracts handed out by the socialist Andalucía government. A contract of 213,912 euros was signed for the period from last September to December alone. Obviously PSOE is intent on protecting its friends in the media from the full impact of the financial crisis. Sadly such generosity does not extend to the working journalist.
You can check out the current situation for journalists in Britain, Ireland and Spain at these websites:
National Union of Journalist – http://www.nuj.org.uk/
FAPE – http://www.fape.es/
Friday, May 15, 2009
Obviously the move has the government’s “blessing” so why is it a private member’s bill? Quite simply because as it is deemed a matter of conscience MPs will be able to vote as their personal conviction demands – hence ruling GSD MPs do not have to support it.
Now the vote on May 18 will be on Feetham’s right to introduce the legislation and not on the bill itself. So if the MPs vote “no” then his bill will not even receive a hearing.
In the wider world the ages of consent for heterosexuals and homosexuals are more often than not the same. However Gibraltar is not the wider world and government policy on homosexuals is conservative in the extreme. For instance the government will only grant housing units to conventionally married couples and not those of the same sex.
It could be argued that as the opposition is made up of socialists and liberals then Daniel Feetham should be able to count on their support. Even if that were true – Feetham has in the past attempted to politically bugger the leader of the opposition, Joe Bossano – so there is no love lost there.
Now as Daniel Feetham is a legal eagle and I do not want to attract any writs let me explain more fully. Feetham returned to Gibraltar after being a member of New Labour in England. He joined the GSLP – a party his father had served as a minister. Then when Joe Bossano refused to make way for the young pretender Feetham quit the party and formed the Labour Party in direct opposition. It was only when that party fell flat on its face at the 2003 General Election that the now Minister for Justice dumped it and scurried over to the GSD winning his seat in 2007.
Hence it is unlikely that Feetham will receive any favours from the honourable members opposite. So what of his own party? The likelihood is that some of the MPs of the GSD have grave doubts about the legislation (and may be about Daniel Feetham too). Hence it could well be that his motion will go down in flames... leaving Daniel Feetham truly buggered.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I am English but have had the good fortune to have lived in or around San Pablo since 1979 so I hope you will allow me to speak both as “spectator” and “player”.
I have a copy of the informe about Sr. de Bringa’s plans for Calle real before me. It seems to me that Sr. Bringa is not aware of our agricultural heritage, he seems to propose a creation which would do very well in Sotogrande or suburban Miami. The little “kit” fountains tan remingeldas are particularly hard to swallow. Everybody I have spoken to dislikes the plan, the shopkeepers are not looking forward to the disruption and nobody I have spoken to sees the necessity for it.
Everybody to whom I have spoken has his own personal plan for improvements in San Pablo - most involve the school - but I would like to present a couple of projects which I think a better long term use of public money. One of the plans uses a great deal less than the Calle Real plan and the other, a great deal more.
Unless I am very much mistaken household waste, including aguas fecales, from the South side of the village is sent directly into the Guadiaro; indeed until recently my own waste tipped out there. I am surprised that a village which still sends raw sewage into the river has 193.449,47 euros to spend upon cosmetics, I do very much hope I have got it wrong and misunderstand and that there is a depuradora somewhere of which I know nothing? Certainly the little flowerbeds in the centre of town could be rebuilt, but I am not alone in feeling that things need go no further; extra money we appear to have would surely be better spent on protection of our lovely surroundings, the health of our river and of our own. The Calle Real plan money could be saved up and put towards drainage.
Another project which I feel should take precedence over the Calle Real plan and could be undertaken this autumn. A double row of mixed trees - or even a small wood - could be planted to shield our eyes from the sad wound on the hillside between San P and Jimena, I speak of course of the so called Golf Alcornocales. Enough trees of a sufficient age could be purchased, planted, staked and irrigated for between 3 and 4 thousand euros, benefitting the wildlife greatly, helping to stop erosion and beautifying the general scene. We are extremely fortunate in San Pablo in that we can boast two eminent resident naturalists, Fede Sanchez and Martin Jacoby, I feel sure they would wish to advise on species.
San Pablo is such a lovely community, such friendliness and grace; even the children are charming! The Town Hall is so accessible and provides so much; the cultural organisation is particularly admirable. The Monday market is a delight. We love the wonderful new gymnastic toys along the entrance. The administration of the irrigation canal and the stream is very impressive; that dead sheep was removed in a matter of hours …. even the boy in his horrid black boombox car seems to have quietened down a bit! We do not need a great upheaval in the centre of town, I do not think that the grace and simplicity of the original plan for the village can be bettered.
Thank you very much indeed for taking the time to read this.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Este acto simbólico coincide con la llegada a Alcalá de uno de los autobuses de DAV que están recorriendo las Principales ciudades de España informando y concienciando a los ciudadanos. El objetivo es demostrarle a la ministra que muchos de sus paisanos no quieren ser cómplices en el atropello y barbarie que establecerá esta reforma legal de aprobarse.
El proyecto de ley pretende convertir el delito de aborto en derecho hasta los tres meses y medio con un plazo arbitrario y ajeno a la verdad científica, y que las niñas de 16 años puedan abortar a espaldas de sus padres, para que la industria abortista siga matando niños inocentes y lucrándose, con el drama de la mujer y lesionando su salud reproductiva y mental.
La previsión es que el acto de protesta se prolongue desde las 10:00 hasta las 18:00 del 16 de mayo, sábado, en el paseo La Playa de Alcalá. La presentación del Acto será a las 12:30 estando confirmada la presencia de IGNACIO ARSUAGA, FUNDADOR Y PRESIDENTE DE HAZTEOIR.ORG. Siguiendo la tónica de nuestros actos, celebraremos una gran fiesta familiar, en la que los voluntarios de DAV estarán repartiendo folletos y trípticos con información en materia de defensa de la Vida, alternativas y soluciones al aborto.
Queremos invitar a toda la ciudadanía que quiera adherirse a pasar un magnifico y reivindicativo sábado en uno de los pueblos más típicos y hospitalarios de la Provincia de Cádiz.
The Spanish minister for equality, Bibiana Aído, was born in the village of Alcalá de los Gazules. She is now charged with introducing the government’s new and controversial abortion law but it appears many of her fellow villagers are opposing the move.
This Saturday, May 16, campaigners against the abortion law will be holding a family protest in Alcalá from 10.00 to 18.00 and at 12.30 the president of Hazteoir.Org – Ignacio Arsuaga - will speak. Not only will local people be taking part but campaigners against the law from throughout the province. Indeed it is ironic that Cádiz province has more groups against the legislation than anywhere else in Spain outside of Madrid.
Up till now Bibiana Aído has shown no signs of listening. Hence it is aimed to bring home to Aído that many of her fellow Gaditanos do not support the proposed law. A bus will be stationed in Alcalá on the day of the protest and will make a tour of major towns in the province ahead of the event.
If you do not support the new law – or want to learn more visit: http://www.hazteoir.org/
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Hence they can now vote for the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and so on. Whilst the GSLP has links to Labour and the Liberals to the Lib Dems there is no Conservative Party on the Rock.
In recent weeks Tory Grandee Michael Ancram and the party’s deputy leader, William Hague, have travelled to Gibraltar to press the flesh.
Now Gibraltarians read British newspapers, listen to the BBC News on radio and can access via satellite British TV so they are just as aware as anybody else of the furore surrounding the MPs expenses scandal.
They might be intrigued to know that Michael Ancram reportedly claimed for the maintenance of his swimming whilst Douglas Hogg, a former Agriculture Secretary, is said to have spent more than £2,000 clearing the moat on his Lincolnshire estate shown which dates back to the 14 th century. Is this the party they should be voting for?
Few Gibraltarians enjoy the luxury of a pool and even the ‘muy señorito’ – ‘little lordling’ chief minister, Peter Caruana, has not installed a moat around his Gibraltar apartment home – even though he might find the prospect very attractive.
True Labour had their hands in the trough too but the British Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, was caught charging for a sink plug and sex movies for her husband – at least those purchases would resonate with many Gibraltarians. But a moat?
So will Gibraltarians vote Tory? It’s a moat point!
(The moat shown in the photo is Hever Castle).
Monday, May 11, 2009
It was Mrs T who refused to revise the salaries of MPs so they received proper remuneration. As time passed by she and other Prime Ministers refused to grasp the nettle but increased the expenses that MPs could claim as a form of compensation for the low pay.
We and MPs are now paying the price – because whilst many politicians have been caught lining their pockets at the tax payers’ expense it is our very system of democracy that is taking a battering.
Tinkering with the various allowances will not solve the problem.
The British public have to accept that its politicians deserve a fair days wage for their work. That will mean that in these times of economic restraint they will have to receive very large pay increases indeed.
However - out of the window should go all the expense claims and perks that currently go with the job. The pay rise may make many wince but when the sums are added up we will be quids in.
One other provision is required too: in future decisions over MPs pay and what they can receive in allowances should be taken out of their hands and placed with an independent body.
I do believe that the majority of MPs are hard working and honest. The sleazebags must not be allowed to plead “it’s within the rules”. Once their package is regularised those who break the law should end up in prison.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
I have a completely open mind as to what happened on that fateful night. I am yet to be convinced that her parents are innocent or guilty. I suspect that we will never know the truth of what took place until such time as Madeleine, dead or alive, is found and a case comes to trial.
For the sake of this blog I will presume the McCanns innocence.
The parents have stated their belief, indeed hope, that Madeleine is still alive and will be returned to them. Any parent can understand that hope and conviction.
If Madeleine was abducted then the most likely scenario is that she was taken by a paedophile or a ring of child sex offenders. Therefore you do not need an active imagination to comprehend what the poor mite would have been subjected to over the last 24 months... or what lies before her in the future. It is also possible that between drugs and brain washing she no longer knows who she is.
That being so - do we still hope that she is alive?
For the parents they face a life sentence anyway. Even if Madeleine is found alive and well they live in the knowledge that had they not left her alone with her younger twin brothers whilst they dined in a nearby restaurant she’d probably be in their midst today.
Without doubt a life and death tragedy.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
BreakPoint Commentary - January 21, 2000 By Charles W. Colson
It is said that because she is pregnant she will escape that fate.
She was arrested in August and is five-months pregnant so you do not have to be a mathematician, which I am not, to be able to work out that she entered that state whilst in jail.
As she and her lawyers have not cried rape – I presume her becoming pregnant was love or lust behind bars – or perhaps a cynical attempt to escape the firing squad.
I agree the 20-year-old must have a fair trial and access to a legal team.
If she is innocent – then she should go free in to the arms of her distraught mother in Dublin.
If she is guilty – then they should lock her up and throw away the key.
No death sentence and I say that in the full knowledge that the 1.5 lbs of heroin she is accused of smuggling would have spelt a death sentence – sooner or later – for an addict or addicts.
"I think it’s right that we uphold those standards, that’s the basis on which we make decisions about unacceptable behaviour.”
Not my words but those of Jacqui Smith – the British Home Secretary.
This is the woman who has cheated the British tax payer out of thousands of pounds through her expenses, even charged for a sink plug and her husband’s sex movies. She is also responsible for the debacle over the Ghurkhas – well the list goes on and on.
So when the British public makes a decision about unacceptable behaviour she’ll be out on her ear. Needless to say Gormless Brown says she is doing a good job!
By the by Ms Smith made the comments after banning US shock jock Michael Savage from entering the UK. Have to admit that before now I have never heard of him – and have never listened to his show – which I doubt Ms Smith has either.
Should he be banned from Britain? Savage is not to my taste but to put him on any banned list let alone the “16 least wanted” is ridiculous – but then so is Ms Smith.
There was a time when Britain was the home of free speech. Ms Smith shames us – but there is nothing new there!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Both Britain and Spain are led by socialist governments and both have been battered by the economic crisis. True Spain hasn’t seen the collapse of its banking sector, indeed Banco Santander has ridden to the rescue of several British financial institutions, but it has seen record unemployment.
The marked difference is that whilst Gordon Brown has lagged badly in the opinion polls in the UK since well before the financial meltdown his counterpart in Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has stayed ahead of the game and it is only now that the opposition Partido Popular has nudged ahead.
I say nudged because according to the findings of an opinion poll published by El País on Sunday if a general election were held now the Partido Popular would triumph. Perhaps triumph is too strong a word –scrape home more like.
The PP has a 1.2 per cent lead over the governing PSOE. The poll by Metroscopia puts the PP on 40.8 per cent and the socialist government on 39.6. Within the margins of such things that’s neck and neck.
The results do show worrying signs for both the premier and leader of the opposition. Whilst 49 per cent do not approve of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s management of the country 60 per cent give the PP leader Mariano Rajoy the thumbs down for his handling of his party and his opposition post.
Indeed the PP has been riddled with division, is embroiled in scandal and yes it is led by Pappa Smurf. Given Rajoy’s poor standing with the public one has to ask - if the party had a more effective leader would it be faring better in the polls?
By the by of those questioned 81 per cent perceived the economic crisis as being bad or very bad – but only 19 per cent said the situation in their family was bad or very bad.
The June Euro elections could well cast the dye for both Brown and Rajoy.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Please read before viewing picture - it's worth it!
A picture began circulating in November. It should be ‘The Picture of the Year,’ or perhaps, ‘Picture of the Decade.’ It won't be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the US paper which published it, you probably would never have seen it.
The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by surgeon named Joseph Bruner.
The baby was diagnosed with Spina Bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother's womb. Little Samuel's mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta She knew of Dr. Bruner's remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville , he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.
During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. As Dr.Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's finger. Dr Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile.
The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, 'Hand of Hope.' The text explaining the picture begins, 'The tiny hand of 21-week- old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother's uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life.'
Little Samuel's mother said they 'wept for days' when they saw the picture. She said: ‘The photo reminds us pregnancy isn't about disability or an illness, it's about a little person.’ Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 percent successful.
Now see the actual picture - and how awesome and completely incredible it is.... pass it on. The world needs to see this one!
Monday, May 4, 2009
Those are the conclusions of the Fundación FAES over which presides José María Aznar, the former centre right Partido Popular prime minister of Spain.
In the latest edition of the FAES publication, ‘Cuadernos de pensamiento político’, the political law professor, Manuel Ramírez, stated in an article that the Franco authoritarian regime was not a fixed state without changes or variations.
In the article entitled ‘Hace setenta años. El regimen politico y su mentalidad’ – published to coincide with the 70 th anniversary of the end of the Spanish Civil War – Ramírez stated that Franco had no ideological base. He argues that at that stage in Spanish history there was no strong ideology as was the case in Hitler’s Germany or Mussolini’s Italy.
Ramírez backs that claim by pointing out that with the death of Franco his regime died with him. He also points to two phases in the Franco regime – the first from the end of the Civil War to 1945 when he paid lip service to the Falange but without accepting the ideas of its founder, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, in their totality. This was followed by a Catholic-Empire phase.
Certainly Franco’s regime was authoritarian, during the Civil War and post war period it slaughtered men, women and children and without doubt thousands of innocent people were oppressed. But was it fascist? Well I believe the saying goes – If it walks like a pig, and talks like a pig, the chances are - it is a pig.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Día Internacional de la Libertad de Prensa
FAPE reclama el justo reconocimiento del valor del trabajo periodístico
Las regularizaciones de empleo maltratan la indispensable calidad de los productos informativos y descapitalizan profesionalmente los medios de comunicación
MADRID, 30 DE ABRIL DE 2009.
Con motivo del Día Internacional de la Libertad de Prensa que se celebra el próximo 3 de mayo, la Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas de España (FAPE) hace un llamamiento al conjunto de la sociedad para que reconozca el justo valor del trabajo periodístico.
Las asociaciones federadas y vinculadas a FAPE recordamos en esta fecha que la información es un derecho de la ciudadanía, al tiempo que una obligación para el periodista, al que le ha sido encomendado este ejercicio a través de los medios de comunicación. Como administrador de este precepto constitucional, el periodista está comprometido con la verdad, el rigor, el respeto a las personas y el cumplimiento del código deontológico profesional.
El trabajo de los profesionales de la información es condición indispensable para asegurar la pluralidad y el ejercicio inexcusable de una democracia representativa. Subestimar esa labor, su calado en la sociedad, es poner en cuestión su papel en un sistema democrático de valores.
Cuando celebramos una efeméride que ensalza la independencia del ejercicio profesional, tenemos que prestar mayor atención si cabe a la precariedad laboral y a la destrucción de empleo, convertidos hoy en los principales enemigos de la libertad de prensa de las sociedades democráticas.
El derecho de la ciudadanía a la información se resiente cuando el empleo de los periodistas está en peligro o a merced de intereses espurios, apegados a la economía o el poder, cuando las plantillas de los medios de comunicación adelgazan drásticamente y sobrecargan con tareas, muchas veces impropias y poco dignas, a los pocos compañeros que quedan en las redacciones. En definitiva, cuando la amenaza del desempleo se cierne sobre los profesionales de la información.
Por eso, la FAPE llama a todos los agentes sociales a potenciar y respetar la labor de los periodistas.
- A las administraciones les pedimos que no permitan la competencia desleal y confíen su comunicación a periodistas.
- A las empresas públicas, que sean ejemplares en el respeto a los profesionales, establezcan unas condiciones laborales dignas y hagan una justa valoración de su trabajo con remuneraciones y tarifas respetables.
- A las empresas periodísticas, que padecen el azote de la crisis financiera y tecnológica, les corresponde apostar ahora por la calidad y el buen periodismo, como única receta válida para salir de las dificultades que atraviesan.
- A la ciudadanía, la invitamos a mantener una actitud activa en defensa del derecho a la información y la vigilancia de la libertad de prensa.
Las organizaciones profesionales estamos convencidas de que fórmulas como el mal llamado “periodismo ciudadano”, extendido entre los medios de comunicación españoles para abaratar costes, fomentan la precariedad de la información y confunden a la ciudadanía. Las noticias elaboradas por espontáneos privan a la sociedad de la información rigurosa, contrastada y trabajada en profundidad a la que están obligados los periodistas. Es, por lo tanto, una rechazable competencia desleal.
Insistimos en que las regulaciones de empleo injustificadas son el máximo exponente del desprecio a los periodistas, maltratan la indispensable calidad de los productos informativos y descapitalizan profesionalmente a las empresas.
Desde la FAPE, creemos que el Estatuto del Periodismo es la respuesta apropiada para resolver buena parte de los problemas que actualmente aquejan a la profesión. Por eso impulsaremos la aprobación este instrumento regulador que ponga en valor la calidad de nuestro trabajo, establezca unas normas claras de la profesión y garantice la aplicación deontología del periodismo.
El Día Internacional de Libertad de Prensa es una jornada para defender una democracia de calidad sometida al control y la crítica.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Today I bring you the actual recipe which, being of simple ingredients, you might like to try for yourself.
I have read that the use of these basic ingredients goes back to the times of siege – or of course it could be it was just what poor people had to hand, a Llanito Yorkshire Pudding. I have also seen recipes where an egg or a pinch of cumin are added.
250g chick pea flour
1 litre water
salt & pepper
Mix chickpea flour, water and salt/pepper in a bowl. Leave to stand. Preheat oven to 175C. Take a tin 15x23cms or oven dish. Put enough oil to cover the bottom. Heat in oven. When hot, spread oil over the sides of tin with a pastry brush or by tilting. Stir mixture, pour immediately into tin then put back in the oven for about an hour (until it is set in the middle). Will serve two or three people.
Of course whilst you are munching on your Calentita you might like to read the hilarious Calentita column (in Llanito). Just click on the Panorama on the links section on the right.