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Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain

Random thoughts from a Brit in the North West. Sometimes serious, sometimes not. Quite often curmudgeonly.

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 8 January 2021
08 January 2021 @ 13:25

 

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable. 

- Christopher Howse: 'A Pilgrim in Spain'*  

Covid

An excellent explanatory article from El Pais.

Very good news from The Times: An arthritis drug that cuts the risk of death for the sickest Covid-19 patients by 24% could save thousands of lives just as the NHS starts to be overwhelmed. Tocilizumab was also found to reduce the time that critically ill patients spent in intensive care by up to 10 days.

Galicia entra en la tercera ola con la incidencia creciendo a alto riesgo. Los contagios se concentran en el eje atlántico y preocupan especialmente A Coruña y Santiago. Prácticamente la mitad de los ingresados lo están en hospitales de estas áreas. Parece claro que la reunión del subcomité clínico de hoy optará por endurecer las limitaciones en ambas ciudades. 

For Spain as a whole . . El presidente de la Sociedad Española de Médicos Generales y de Familia habla claro: Es indudable que la gente le ha perdido el miedo al virus. Some will surely pay a high price for this insouciance.

Living La Vida Loca in Galicia/Spain   

Articles here and here on Spain's current (very) cold snap. Outside my front door that last few mornings it's been comparatively mild one degree above freezing. Not that you'd know this from the ice on the cars. But today the temperature had doubled, to 2 degrees. And it’s forecast to rise as high as 3 this weekend.

As the El Pais article cited above shows, Spanish newspapers are terrific at graphics/diagrams. An English friend sent me that one, stressing that the days of the UK newspapers doing it are long gone. The Times Insight team of decades ago springs to my mind.

An opinion poll published by [right-of-centre] El Mundo this week suggested that 55% of Spaniards believe the [corrupt but ailing] ex king should be allowed to return from exile to live in Spain, with 31% opposed. I imagine it'll happen in due course. Social stigma is  less a factor here in Spain than in some other countries. 

Here's María's New Year, Same Old: Day 6 and 7 

The USA

Trump possibly needs a 2 week vacation.

The country certainly needs its president to take a 2 week vacation. Followed, possibly, by another type of holiday, in clink.

The agency which exists solely to protect Congress and which let the protestors into it has an annual budget of $460m and more officers than many US cities. One wonders why. Double standards?

The Times today has reports that, watching on TV, Trump was pleased by what he was seeing. By 2 accounts he was almost enthusiastic about the violence unfolding and rebuffed pleas to deploy the National Guard. If this is true, is anyone going to be surprised? Does anyone really refute that he has amply demonstrated what he always has been? Or are there some still some so willingly blind . . .? 

The New York Times has reported that - since he lost the election - Trump has discussed with close aides issuing himself a pardon. The next non-surprise?

The Way of the World

When did it become compulsory for politicians to have their national flag behind them for every interview? Or at least two in the case of the woefully incompetent Boris Johnson. As if it compensates.

If you’re unaware of how crazy conspiracy theories can get, read the article on QAnon below.

Finally . . .

There are conspiracy theories and conspiracy theories. One of the best is that Finland doesn't exist and that the space where it's said to be is actually a huge sea in which Russian and Japanese trawlers secretly fish. Possibly started as a joke but, of course, then taken seriously in the most asinine corners of the internet.

THE ARTICLE  

QAnon cultists believe they’re in a battle between the light and darkness: David Aaronovitch, The Times

QAnon is a conspiracy theory-turned-cult whose adherents believe that there is a deep state plot run by a paedophile cult whose leaders include the Clintons and the Obamas. This plot was “revealed” online a few years ago by someone calling themselves “Q”, supposedly a security establishment insider. Q has also let it be known that there is a counterplot by freedom-loving Americans and that this is led by none other than Donald Trump. Its supporters believe that the final showdown between the forces of light and darkness is now upon us. When the world is seen through such a warped lens as this, it’s little wonder that belief in democracy, in votes cast and the rule of law have been abandoned by adherents.

Last summer, researchers estimated that online Q sites were followed by about 1.4 million people, mostly in the US. But what starts online does not always stay there, and for the past couple of years Trump and Republican rallies have featured people wearing Q merchandise and waving placards with QAnon slogans on them. Marjorie Greene of Georgia, a Q supporter, was elected to the House of Representatives in November. The former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has urged the president to declare martial law and re-run the election in some states, has embraced the conspiracy theory and has even suggested that he needs to keep on the move to avoid deep-state assassins. Donald Trump has retweeted Q supporters, as have other leading Republicans.

If you believe what Q supporters believe, then the logic leads you to justify violence. In 2016 a man showed up with an assault rifle at a pizza restaurant in Washington where online fantasists claimed that child-abuse slaves were being held captive in a (non-existent) basement. He was disarmed but there have been other incidents since then. And it appears that the pandemic has encouraged the millenarian sense of the approach of the final battle, not least among underemployed people forced to stay at home because of Covid-19. They fully believe that they are in a life-and-death struggle with evil forces — and that any act, however violent, would be justified.

Inside the Capitol on Wednesday, Angeli was not the only Q supporter. One man who chased a lone black policeman up the stairs inside the building was wearing a Q T-shirt and a woman was pictured inside the Senate chamber holding a Q placard with the legend “Justice for the Children”. It has also been reported that the woman shot dead inside the Capitol was wearing a QAnon T-shirt. Outside, protesters waved placards proclaiming that Joe Biden was a paedophile and that the Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi was Satan. This is no metaphor and this cult is no joke.

 

* A terrible book, by the way. Don't be tempted to buy it, unless you're a very religious Protestant.  



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