Graham Keeley's article from the other day, when he wittered on about how Spain winning a major soccer title seemed to have soothed internal tensions, has been outdone by Elizabeth Nash in the Independent.
According to Nash, the victory has brought into focus all the good stuff that happens in Spain, including: Zapatero's progressive politics, a drop in support for separatists in the Basque Country and Catalonia, increased reading of popular fiction, a nice hotel in the Rioja, the films of Almódovar, large olive plantations and Don Juan Carlos claiming the title 'King of Jerusalem'.
Now I thought that Keeley's article was pushing the envelope a bit, in terms of both word count and far-fetched silliness. But Nash and her friends have really upped the ante (3593 words versus Keeley's now pathetic-looking 1436).
But what about the bad side of Spain? What about the fact that domestic violence is still a major problem? That the roads are still dangerous? That inflation is much higher than is being admitted? That bizarre laws about the protection of the king are used to deny the right to protest? That 'molecular gastronomy' is about to collapse like a whale egg and pear soufflé? That massive corruption continues to plague local government? That we failed to win Eurovision, despite having an amusing song? Someone commenting at Notes From Spain refers to a state of 'crisis' in Spain… so can both versions of the story really be true?
I reckon that this whole thing has been used by various journalists as an excuse for easy copy in the balmy months of summer. Country x wins sporting event y and the stories just write themselves really. I expect there will be some stuff in the next couple of days about how it's Gordon Brown's fault that Andy Murray couldn't beat Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon.
Spain is better off than it was 10 years ago but it has a long way to go and some very difficult decisions left to make, as well as a rough economic cycle to ride out. It's not all transsexual marriage and vino tinto here, you know.