Category Archives: Site news

Comments guidance changed

A while back, I decided to ask Candide to stop commenting on this blog because I considered most of his comments to consist of trolls and the dissemination of FUD.

6 months ago, a correspondent argued that I should drop this ban. A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Candide did the same via Twitter. Since then, I’ve thought about it and concluded that while I can do whatever I want on this blog, it was quite petty and ultimately rather pointless to persist in preventing Candie from commenting.

So I’m sorry. I’ve revised my comments guidelines and will be happy to see comments from Candide, should he ever choose to grace us with his presence again.


UPDATE: A mail server issue has also been resolved. This was preventing notifications about new comments being sent. and branching out

Hello there! Long time, no see!

Over the years, this blog has evolved. At first I shared links (that’s what blogs used to be for), talked about books and music, and explored some of my innocent ideas about politics. Some time after March 2004, I felt inexorably drawn into the debate on Catalan language policy and the Catalan national question in general. And we’ve had some fun debates here. Who could forget the heady days of the Spain Herald folding, and Iberian Notes closing down? Or the excellent response I got to my ‘Some questions…’ posts?

The problem was that whenever I wrote about other topics – books, music, links, food, travel, etc – I’d get hardly any response at all. Which is pretty frustrating because of all the topics I ever write about, Catalan independence is… well, it’s not the one that interests me the most.

Over the last few months, I’ve been toying with different solutions to this problem. I decided that I’d either rebrand this blog and try to branch out into other topics of discussion, or I’d keep for Catalan politics and related topics and start another blog for stuff that everyone else in the world is interested in. I’ve gone for the latter option. is my new ‘homepage’. It’ll be about just about any topic I can think of, except Catalan and Spanish politics. It needs some maquillage pas cher design and lots more content but it’s fresh and new and exciting*. Look, it already has a short post about Martiniquan jazz!

Meanwhile, I do intend to update this place from time to time. Però, poc.

See you at the other place. Until then, adéu siau!


*OK that’s pushing it a bit.

Scratching another bad rash

I’ve adopted a new design. It’s not perfect, but neither was the last one (which I think this emulates fairly well). The new look was necessary because the previous theme I was using doesn’t support various features of the newer versions of WordPress.

There are still things to be fixed, but I’m pretty much finished tweaking the design for now. Please let me know if there’s anything particularly glaring that you don’t like about it.

It was thebadrash wot won it! Barack Obama takes US presidency

Last night, as I went to bed, the very first precints were announcing results in the US Presidential election. From small areas of eastern states, after about 12,000 votes had been counted, Obama stood at 48% while McCain had 52%. I went to bed with those numbers in my head, convinced that it was impossible for McCain to win but also allowing myself a few fleeting thoughts of just what it would mean if America rejected change for an old man clearly under the spell of the most divisive elements of a radicalising Republican party.

But I needn’t have worried. Ever since my original endorsement of Mr. Obama, in February 2007, he has achieved good results in the polls. Now, I’m not saying that part of his victory doesn’t come down to the $500m of donations he received, the huge voter registration drive or the support he received from diverse elements of the electorate. But let’s face it: there are different degrees of importance when you look at these matters. And my endorsement was one of the important ones.

Seriously though, for those of you who worry that Obama’s just not far enough from McCain and the Republicans in terms of policy: you may well be right. But the important thing here is that positivity seems to have won out against the politics of fear, which is, if nothing else, a firm rejection of everything that nasty prick Bush (and his foul team of acolytes) stood for.

Bush remains president until late January next year. He’s apparently busy signing anti-environment legislation, destruction of the environment being something close to his heart.

“Good night and good luck” – Zapatero

Zapatero closed today’s big debate with these words, after nearly two hours’ bitter argument over the state and future state of Spain.

Vital details: Rajoy’s suit looked cheap and too small; Rajoy seemed much more nervous and uncomfortable while pretending to be calm (the photocall); Zapatero seemed much more nervous during the debate and interrupted Rajoy frequently; Zapatero was, intellectually, the better arguer; Rajoy’s confidence won him points. Rajoy’s point that people ‘don’t understand macro economics’ seemed somewhat patronising and foolish.

In terms of the actual discussion, there seemed to be a roughly equal balance between who ‘won’ each point. The general opinion seems to be that this is 0-0, which is beter for Rajoy than for Zapatero.

Cuarto is reporting that Zapatero won the debate easily among males and those aged between 24-50. Women and the youngest voters were much more balanced in their tastes, though Zapatero comes out on top in every single poll.

Good luck, indeed, to the Spanish voters.


On a different, but connected note: allow me to introduce Simbolos y Senyals, a new project I’ve started. It’s all about the political posters, stickers and graffiti which many of us see on the streets of Spain. My hope is that, along with what examples I can share, readers will send in photos or documents which can be stored together to create a database and library of political campaign material used by major political parties and smaller activist groups. Please take a look and let me know what you think. Also, please feel free to contact me with any examples of such material which you’d like to share.

CiU’s man and the Mafia boss

An interesting story has been bubbling away for several months. Antoní Fernández Teixidó, a CiU member of the Catalan Parliament, failed to turn up at court the other day for a hearing into his links with Malchas Tetruashvili, an alleged Georgian mafia boss. Apparently, during an anti-mafia operation, police found a letter from Teixidó, written on official notepaper, thanking the Georgian for dinner. The mafia guy could then take that note and show people how well connected he was. It’s an old trick, but a pretty stupid one as most people don’t write a note on official notepaper to say thanks for dinner. It makes you look a bit odd. Hopefully more details on the case will emerge soon.

My favourite bit so far is some of the information surrounding Teixidó’s failure to turn up at court. Officials said that he must have known about the case because they’d sent him a telegram. A telegram! One wonders why they didn’t send the pigeons like normal.


By the way: you may have noticed some strange characters and symbols cropping up in my posts. There’s some sort of problem with my character encoding settings which I don’t currently have time to look into.