Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Not really much exciting news from around here. Rajoy has called another big old right-wing demo for Saturday in Madrid in opposition to the Zap government's decision to grant De Juana Chaos "second degree" prisoner status. I totally disagree with Zap's justification for his decision: that he did not want to create an ETA martyr. Yeah, great, now what you've done is turn a martyr into an ETA hero. I would much prefer him as a martyr.

Meanwhile, Zap has threatened to expose all manner of secret information about past PP negotiations with ETA while Aznar was in power. I'm not sure that's necessary, since Rajoy has said many times: that was then, and this is now, and we have learned something since then. Have you?

At the 3/11 trial, the head cops have been testifying anonymously about how they went about the business of the investigation, helping to sink the ridiculous ETA-PSOE-Bavarian Illuminati conspiracy coverup story that irresponsible elements of the right are pushing.

Comment: I met Jose from Barcepundit last night for a quick beer. We both agree that we are displeased with the PP leadership, and that we particularly cannot understand why the PP is doing so badly in the polls against the Zap administration. The Zap government is so bad, so weak, so incompetent, and Zap himself is so innocent and childish, that any competent political opposition would already have them dead and buried. If you have Barcepundit and Iberian Notes displeased with you, and you are a conservative party in Spain, you are doing something very wrong.

A couple of years ago there was bragging in some parts on the Continent about how the EU's new model of Airbus was going to really show the United States this time. Haven't heard much of that lately, as Airbus is cutting jobs all over. What an awful name, by the way. The whole point of going by air is that it beats the hell out of the bus. Why remind airline passengers of the very form of transport they're trying to avoid?

Airport comment: La Vangua and TV3 are kicking up a snit because 1) Barcelona doesn't have many intercontinental flights 2) Iberia has decided to hub out of Madrid and feed Barcelona traffic through there 3) Barcelona fears being reduced to the home of low-cost flights for cheap tourists like me and the east end of the Madrid-Barcelona air shuttle 4) All Spain's airports are managed by AENA, a state-owned company based in Madrid 5) Therefore, there must be some evil centralist Madrid plot keeping Barcelona down again.

My opinion: Of course each airport in Spain should manage itself, and that management should be in private hands. AENA should instantly be sold off, like all other state-owned companies, including Radiotelevisión Española and the EFE news agency. However, this issue isn't related to any of the airport complaints Barcelona currently has, and it's not like the locals want Barcelona airport management to be in private hands; they want it to be in the hands of the Catalan regional government, which would mean the airport would be run badly by bureaucrats speaking Catalan, instead of being run badly by bureaucrats speaking Spanish.

But the big news is the Liverpool-Barça Champions League match tonight. Liverpool beat Barça 1-2 in the first leg in the Camp Nou, and Barça needs to score two goals tonight at Anfield Road. That is not going to be easy. Liverpool is a good team. Tonight Barça has Eto'o and Messi, though, who they didn't have in the first leg. Barça is just coming off a tough away loss at Sevilla, who took over a two-point lead in first place, and on Saturday they play Real Madrid in what is always the biggest league fixture of the season, even if Barça is struggling and Madrid is sunk.

La Vanguardia gives the match a large front-page color photo, and then five full pages in the sports section. No question what they think the important story is.

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