A date at Waterloo

SUING: Puigdemont is suing a Spanish judge. Credit. Shutterstock.

CARLES PUIGDEMONT, former regional president of Cataluña, proclaimed the republic on October 27 but having talked the talk, immediately walked the walk to self-exile in Belgium.
It was like playing the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth before switching to Benny Hill’s theme tune and Spain has been trying unsuccessfully to retrieve him ever sinceillHi.
Accused of rebellion, sedition and misappropriation of public funds, he was temporarily held in Germany when returning from a conference in Denmark.
Pablo Llarena, the Spanish judge handling the case, was piqued when his German colleagues failed to recognise rebellion and sedition and said he could have Puigdemont back, but only for misappropriation.
Llarena turned down the offer and the ex-president is now ensconced in his Waterloo home.  To make things really kosher he is suing Llarena, accusing him of bias, partisanship and violating his basic rights.
The judge is known to have right-wing leanings and links to FAES, Jose Maria Aznar’s think-tank, Puigdemont’s writ points out.
After some hesitation, Pedro Sanchez’s government, which was initially prepared to arrange for the defence of the general but not personal accusations, was pushed by Spain’s judges and public prosecutors, to go the whole hog.
The expensive waste of time is now underway and it remains to be seen who, if anyone, will meet their Waterloo.
A decent burial
THE Valle de Los Caidos was ostensibly a war memorial containing the remains of 40,000 combatants from both sides who lost their lives in the Civil War.
In reality it was a paean to the man who started it all, the dictator Francisco Franco who was buried there on November 23 1975.
“A dictator should not have a State tomb in a democracy. It’s incompatible,” said the vice-president of the Spanish government, Carmen Calvo.
It has been agreed that Franco’s body will be moved and re-interred with dignity wherever his family see fit.
Which is more than can be said for the thousands of the dictator’s adversaries whose bodies were tossed into mass graves.
Tie a yellow ribbon
YELLOW ribbons in Spain have come to signify solidarity with members of Cataluña’s previous regional government who are now in prison.
The ribbons are seen principally in Cataluña but universal Catalans like Pepe Guardiola, former Barça trainer and now at Manchester City, ostentatiously displayed one until he was fined £20,000 by the FA for making a political statement on a football pitch.
Guardiola said it was worth every penny but back in Cataluñathe 50 per cent of the population who do not want independence have begun removing the ribbons.
It’s supposed to be a free country but in some towns in southern Cataluña the regional police, the Mossosd’Esquadra, have been identifying the people who are taking them away.
It’s Animal Farm again where Napoleon the pig – back to Waterloo – declared that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.  You could just as easily say that all democracies are equal but some – like Cataluña – are less equal than others.
Balls up
MATAELPINO (Madrid) has substituted bull-running with ball-running where the idea is to outrun a giant white Styrofoam ball.
Unfortunately, like Rover in The Prisoner, the ball was less than innocuous and this year a male participant suffered serious head injuries when he was crushed between the ball and the fence.
To the satisfaction of smug taurinos the Mataelpino ball-running claims casualties each year. But at least they have chosen to face a 250-kilo ball and not a terrified animal.

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