After the second wave, how about a second Transition?

In the summer, I interviewed Pablo Iglesias and most of what he told me did not come as a great surprise. The deputy prime minister’s insistence that the right were now locked out of government for “decades” by Podemos’s coalition with the Socialists seemed somewhat exaggerated but hardly off-message. His welcoming of Angela Merkel’s approach […]

‘Robinson’

When I was an English-language teaching assistant in a small town in Castilla-La Mancha in the 1990s, one of the first things students would ask me was: “Do you know Robinson?”. It took me a while to find out that Michael Robinson was an English ex-footballer who had made a living for himself as a […]

The blame game

“Mr Sánchez, you only care about power and we only care about Spain.” – Pablo Casado. Another crisis hits Spain and once again the country’s political class responds not with unity, statesmanship and deliberation but with tribalism, conspiracy theories and the airing of old grudges. When Pablo Casado, leader of the main opposition Partido Popular […]

The many lives of Jorge Semprún

“…I believe ardently that real memory, not historical and documentary memory but living memory, will be perpetuated only through literature. Because literature alone is capable of reinventing and regenerating truth.” – Jorge Semprún. In the early 1940s, as Spain settled into a period of grim dictatorship, one of its exiled citizens was embarking on a […]

How to win

In a culture so often dominated not just by winning, but also those other prized skills of ‘owning’, trolling and tooting your own horn, it’s refreshing to find a radically different mindset. I was recently lucky enough to visit Donostia, where eight locals were competing in the Gipuzkoa provincial final of Berstolarismo. Bertsolarismo is an […]

Mateo

I have known Mateo since he was born. Now a bass-playing, Beatles-loving, comic-reading, basketball-playing 16-year-old, you could not meet a more charming teen. Recently, he underwent a six-hour operation to help improve his balance and mobility, which have been affected by cerebral palsy, and having come through his op with flying colours and world-class positivity, […]

1-O

Like moths to the light, we journalists tend to get drawn towards the dramatic. In the case of politics that can mean dwelling on the extremes: the colourful, the freaky, the radicals. But there are also, of course, characters and opinions that are less eye-catching yet equally important. Catalonia’s on-going crisis has been so relentlessly […]