Saturday, 10 November 2007

Time is a scarce resource

Regular readers will have noticed that I have been not very active of late. There are a variety of reasons:

+ Work: the credit liquidity squeeze and the return of volatility have resulted in longer hours at work.
+ Studies: the MBA thesis on credit default swaps is also taking longer that expected. Final deadline (I have already had a couple of extensions…) is 7 December 2007, so not a lot of time left.
+ Commuting: normally I drive from the outskirts of Glasgow to Edinburgh. This month, however I am trying to commute by train. Next year, if/when I have more time, I will write about public transport provision in the UK.
+ Too much to write about: frankly, there is too much happening. I feel overwhelmed with developments in Scottish/British politics and Catalan/Spanish politics. Where should I start. Thus, I feel easier to reply to other people’s blogs, even if they are slightly bonkers. Hello John and Trevor.

If all that was not enough, to be brutally honest, the few spare hours I have I’d rather spend them with my gorgeous, lovely, pretty and extremely patient girlfriend.

It has been a few interesting weeks. I have been accused of being both “obviously right-wing” and a “far-leftist” by Iberian Notes because of this post. Iberian Notes is a blog by a north American expat living in Barcelona which regurgitates the same bile and hatred towards Catalonia and its sense of nationhood and cultural, social and political identity as the most vicious and aggressive Spanish nationalist portals like Libertad Digital. Well it seems the guy used to work for them so no surprises there.

What I did not expect when I set up this blog (in September 2003 no less) is that I would be quoted out of context by El País newspaper: (Spanish)

The post the article is referring is this one: It’s time. I notice the journalist cites the comment left by Ox, but not my reply with web links, or Ox’s lack of counter-reply. I will dedicate another post to this article next week.

In any case, for the benefit of Mr Delclós and Ox, I did not equate political independence to a complete assurance of improving life expectancy; rather, the crux of the post, for anyone that wants to read it properly, is that +50 years of Labour rule in Glasgow has failed to address this and many other social issues, that a change in policy is required and that only the SNP can provide the cathartic change Scotland so much needs.

Can anyone argue back that keeping Labour in power will resolve the many social issues we face in the west of Scotland when they have proved to be incapable of doing so in +50 years?


trevor said...

If I promise not to be rude about you any longer, will you tell me if LaCaixa has any serious provision in place for bad property debt?

Another explanation for the woes of Scotland is that smart Scots have tended to go and work somewhere where it isn't bloody freezing all year.

Phil said...


do you still have time to read the news? According to a recent poll by the Bertelsmann foundation 72.8% of catalans identify themselves being part of Spain:

That of course doesn't say, they don't feel being catalans. I'm swabian, thus I feel being german, my girlfriend is lombardian and feels italian, one thing doesn't exclude the other. Do you understand? Can you live with that?

If you can't stop posting how much you hate Spain and everybody feeling spanish, you should go to a psychotherapist - you suffer from a severe reality sensory disorder.

I commented the same on your buddy Miquel's blog (1000 reasons etc), but he didn't publish my comment yet. Maybe it's too much truth for him.

Petons, Phil

Roger said...

Well, the Catalonophobe Phil is back and is writing more nonsense than before.

Phil, Swabia is a region of Germany. Lombardia is a region of Italy.

Catalonia is a nation with its own distinct language, culture and sense of nationhood. Do you understand the difference between a region and a nation?

Sure, the two things (Catalonia and Spain) could be compatible, if only Spain would allow us to be Catalan inside a multinational and multilingual state, just like Canada does with Quebec or Scotland within the UK.

However, Spain has the objective to denigrate Catalan nationhood, culture and language so that it becomes a folkloric thing.

We don’t want this to happen. Can you understand this truth or your anti-Catalan prejudice clouds your judgement?

It is always interesting how the enemies of Catalonia always try to downplay and denigrate our national identity by comparing it to regions of other states. You see their point: they would like Catalonia to be just like Swabia or Lombardia but we are not. We have our own national identity and culture to celebrate and as long as the Spanish state tries to eradicate Catalan culture from our land, we shall keep fighting so we don’t end up like Brittany in France, which is what people like you want.

By the way, the article from Telenoticies is quite doctored. The PSC-PSOE really pulls the strings there.

Perhaps you want to read this one so your narrow minded prejudice is challenged with facts:

You see, there are many polls and many surveys around, and they all point in the same direction: because the Spanish state is hostile to Catalonia, more people are joining the pro-independence or federalist camp every day.

Can you handle that?

Phil said...

Aha, Robert's personal snarling Dobermann is back as well, barking at everyone, who dares to have another opinion.

Roger, I don't know what kind of books or newspapers you read, but Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain, and hence part of Spain, like Andalucia, Galicia, Euskadi etc. The poll I mentioned simply reflects what the *majority* of catalans feel to be, regardless of some hatred-filled anti-spanish blogs out there in the blogosphere. Even more, catalans clearly voted on 1978 for the current constitution. I think, that's called democracy, isn't it?

Yes, I'm Swabian. Germans from the north don't understand at first our language, since it's pretty different as well from standard German. Maybe there are even more differences between Swabia and Germany, than between Catalonia and Spain, but we respect each other, guess that's what makes the difference between Germany and Spain (including Catalonia).

No one in Spain is trying to "exterminate" catalan, basque or galician culture/language nowadays. Franco is dead. Since the current government took the lead, more autonomy than ever was transferred to the spanish autonomous communities and more people than ever speak and write the before mentioned languages.

And I don't think the article is "doctored". Did you see how it was written? They emphasize on the part that does *not* feel being part of Spain. Isn't that manipulation? And sorry again, every poll out there I see, states the same, a majority of catalans feel being spanish, because they are catalans.


Rab said...

Trevor: I will post something about the markets around Christmas.

I will try to answer your question about La Caixa and other Spanish banks. Even if you are a bit of a revisionist eejit, it is still a valid point -albeit not the correct technical question.

Rab said...


As ever, whenever one lacks any coherent argument the easiest thing is to resort to personal insults without answering the points raised, as you have done in your reply to Roger. Then you complain when Roger writes abuse at you as he did in a previous post.

First, what you refuse to accept is that Catalonia is not just a region as you put it. Otherwise, how do you explain that 50% of the elected representatives of Catalan people represent parties who pursue a different relationship with Spain? (I leave the neo-communist of IC-V aside even if they advocate for a federal state and the PSC-PSOE even if the claim to pursue some kind of federalism. In no other "region" in Europe, there is such a big proportion of the population who is unhappy with the status quo. It only happens in stateless nation like Catalonia, the Basque Country, Scotland, etc.
This is a truth that you need to accept otherwise you are just refusing to accept reality. That looks a bit a problem to me.

Second, I absolutely reject your unsubstantiated accusation that I hate Spain. As I very clearly articulated in this reply to Neil. (comment posted on 28 Aug 02:29 )

Like Neil, you seem to be obsessed with Catalan politics and are deeply prejudiced in your views about what Catalonia is and should be. You are opposed to any progress for Catalonia in political, economic or cultural terms unless is wholly dependant on being part of Spain. To me this looks a bit pathological and I would recommend you do you some soul searching and find out the reasons of your deep seated hatred against anything that results in the advancement of Catalonia.

I don’t hate the country of my parents’ birth. What puzzles me however is your pathological obsession with Catalan politics and your hatred against anyone and anything that pursues policies towards:
- Further political recognition of Catalonia, in terms of independence or just further devolution within Spain.
- Legal equality and European recognition for Catalan language. A language, lest not forget, spoken by over 7m people.
- A decent and fair settlement for Catalonia in terms of economic funding so that the outrageous 12-15% fiscal deficit, without precedent in Europe, is at least returned to the historical 5-7% average. If we have to subsidise the rest of Spain, at least enough should be left to ensure enough infrastructure and investment in Catalonia so that the solidarity quote with Spain is not threatened.

It looks to me that you are the one with a paranoid hatred against Catalonia so take your own advice thank you very much.

As for your, again, unsubstantiated comment about Miquel’s blog, you still have not replied to his
question. Perhaps it was too much for you…

Third, you say that nobody is trying to exterminate Catalan culture but how do you explain that Irish Gaelic is an official language of the EU, yet Catalan, with over 7m speakers is not. Simply because the Spanish State does not want it to happen.
How do you explain that Catalan TV (TV3) is being banned from Valencia. How do you explain that Spanish and Catalan are not treated equally in Spanish Law. Spanish is mandatory for EVERYBODY yet Catalan is optional even for people living in Catalonia who refuse to learn the language after 30 years and still complain.
How do you explain this, this, this and, this.

These are all examples of violence against Catalan speakers that you simply choose to ignore. Or get the latest one. These two people were judged and sentenced by a Judge that refused them a Catalan- Spanish translator. Is this a fair trial and a safe conviction? Is Spain really a normal, advanced, forward-thinking democracy?

In another example of how you just don’t like to accept reality, this is the link, again to the post you have chosen to ignore (in English) and the link to the original survey so you can see the results for yourself.

Finally, you refuse to acknowledge something that all surveys coincide: every new survey conducted, there are more people who choose independence or federalism. The status quo is simply not an option for a GROWING number of people.

I copy and paste the latest surveys on this subject by the CIS, the Spanish government stats office:
+ 1999:
Only Spanish - 9.3%
More Spanish than Catalan - 6.5%
Equal Spanish and Catalan - 45.2%
More Catalan than Spanish - 23%
Only Catalan - 13.6%

+ 2006:
Only Spanish - 6.6%
More Spanish than Catalan - 5.4%
Equal Spanish and Catalan - 40.6%
More Catalan than Spanish - 27.8%
Only Catalan - 17.5%

I am sure you are smart enough to interpret the change between 1999 and 2006, and the latest survey you quote.

But now that I have written all this I realise that the answer to your tiresome point is in the very fact that we keep arguing about it. Try to answer this:

If Catalonia or the Basque Country are so much like any other "region" of Spain, how do you explain that approximately 30% of the Catalan public declare themselves non-Spanish? Does this happen somewhere else in Spain like Andalucia or La Rioja?
Exactly, it doesn’t happen because Catalonia is not just an administrative region of Spain as you would make us believe.

That is the reality of politics in Catalonia, Phil, not your repetitive unsubstantiated allegations which defy reality.

Good night.

locale said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phil said...

Robert, you just don't get it. Your hatred against everybody and everything, that is not 100% catalanist like the people who sent the bullet picture to Albert Rivera, makes you blind. Maybe that's why you fail again and again your exams.

If you take the people who feel catalan as well as spanish - with some nuances - it's a vast majority of nearly 75% (!). You should respect that.

You belong to an extremist nationalist-socialist minority that hates everything remotely reminding you of everything non-catalan. I thought Europe had overcome that disease already, but it seems that certain regions south of the Pyrenees go still backwards.


Carles said...

The difference is that Rab/Robert? provides links of examples of actual deaths of Catalan people and actual violent attacks against Catalan people, but you don’t say anything about that. Do you?
The only extremists here is youself, and your profund hate against Catalonia and Catalan people.
Why don’t you say something about the links that Rab-Robert provides?
Because you are anti-Catalan, that’s why.

PD: apologies for my English, I hope people can read it and understand what I am saying.

ian llorens said...

The logo of your blog is much worse than any of Rab's rethoric. I am a Catalan nationalist and I feel personally offended by your blog, even if it is still blank. I go to Swebia very often and I hear a lot of complaining talk about Eastern Germany and also some nasty things about Bavaria, but I would never generalize these isolated things and start a blog with the logo of a bleeding, bullet pierced Angela Merkel.

You are offensive to me and to many Catalans and I would kindly ask you to devote your time to more fruitful things and leave us alone.


Phil said...


I'm sorry, that you feel offended by my profile's picture. It simply represents the indoctrinated hatred and result of long-standing incitement and teaching against everything non-catalan or non-nationalist thinking in Catalonia. Please complain to JERC, not to me. Thanks/gràcies.


Do you know Albert Boadella? He's a catalan writer and intellectual, who was in prison during the Franco era because of his liberal thinking. He recently "left" Catalonia since Catalonia with its asphyxiant nationalism has become even worse than Franco's Spain. Guess that sums it up very well. Think about that:

Sorry for holding a mirror against your face, guys. But internet doesn't only belong to you.

bona nit

ian llorens said...

I do not think that the JERC could give many lessons of cruelty, violence and human right violation to your compatriots.

Maybe you can put this pic in your next blog (and unfortunately it is not a photo-montage like the JERC's one, that by the way, I fully condemn):

And Boadella, some people come and other go, that's life. Personally I do not need anyone holding the mirror for me, I have my own eyes and my own judgement, but everyone is free to do whatever he/she wants and it you find pleasure inciting hatred against Catalan people, good luck to you, but have you checked out other more noble causes, peace in Palestine, hunger in Africa, AIDS, etc.

Phil said...

bon dia Ian

Well, it's a free world and I can freely choose what to write about, so I chose the manipulatory hatred of some catalan bloggers against everything and everybody spanish because it's geographically closer.

Peace in Palestine, hunger in Africa.. hmm... not bad... how about nuclear weapons made in U.S.A. or the addiction to oil of your new home country with all its consequences, e.g. the Iraq invasion? All freely and bravely supported with your tax money.


ian llorens said...

Thanks for bringing up the point.
Thanks to my countrymen, the Americans, I speak German by choice and not by imposition. Had not they intervene is WW II, the kids of Montilla would not be the only Catalans to learn in German today.

And let me remind you that the nukes were quickly developed to protect the free world from the Germans (and Japanese) with the help of Germans that you beleived did not belong to this world and you wanted to shortcircuit their passage to eternity.

I am not in favor ot the Irak war either, although I did not drop any tear when they caught Saddam, who resembled Hitler in many aspects. But we are a democratic country and next November, we will cast our votes and decide whether we want to change the course.

And finally, regarding taxes, no matter what your income is, I bet that I pay less taxes as a percentage than you, although I have to admit that the exchange rate is killing me.


ian llorens said...

And Phil, if you pride yourself of having a fair and balanced approach, why don't you show the other side:

Rovira al paredon

Carod RIP

But I am afraid you are like Fox news

Rab said...

I have deleted a comment from “locale”, which bizarrely has a link to the web portal Raco Catala.

Locale, I felt that the tone of your post was gratuitously insulting towards Roger. Your choice of language was poor. At least when Phil insults he has some flair (“snarling Doberman”) and tries to avoid sinking too low with his choice of language.

If you disagree, feel free to post again, and I am happy for Roger to defend himself, he is not short of a word or two either, as I remember giving him a yellow card in the past.

Trevor: I did not make myself clear in my reply to you. I meant to say that I’d ask a different question of La Caixa and many other financial institutions rather than the question you asked. Your question is technically correct as one of my colleagues pointed out. I promise to post something about the markets about Christmas time.

By the way, I would welcome my colleagues’ thoughts on whether my blog if full of “anti-Spanish hatred” as Phil and others seem to think. I know some of you read this blog so feel free to contribute –just remember that there shall not be any mention of the firm, my real surname, fund performance, market positions, etc. Don’t want to go to our friends in Compliance with my head down...

Carles:I think your message was understood alright. But as ever, Phil failed to provide any back up to his arguments other than using the rhetoric of Libertad Digital and the Spanish nationalist media like ABC, El Mundo, COPE, etc. Notice that the more evidence he is faced against, the shorter his posts; and how, never, never he addresses the points raised to him. He simply repeats himself like a parrot.

Rab said...


I do get it alright: you have a pathological and paranoid hatred against Catalonia that prevents you from reading what I write, or reading the links I provide, to counter your stupid arguments.

You just repeat yourself like a parrot and just ignore the links I provide. Here in this post and before.
I have written quite a few times about how my family is from the south of Spain. How can I hate Spain, if Andalucia is my parents’ place of birth? But never mind…

Then you write that I have "hatred against everybody and everything, that is not 100% catalanist like the people who sent the bullet picture to Albert Rivera, makes you blind."

Another of your unsubstantiated lies. Throughout my blog, I make perfectly clear that I despise the policies of the Spanish State, and I challenge the policies of the Spanish State.

I responded to you in another post about that but you carry on like a parrot if you so wish. Read carefully and see if you can understand this: most of my family (cousins and uncles and I have got a lot) vote for PP, PSOE or IC-V. I don’t hate many people in this world, certainly not people that vote for either of these 3 parties or many others.

Read this carefully Phil: I don’t hate Spain, or Spanish people, or anyone that disagrees with me, because, guess what: many of my close friends, including my best mate here in Scotland, (a guy from Zaragoza who supports Real Madrid, votes PP and his family are Opus Dei) disagree with my views.
Do you think I hate about 90% of my immediate circle of friends and family?

Try to get that into your little head if you can.

By the way, your cheap jibe about "you fail again and again your exams" deserves an answer:
I have failed one exam in my professional life: the CFA Level I exam. This exam has a pass rate of about 35%. That is, about 65% of people who sit this exam fail. I sat this exam at the same time as I was finishing my MBA, which was a big mistake. I have had a chat with the CIO and he is cool about me not becoming CFA qualified. He thinks that an MBA from a top UK university is good enough for the company and the clients.

For reasons that are only known to you, you have become an anti-Catalan paranoid stalker. Your rhetoric is borrowed from the Spanish media that most virulently attacks Catalonia: Libertad Digital.

If you had a twin blog with the title “the real truth about Spanish nationalism”, you could ask for some credibility. As it is, for reasons that only you know, you are full of hatred against Catalonia.

Faced with overwhelming evidence of many examples which prove that for as long as Catalonia remains part of Spain, Catalonia will suffer economically, politically and culturally, you choose to write lies about me when I provide evidence to the contrary. Evidence that you routinely and consistently ignore.

I do get it alright Phil: what you dislike most about this blog is that I am explaining in English, to a wider audience, why Catalonia deserves and should aspire to become an independent state in the EU. You cannot stomach this fact and stalk this blog with your unsubstantiated lies about myself and Catalan politics, blatant manipulation and anti-Catalan rants.

To prove to you that I don’t hate the Spanish language, I am going to borrow from what is in fact my mother tongue: “Ladran, luego cabalgamos”.

Good night.

Dougie said...

Rab, we are all far too busy trying to match your alpha! ;-)
I know you well, and I have met your parents and I know you are not anti-Spanish, you are simply Catalan pro-independence. But I would not equate that to say that “you have hatred for Spain” as your pal Phil writes.
However, I also think you should forget about this Catalan stuff.It seems a lost cause to me after my last visit to Barcelona. You should start posting about british/global politics and/or financial markets.

Anonymous said...

"Rab", (can we call you Rab in the office?) some of your posts are far too long...other than that I don’t think your blog is any different than most political blogs. Perhaps I’d say that sometimes you seem better at countering someone’s view (your rebuttals are superb, pity they take ages to read...) than conveying your own in a constructive and more "detached" way in the first place.
Dougie: past performance is not a guide to future performance… Sooner or later Rab will screw up! (like we all do)


Neil said...

Please try and visit other parts of Catalonia rather than just Barcelona. Like many large metropolitan cities, Barcelona is a huge cultural melting pot with large numbers of tourists, short-term residents and immigrants. I highly recommend nipping out of Barcelona and staying somewhere like Montseny Natural Park (about an hour from Barcelona). Although it is a (albeit different type of) tourist hotspot, you will hear very little Spanish and practically zero English (if you don't speak Catalan, take a phrase book and maybe a dictionary to help translate the menus). You will be surrounded by fantastic views and will be able to sample a full on Catalan experience with great Catalan food and wine - it's completely different to the "European" experience of a large tourist city like Barcelona. Once you have done that, come back and tell me if you still think it is a "lost cause". If your only experience of Catalonia is this blog and Barcelona, unfortunately you have been mislead and have missed out on a lot of things great things in Catalonia.


Neil said...

Yet another wonderful nugget of hypocrisy from yourself. If anyone disagrees with you, you automatically fire the (profoundly) anti-Catalan label at them along with your standard torrent of abuse: pathological prejudice blah blah COPE radio blah blah libertad digital blah blah... The hypocrisy here is when someone dare say that you are anti-Spanish. You go crying to your friends and get all tetchy about it whilst still casting your unfounded aspersions at them. Isn't it time you grew up a little bit Rab? If you dish it out, then expect it back and deal with it in an adult fashion rather than getting your mates to stick up for you. I mean ffs Rab, you left the school playground a long time ago... didn't you?

Yet again you mention my name along with your favourite slogan of "anti-Catalan" whenever the mood suits you. Trouble is, the only "proof" (that really is not the correct word) that you have "backed it up" with is to say that I use the same turn of phrase as does COPE et al. I have rarely listened to COPE or read libertad digital (rac105 comes much higher as does el pais / la van and others). From what I've seen other people have far more "proof" that you are anti-Spanish than I anti-Catalan, yet you continue to keep on spouting crap about me but refute any suggestion regarding your prejudice.

Having thought about it for at least 10 seconds, I'd say that you are far more anti-Catalan than me anyway (and anti-Spanish as well, obviously). After all, I recall you actually lambasting a non-native speaker of Catalan for using some Catalan in a discussion - that is something I have never done and hope I never ever will do. You may like to suppress people learning and using Catalan, but I do not. It is yet more proof of what lies deep within you has absolutely nothing to do with the development, promotion and well-being of Catalonia. It shows us your fervent hatred for anything that you believe (which can be a long way from reality) not to be pro-independent Catalonia.

PS Rab: Your attempt at justification for terrorism that you put in your reply here: was absolutely disgusting. Do you really expect me to reply to that? I'm sure that anyone with a brain can see your reply for what it really is. Spouting support / justification for having ex-terrorists (Xavier Vendrell for example who if I recall correctly, likes to plant bombs) in senior political roles is repulsive yet unsurprising to hear coming from your lips, given that he is an ERC man.

observer said...

Marvellous Neil, so Catalan is spoken by the natives in the Natural Park reserves in the countryside, where we have to go armed with phrasebooks to be able to deal with the rustic locals… you could not make it up.

Neil said...

Observer. ummm yes it is. It is also spoken by the vast majority of people in cities of Catalonia. Just dont expect to hear it when you, mr observer, are ordering your big mac in English as they will probably reply to you in English. Alas, outside of the cities they arent none too familiar with English and usually speak Catalan, thus a Catalan phrase book would help you out a lot. Not too hard too understand is it?