Constitution Day. 40 years of democracy.


The dictator Franco died in 1975, and the new constitution was adopted on the 6th December, 1978:
The Spanish Nation, wishing to establish justice, liberty and security, and to promote the welfare of all who make part of it, in use of her sovereignty, proclaims its will to:
Guarantee democratic life within the Constitution and the laws according to a just economic and social order.
Consolidate a State ensuring the rule of law as an expression of the will of the people.
Protect all Spaniards and all the peoples of Spain in the exercise of human rights, their cultures and traditions, languages and institutions.
Promote the progress of culture and the economy to ensure a dignified quality of life for all.
Establish an advanced democratic society, and
Collaborate in the strengthening of peaceful and efficient cooperation among all the peoples of the Earth.
Consequently, the Cortes approve and the Spanish people ratify the following Constitution.



I think the constitution is something to celebrate. I don’t want to sound pompous here, but real democracy makes such a huge difference – just ask a Zimbabwean. It’s so nice to say what you think, without worrying about a knock onthe door at 3 am.

Less dramatically, one of my parents’ most vivid memories of a holiday in Romania was the man they saw watering the grass with a hosepipe in the middle of a downpour. The poor guy was soaked. But as soon as you don’t dare say, “Hang on, that’s a bit daft isn’t it?” you’re going to get an awful lot of that sort of thing. If you multiply that sort of idiocy by the number of times it happens, you begin to see why communist economies tended to stagnate. And then there’s all the people who tell their boss what he wants to hear (because the truth might land then in jail), and the boss goes and makes decisions based on this misinformation.

Democracy isn’t a luxury that only rich countries can afford. It’s a large part of the reason that they’re rich.

I will now get off my soapbox to tell you that Saturday 8th is a holiday too, and most schools shut on the 7th.

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