Given a sporting chance

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GERARD PIQUE: Does not hide his pro-independence sentiments.

BARCELONA footballer Gerard Pique does not hide his pro-independence sentiments and is increasingly booed when he plays for Spain’s national side. He was apparently quite hurt to get the bird during the Spain-Slovakia match in Oviedo and it is hard to resist the temptation to respond with “Diddums.”

To spare his feelings, the November friendly against England will be played in Alicante City’s Rico Perez stadium instead of the Bernabeu in Madrid although Pique will still be booed. An Alicantino might feel more Alicantino than Spanish but there is scant sympathy for Catalanism and still less for separatism.

Blast from past

BEFORE the summer Spain’s president Mariano Rajoy agreed to receive 2,749 refugees. This was less than Brussels wanted but all that the country could afford.

Now Rajoy is bowing to pressure from Brussels and at home to accept more, a figure that could be closer to 18,000.

Rajoy also knows that his one-time mentor Jose Maria Aznar is partly to blame for the refugee crisis. Aznar, panting to go to war with Bush and Blair, was party to the disastrous 2003 Iraq invasion and occupation that set the whole thing in motion and engendered ISIS. Charity cannot start at home, Rajoy knows it.

Second best

REFUGEES in northern Europe are being returned to Spain, the first EU country they entered and where their applications were processed. “It’s very hard after being in another country with so many facilities,” lamented one who was forced to leave Sweden for Madrid. Given the choice, few refugees – or Spaniards – would prefer Spain with high unemployment and exiguous benefits to Sweden.

Change of mind

WHEN Eduardo Madina was defeated by Pedro Sanchez for the PSOE leadership he announced that he would devote himself to Basque issues and gradually leave politics. Now he has allegedly changed his mind and hopes to be included in the Madrid voting list.

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