Welcome to my blog/podcast website.
I host and produce The Sobremesa Podcast, which is all about modern day Spanish politics, history and society.
I often write about politics, culture, mental health and ideology. And sometimes in Spanish…
For the latest podcast episodes or blog posts look below or click the tabs above.
I am currently working on several books on ideology, the middle classes, the third Spanish Republic and existentialism.
My first book Idea-ology: A Critical Analysis of The West is available here for FREE
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- Was Spain’s 15M Acid Communism?Was Spain’s 15M Acid Communism?
- What is Literature?Having started a degree in English, I have been forced to rethink my concept of literature. Prior to completing the recommended reading, which was the first chapter of Terry Eagleton’s literary theory book, an easy way to summarize my view on literature would have been to say that it is all forms of fiction. My lack of imagination when it comes to defining literature might show a lack of enthusiasm for fictional writing overall. And if you had assumed that then you would probably be correct. However in recent years, I have come to enjoy various forms of literature in […]
- Idea-ology: Neo-liberalism, where it started (part 3)Over the past 40 years, neoliberalism has demolished trade unions and stripped away financial restrictions which has led to more wealth for people with money and a stagnation in wages for the rest of us. President Reagan imposed this in the USA and Thatcher did so in the UK. In later years, neoliberalism repurposed the function of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These global corporations, in charge of overseeing cooperation in international markets, lend money to poorer countries when they need money. With these loans comes a set of conditions which the country must adopt to […]
- Idea-ology: Doctrine for the Masses (Part 2)Neo-liberals believe that the free market is the best way to organise society. They claim that the government should be just an administrator, not a supervisor or a player in the market, even to the point that private companies should provide services such as hospitals, schools and prisons. This is a common misconception, or a slight of hand, as under neo-liberal control the state often is used for the benefit for capital, rather than against it. It does this by creating new markets, initially by selling of the state’s companies/shares, or by invading or coercing other countries to exploit their […]
- Idea-ology: Creating the Illusion (Part 1)Idea-ology: Creating the illusion of neo-liberalism
- Episode 41: Exhuming Franco with Sebastiaan FaberThe Sobremesa Podcast has slowed down for August like the rest of Spain. But here is some summer listening for you, no matter where you are! Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic studies at Oberlin College, joins me to discuss his latest book Exhuming Franco What is left of Francisco Franco’s legacy in Spain today? Franco ruled Spain as a military dictator from 1939 until his death in 1975. In October 2019, his remains were removed from the massive national monument in which they had been buried for forty-four years. For some, the exhumation confirmed that Spain has long been a […]
- Leyendas de Leganés: Don Juan de Austria, el Jon Snow de Leganés¿Quién fue Don Juan de Austria? En Leganés hay comunidades, colegios, y una calle que se llama Juan de Austria. Y como Jon Snow de Juegos de Tronos, Juan fue un bastado del Rey y un luchador. Un héroe Cerca de 1545, el Rey Carlos I de España, también Santo Emperador Romano desde Alemania hasta Italia, tuvo un hijo con Barbara Blomberg, una dama alemana. Nació en Alemania, originalmente se lama Jeromín, al venir a España a conoció a su padre. Cuando Jeromín llegó a España su padre le ordenó vivir en Leganés con el violinista de su corte y […]
- Que es una ‘Centrist Dad’?Hay un concepto en el mundo político anglo saxon que es un ‘centrist dad’ (padre centristas). Quiero introducir esto concepto a España porque es una idea fundamental por Twitter, memes y por una broma durante la cena de navidad cuando tu tío hablar sobre ‘que es posible’ en esto mundo. Un padre centralista normalmente es un hombre (pero también puede ser un mujer) de generación de Boomer (nació 1946- 1964) o un Gen X (nació 1965-1980). Todos los familiares tiene una persona que explicar a los jóvenes en su cena que el mundo es como así, tu no puede cambiar […]
- EPISDOE 40: The Future of Unidas PodemosSorry this episode is a bit late but I have covid! Recorded two weeks ago, Nerea Fernández Cordero, Co-coordinadora at IU Exterior (Izquierda Unida), and political journalist Eoghan Gilmartin join me to discuss the coalition party called Unidas Podemos. We talk about how it came to be and where it goes from here that their founding leader has left politics, and now that they are part of the first left wing coalition since the second republic.
- Leyendas de Leganés: Avenida Salvador AllendeEn Leganés, hay una calle se llama Salvador Allende después del primer presidente marxista en Chile y América Latina. Allende fue elegido en eleciones democráticas en 1970. Allende quiso mejorar las condiciones para la clase obrera en su país. Mejorar la educación, el sistema de salud y nacionalizar las industrias más grandes en Chile. Pero tiene la oposición del congreso, donde la derecha tiene el control. En 1973, hubo un golpe de estado del ejército, con el apoyo de la CIA en los Estados Unidos. Los soldados rodearon su palacio presidencial y ese mismo día se suicidó. Hasta 1990, el […]
- Catalan Political Prisoners Get a Pardon With Andrew DowlingFollowing last weeks news on the pardon of the 9 Catalan political prisoners, jailed following the referendum in 2017, I discuss the issue with Andrew Dowling, a lecturer in Catalan and Spanish history. If you want to hear more about this issue, take a listen to our previous episodes on the matter.
- Nazi Germany and Spain with Dr Mercedes Peñalba-SotorríoDr Mercedes Peñalba-Sotorrío, a lecturer and researcher from Manchester Metropolitan University, joins me to discuss the relationship between Nazi Germany and Spain before, during and after WW2. Her research involves looking at how Nazi propaganda inside Spain which influenced the country’s foreign and domestic policy during the time. We also discuss the concept of neutral countries and how the relationship with Germany changed as the war advanced. The Sobremesa Podcast is now available on Google, Spotify and Apple
- #4MAYO Madrid Elections: an after-thoughtWith a 75% participation rate, the PP and Isabel Ayuso take 65 seats in the Madrid Comunidad elections, four short of a majority. She will need an abstention from Vox to become president, and is also likely to negotiate a confidence on supply agreement with them. Ayuso has eaten Cuidudanos alive and kept Vox at bay, whilst also gaining more seats than all the left together. This is certainly a boost for the PP at a time when the national party is struggling because of a squeeze to its right from Vox and ongoing corruption cases. That said, Pablo Casado’s […]
- #4M Madrid Elections 2021 with Caroline Gray and Eoghan GilmartinWith the communidad elections less than a week away Caroline Gray and Eoghan Gilmartin both join me to discuss the political earthquake that led to the elections and why this election is about more than just the capital. Eoghan Gilmartin is a political journalist covering Spanish politics. He is a regular contributor to Jacobin Magazine and has written from many other publications such as Novara Media and Open Democracy. Caroline Gray is Lecturer in Politics and Spanish. She specialises in the politics of Spain and wider Europe, focusing on territorial politics and party systems. She is the author of Territorial Politics […]
- European Super League with Tommy HayThis week, the European Super League launched but it hasn’t gone smoothly. In the UK all 6 big teams were forced to pull out by their fans, the media and even Boris Johnson. Here in Spain the reaction has been very different. Tommy Hay joins me to discuss the issues behind this league and the Spanish reaction to it. Tommy Hay is a football commentator here in Spain. He is the presenter of Speaking Football on Vaughan radio, co-host of the Get Spanish Football News podcast, and he also appears on the show Aprende inglés para futbolistas on Radio MARCA […]
- The Treatment of Sexual Minorities in the Late-Francoist Period with Sonia Cuesta ManiarSonia Cuesta Maniar joins me to discuss the treatment of sexual minorities by the Spanish state during the late period of the Francoist dictatorship. Sonia Cuesta Maniar is a doctoral research student at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the relationship between Francoist repressive practices and accelerating socio-political change in the 1960s and 1970s Spain. More broadly, she is interested in the history of memory, violence, and repression. The Sobremesa Podcast is all about modern day Spanish politics, history and society. It is now available on Google, Spotify and Apple For the latest… sign up here
- Gender Violence with Dr Deborah MaddenFeminism is huge movement in Spain, but why? Gender violence is a polemical topic in Spain. Dr Deborah Madden joins me to discuss how, in recent years, there have been several high-profile cases of rape that have brought about needed reforms to the Spanish law. This, along with a number of femicides in the country, has brought gender violence into the public domain. We also discuss how the feminist movement has reacted to these events and how it is not the first time that women have shared their stories of gender violence. Dr Deborah Madden is a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Researcher […]
- Spanish Feminism with Elia Romera FigueroaIn recent years feminism has boomed in countries such as Argentina and Mexico. Likewise, in Europe the movement has been most active in the south, mainly in Italy and Spain. Since 2018, when the first massively followed International Women Strike took place, the movement hasn´t stop growing, and its effects are beginning to be felt. What are some of today’s discussions in Spanish feminism? and where was Spanish feminism before 2018? I am joined by researcher Elia Romera-Figueroa to discuss the history of Spanish feminism, past and present debates within the movement and where it is going. Happy International Womens’ […]
- Spanish Start Ups with Joe HaslamThe Spanish government recently announced 11 billion euros for small, medium sized companies in the hard-hit tourism sector. Will it be enough? And what is the direction for the Spanish economy? In the longer term, Spain has seen the need to reform its economy as the current model, heavily reliant on tourism, is unreliable. Many in the country also want self employment red tape cut and costs reduced. Joe Haslam joins me to explain the long term cultural and systematic problems Spain faces in reforming itself into a country of start ups. We also discuss ‘Spain Entrepreneurial Nation’ the new […]
- Basque Nationalism: The Origins of Basque Nationalism and Anti-colonialist Rhetoric with Maria Reyes BaztánNationalism has made a comeback in the 21st century and Spain is not exempt. Often people mistake Spain for a large country, when in fact it is a large block of several regional identities. Famously, the Catalan independence movement has highlighted this fact and also caused a rise in the national Spanish identity. However this is not a new phenomenon. Spain’s regional identities have challenged Spanish nationalists desired unity since at least the 19th century Whilst the regional identities often get along well together, this has not always been the case. During Franco’s era, regional identities were suppressed, and following […]
- Catalan Politics 101 with Andrew DowlingOn Sunday the 14th February 2021, Catalonia will go to the polls, this time to elect a regional government. This is the second regional election since the October 2017 independence referendum. The first in December 2017 was called by then Spanish President Mariano Rajoy, in that election the biggest party Cuidudanos won the most seats but could not form an administration. A regional government was formed by independence forces JuntsxCats/ERC/CUP. Quimm Torra was elected as regional president. In the April 2019 general election, Torra went against Spanish election rules. After many long judicial battles, Torra was dismissed as regional premier […]
- The Rise of Vox and Spanish NationalismHere is the second part of my interview with Vicente Rubio-Pueyo. Here we talk the rise in very visible raising of Spanish nationalism and how this also went alongside the rise of far right party Vox. To read Vicente’s report check out the link below:
- Spanish municipalism with Vicente Rubio-PueyoVicente Rubio-Pueyo is a Spanish academic based in New York and member of Minim, a municipalism observatory. https://minim-municipalism.org/ He sat down with me to discuss modern day Spanish municipalism and the effect it has had on politics and the cities it governed. For further details on how the municipalism started in Spain, listen to my interview on 15M The second part of my interview, about the rise of Vox and nationalism, with Vincente will be out later this week. The Sobremesa Podcast is all about modern day Spanish politics, history and society. It is now available on Google, Spotify and Apple For the latest… sign […]
- Nigel Farage is a bigger threat to the left than the Tories. Here’s why.Nigel Farage is a bigger threat to the left than the Tories. Here’s why.
- Territorial Politics in Spain with Caroline GrayWhen you first move to Spain you soon realise there are more than two national parties. Since the financial crash in 2008, regional politics have become a big matter (once again) in Spanish politics. The current coalition government has made them a key part of their program. How did this come about? For one thing, it is not new. In this episode of the Sobremesa podcast I interview Caroline Gray. Here we talk about the territorial politics of both the left and right in Spain since the financial crisis. I hope, for some of you, that it will help navigate […]
- 15-M, Ten Years On: In conversation with Cristina Flesher Fominaya on her recent book Democracy Reloaded: Inside Spain’s Political Laboratory from 15-M to PodemosEvents in America last week only remind us that democracy is fragile. Whilst the 90’s and the early 2000’s might seem like the ‘norm’, it was actually a bit of a red herring. We should try to remember that democracy has always been fragile and prone to crisis and threat. To use the worn-out Winston Churchill quote, “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Here we need to distinguish between a threat to democracy and a crisis, without using any words that have lost their meaning in recent years such as ’fascism’ and ‘coup’. The […]
- Keir Starmer: Labour AristocracyLabour Leader Sir Keir Starmer: “I don’t think there is a case for re-joining the EU…that is not realistic” Originally tweeted by BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) on January 10, 2021. On Sunday 10th January, Keir Starmer turned his back on a large group of people that voted for him in the leadership elections. Remain-backing Labour members all over the country will be upset by the news that Labour will not be campaigning for the UK to re-join the EU or for the return of freedom of movement. Whilst I agree with Starmer that it is unrealistic to push these two issues […]
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