Topic Of The Day:-“Spanish steps”

Ahead of the controversial October 1 referendum on secession in Catalonia, the Spanish government’s awkward move of tightening the purse-strings could prove politically costly. There is cause for concern that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’smeddling with the financial priorities of Barcelona will play into the hands of the separatists. A veteran of many a crisis, Mr. Rajoy recently issued instructions to the regional government to ensure that not a single euro earmarked for development activities is diverted to the vote. The decision requiring weekly certification follows a judicial declaration that all expenditure towards the vote were unconstitutional. Recourse to such seemingly stringent measures has predictably drawn flak from Catalan leaders, who were already embittered that the province is being denied its due share of the overall tax revenues. Madrid’s mainstream political parties are opposed to the long-standing demand of Catalonia for independent statehood. Riding on the overwhelming support in the national parliament, Mr. Rajoy’s centre-right coalition is determined to block the proposed independence referendum. The government is even contemplating the invocation of Article 155 of the constitution to exercise direct authority over the north-eastern region in the event of a worst-case scenario. The country’s constitutional court is widely expected to rule that any referendum, as well as secession from the union, is violative of the constitution. But that is where legalese ends and politics inevitably takes over. After holding several symbolic independence votes across many municipalities over the past decade, Catalan nationalists sense that what once seemed a distant dream could one day be turned into reality. The economic and social upheaval following the bursting of the Spanish housing bubble after the 2007-8financial crisis, local problems were defected on to the national stage. The 2015 election of the regional government, with a known pro-independence bent, might have been a reflection of this shift in perception. A perception among Catalan youth that the national government is clamping down on democratic expression could only strain the already delicate equation between Madrid and Barcelona. Recent history casts a remarkably sobering light on how much politicians can count on rational arguments to holdsway over popular sentiment. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is just one example. Mr. Rajoy has earned a reputation for exercising caution to a fault during his premiership. His conciliatory tone, for instance, on Catalonia’s fiscal autonomy, a demand he had rejected some years ago, may yet open a window. The call issued by the opposition socialist leader, Pedro Sánchez, for more federal powers could similarly soothe tensions. Madrid must look to expand this spirit of accommodation.


1) Purse-strings

Meaning: The spending of money by a family, company, or country.

Example: A recent survey showed that in 53 percent of families, women hold the purse strings.

2) Meddling

Meaning: Interfere in something that is not one’s concern.

Example: I don’t want him meddling in our affairs.

Synonyms: Interfere, Intrude

3) Veteran

Meaning: A person who has had long experience in a particular field.

Example: A veteran of two world wars.

Synonyms: Expert, Virtuoso, Maestro

Antonyms: Novice, Apprentice, Recruit

4) Earmarked

Meaning: Designate (funds or resources) for a particular purpose.

Example: The cash had been earmarked for a big expansion of the programme.

Synonyms: Appropriate, Reserve

5) Flak

Meaning: Strong criticism.

Example: You must be strong enough to take the flak if things go wrong.

Synonyms: Criticism, Censure

6) Embittered

Meaning: Make (someone) feel bitter or resentful.

Example: He died an embittered man.

Synonyms: Sour, Anger, Poison

7) Overwhelming

Meaning: Very great in amount.

Example: His party won overwhelming support.

Synonyms: Profuse, Enormous

Antonyms: Small

8) Upheaval

Meaning: A violent or sudden change or disruption to something.

Example: Major upheavals in the financial markets.

Synonyms: Disruption, Upset

Antonyms: Stability, Tranquillity

9) Bubble

Meaning: Used to refer to a good or fortunate situation that is isolated from reality or unlikely to last.

Example: We both lived in a bubble, the kind provided by occupying a privileged pied-à-terre in Greenwich Village.

Synonyms: Illusion, Delusion

10) Clamping down

Meaning: Suppress or prevent something in an oppressive or harsh manner.

Example: The authorities have also clamped down on public demonstrations.

Synonyms: Suppress,, Prevent

11) Sobering

Meaning: Make or become more serious, sensible, and solemn.

Example: His expression sobered her.

Synonyms: Relax, Soften

12) Sway

Meaning: Rule; control.

Example: The country was under the sway of rival warlords.

Synonyms: Jurisdiction, Rule, Government

13) Conciliatory

Meaning: Intended or likely to placate or pacify.

Example: A conciliatory approach.

Synonyms: Placatory, Pacific

Antonyms: Antagonistic

14) Soothe

Meaning: Gently calm (a person or their feelings).

Example: A shot of brandy might soothe his nerves.

Synonyms: Calm, Quiet

Antonyms: Agitate, Disturb