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Monday April 11, 2011

Nick Clegg's a crying shame

There’s been much guffawing and rubbing of hands in the media at Nick Clegg’s recent girly outpourings during an interview for the New Statesman magazine. The revelation that he is hurt by the public’s apparent loathing for him and how he is reduced to tears listening to music describes a man possibly al borde de un ataque de nervios-on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

But hang on a minute. Nick Clegg is married to a Spaniard and as anyone who lives in Spain knows, emotions are worn very firmly on the sleeve. Last year, a middle aged male shopkeeper in my local town got into an argument with a friend and swung him a punch. The next minute they were both in tears and embracing while the crowd of bemused shoppers looked on approvingly. Even in my own lane, I spied a male neighbour openly crying when he was denied permission to construct a garage, and let’s not even start on births, christenings, weddings and funerals when grown men shed tears without the slightest jot of self consciousness. When Spain won the world cup, Spanish goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, wept uncontrollably and last year, politician Miquel Angel Moratinos burst into tears when he was sacked from his post as Foreign Minister under Prime Minister Zapatero’s administration.

So, I wonder if Nick Clegg’s frank-albeit unwise-admittance to blubbing is merely a result of his absorption of Spanish culture which sees nothing wrong in macho men having a good weep from joy or sorrow.

A Spanish friend recently told me that when he attended a bullfight in Pamplona the men in the stadium were in floods of tears at the end of the evening. And were they tears of happiness or horror at the bull’s demise? He shook his head and said it was neither. It was the overwhelming emotion of the occasion that caused the tears to flow. An intoxicating moment when men stood shoulder to shoulder to witness a truly remarkable event, deeply rooted in Spanish culture.

I’m not sure what Nick Clegg’s view would be on the matter but he’d probably say it was enough to make a grown man cry.

First appeared in Telegraph Expat

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