I hadn’t planned to be in Spain for Semana Santa. It was just good luck. We are halfway through our annual family road-trip and we’re ticking off Iberian destinations like the Griswold family on speed. I didn’t know too much about the Holy Week festivities – I should have done some research, but I loathe reading about things beforehand. I like to experience things first and then find out what the hell is going on.
Our first night in Granada was certainly an experience. I was lounging in bed watching the leaders’ debate when an unholy cacophony from the street forced me on to the balcony. Below, a long line of maybe 300 people, in black robes and tall pointy hats with slits for eyes, marched down the street carrying candles. It looked like a Ku Klux Klan rally and was seriously spooky. The pointy-heads turned out to be “sinners” who wore the costume in order to remain anonymous.
Next up came a vast Disneyesque marching band with lines and lines of drummers passing in step, their hypnotic beat bouncing off the walls of the winding lanes around them. It was incredibly rousing – as though Spain had declared war on Ukip and was setting off on some new Armada.
For the next five hours the procession continued as enormous floats of Jesus and chums were carried through packed streets. The noise made it impossible to hear the leaders’ debate, so I watched with the sound off.
TV leaders' debate 2015
TV leaders' debate 2015
1/8 The leaders' debate 2015
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, Ukip leader Nigel Farage, Labour leader Ed Miliband, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Prime Minister David Cameron during the 7-way debate
2/8 David Cameron
David Cameron: "People who come here and work hard help make this a great country, but we do need immigration that's controlled and fair."
Getty Images Europe
3/8 Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband says that work 'doesn't pay' in Britain and says Labour would change that. He says David Cameron is talking rubbish.
4/8 Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg says there's "good immigration and bad immigration". "I want Britain to be open for business but not open to abuse".
Getty Images Europe
5/8 Nigel Farage
"Sixty per cent of [people with HIV] are not British nationals... I know there are some horrible things happening in many parts of the world, but what we need to do is put the NHS there for British families," says Nigel Farage
6/8 Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon says the PM is acting like a "petulant schoolchild threatening to leave".
7/8 Leanne Wood
Leanne Wood has a proposal: "I recognise there are many problems with the EU but Wales benefits from being a member".
8/8 Natalie Bennett
Natalie Bennett: "UN has asked us to take in Syrian refugees, we've taken in 143 Syrians, we should do more and our fair share"
Nigel Farage looked like a toad in a sauna. As the debate progressed he was clearly heating up and his eyes started to flicker and look a little panicky. It looked as if he’d dropped a tab of acid before coming on and was desperately trying to fight the effects. Meanwhile, David Cameron did his best to look respectful and not like a spoon. He faked being interested in what the other candidates were saying. Just occasionally his mask slipped and you could see the Bullingdon man wondering how any of these oiks had got past security.
Ed Miliband had his own problems. His advisers had clearly told Wallace to fix his gaze on the far distance as this might help him look statesmanlike. All it did was to make him look a tad deranged. I couldn’t help thinking that he was dreaming of that large plate of cheese he had left in the green room. Nick Clegg meanwhile had done something weird with his make-up. It served to make his face appear pale and featureless. He had the look of a man who had sinned and was in desperate need of a big pointy hat to hide behind.
In contrast, the women looked relatively normal. I have no idea what they said but they all looked like people you’d bump into in the street and not be too alarmed by (except maybe the Plaid Cymru one… she had something of the fright about her).
Meanwhile, down in the streets, a procession of black-clad women marched dolefully in the direction in which Jesus had disappeared. In the good old days they would have been burning Katie Hopkins at the stake.…Reuse content