Picture the scene: it’s the 5th October 2012, a public holiday to commemorate Portugal’s metamorphosis from a tired old Kingdom into a brave new Republic in 1911.
It’s a sunny day and the populace is gathered in front of the balcony on which the President, Sr. Anibal Cavaco Silva plus entourage is waiting for the raising of the proud standard of the Republic – The Portuguese Flag.
Slowly it rises but hang on a minute, something’s wrong! The flag is upside down, the wrong way up or reversed!
Oops! What a blunder! What a gaffe! (Someone’s going to lose their job tomorrow).
The symbolism of this little incident was not lost on anyone. The reversed flag is (literally) emblematic of the Portugal’s reversed fortunes which are mired in financial, political and social crisis.
But still, hey, things are not all black are they?
For the National Assembly felt prosperous enough to be able to vote for five new top-of-the-range Audi cars for the ruling party’s ministers.