Regular readers will know that one of the hangovers from Franco’s regime is a massive film dubbing industry. It’s rare to see a film in its original language with subtitles here and the upshot is that most Spaniards have no idea what an actor or actress really sounds like. This can lead to some very surreal situations such as the one I experienced while driving last night. A radio program was addressing the US cinema’s treatment of the race issue and extracts were played from both To Kill a Mockingbird and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Meaning, of course, that two Spanish dubbers spoke relevant bits. After which, the commentator blithely referred to these as among the finest of performances by Gregory Peck and Spencer Tracey . . . I almost crashed.
So Mr Zap has gone to Washington. Or at least New York. Where he will apparently preside at the death of what he’s dismissed as an era of neo-liberal economics initiated by President Reagan and Mrs Thatcher. And which he blames for all Spain’s current woes. Nothing to do, then, with the cheap credit, excessive levels of both debt and consumption, high inflation, pervasive urban corruption and a massively artificial construction bubble over which his party has presided for 5 years. It’s all down to those nasty Anglos. I’m surprised he didn’t call them fascists.
But, of course, he’s not alone in washing his hands of blood. As this article points out, over in the UK, the even-longer-in-office Mr Brown is doing exactly the same in respect of the even bigger “train wreck” which is the British economy. You have to hand it to these socialists. They certainly know how to bring a grin to one’s face. What is truth?, asked Pilate. And departed smiling.
And talking of corruption, El País reports today that private company directors will now face prison sentences in Spain. Just like those in the public sector, I guess. So they must be quaking in their proverbials. And El Público tells us that fraud in the field of solar panel grants has now reached 3 billion here. Thanks to President R and Mrs T, I suppose.
One of the reasons I’m contemplating moving to France in a few years times is that its health service is reputed to be the best in the world. Or so I thought. But now I see several others are considered superior and the place to go is Holland, Denmark or Austria. Germany even. More worryingly, Spain is below the UK. So perhaps it’s a good job the government here compels me to take out private insurance as a condition of residence. Click on the magnifying glass here for a readable snap of the Euro Health Consumer Index.
The author of The Economist review of Spain gave an interview to El Mundo this week. This right-of-centre paper rather naturally focused on Cataluña and the reaction there. Click here for the text. What Reid says about Cataluña applies just as much to Galicia, I believe.
As if to prove the point, there was more nonsense in our papers today about the Galician Nationalist Party’s view that the Ombudsman should be strung up with piano wire for daring to make a comment about the growing conflict over Galician. One of the Voz de Galicia columnists today quotes someone else’s remark that a language has two types of enemy; those who oppress it and those who impose it. Quite.
The houses being built opposite mine here in Poio are just brick shells at the moment. It's taken almost 3 years for them to reach this stage but, in a year or so, I expect them to look like this:-
And then, for two to five years after that, they will surely look like these, 50 metres away:-
But to be more positive, the olive trees and [?]silver birch in this garden weren’t there yesterday. Not to mention the shrub on the roof. Impressive, eh?
Shame about the ugly boxes they adorn. But, hey, what's a boom for if not to be greedy and careless of aesthetics? Ask the odd couple, President R and Mrs T.