Saturday, January 18, 2014

A changing political scene; Pigs' legs; Handy suffixes; Vatican vice; and non-empirical Brits.

A new political party was formed in Spain in this week - Vox, or 'Voice' in Latin. It's described as the Spanish version of UKIP, comprising the more right-wing elements of the governing PP party. So, one doubts it will add itself to the loud and growing chorus of opposition to the party's regressive reform of the abortion law. Quite what Vox hopes to achieve in a country of tribal party loyalties is unclear but it's fielding candidates in the upcoming EU elections so we'll soon be able to see whether it splits the right-wing vote at all. And then causes some sort of Cameron-like sail trimming on the part of President Rajoy. Saying tough(er) things about ETA prisoners, for example. Immigration not being a big issue here.

Still on the political theme . . . If you can read Spanish, this site is a must. Started less that a year ago, it relentlessly exposes corruption in all its guises and attacks the Spanish government on the basis of (usually) established facts. The Spanish equivalent, as someone has said, of the Guido Fawkes blog, it already boasts many thousands of (equally disenchanted and angry) readers.

Someone kindly gave me a pig's cured leg as an Xmas gift. (Is this any different from a cured pig's leg?). In other words un jamón. I went yesterday to buy the special stand on which it's fixed, allowing you to carve very thin slices from it. I didn't know what this was called but it turned out to be una jamonera. I'm impressed by this era/ero suffix but, offhand, can only think of gasolinera (petrol station); limonero (lemon tree); cartero/a (postman/woman). For what they're worth, here are Wiki's offerings:-
1. Occupations from nouns. Vaca. Cow Vaquero. Cowboy. And, in the plural, Jeans.
2. Places where a noun generally resides. Llave. Key. Llavero. Key ring.
1. Indicates a place or object where something can be found, kept or done. Guante and Guantera. Glove and Glove compartment. Regar and Regadera. To water and Watering can
2. Indicates a physical state or disability. Sordo and Sordera. Deaf and deafness. Borracho and Borrachera. Drunk and Drunkenness.
3. Forms names of certain plants or trees from the name of their fruit. Higo and Higuera. Fig and Fig tree. Mora and Morera. Blackberry and Blackberry bush.

I read yesterday that the Vatican had declined to give the UN figures on priests accused of molesting children. But the BBC said this morning it's now admitted there were 400 priests defrocked for this in 2011 and 2012, double the previous 2 years. Astonishing. What other organisation would survive this news? No wonder it felt it needed a more appealing Pope, with touchy-feeliness that's confined to star-struck adults.

Finally . . . As I know from my experience with readers - well, one - there's a mind-set in Europe which has it that what Brits think and do is a function of their obsession with a lost empire. I'm on record as saying this is fatuous nonsense, so I was delighted to read these words from the Euro MP Daniel Hannan: "Britons in Brussels are frequently told, typically with a little smirk, about our national superiority complex. We are the way we are, we’re informed, because we haven’t got over the loss of empire. The reason we don’t appreciate the EU is not that we have constitutional, economic or democratic objections, but that we are peculiarly pleased with ourselves. It’s one of the few national stereotypes allowed in today's Europe. Indeed, it is trotted out so frequently and so breezily that many Euro-politicians think it wholly uncontentious. The Euro-friendly Janan Ganesh has deftly filleted what he calls 'the most popular myth about the UK in foreign capitals: that it suffers from delusions of grandeur'. As he put it in the FT a while ago: The caricature of neurotic Britons hankering after global clout, and sometimes believing they still have it, is not just wrong. It is the opposite of the truth. If anything, the UK suffers from delusions of weakness. Its citizens habitually refer to their “small island”, which, at least by population size, ranks in the top decile of nations. You would not know from its parochial political culture that the UK has nuclear weapons, a permanent place on the UN Security Council, the ultimate global city as its capital and, according to an annual survey by Monocle magazine, more “soft power” than any other nation.

So there!

1 comment:

Perry said...

Vox populi or vox deorum?

Co-incidently, I recently read the Wikipedia entries for Jamón serrano & Jamón ibérico. The Jamonera is mentioned, but it would seem you'll also require the cuchillo jamonero.

I hope you were given the Jamón ibérico? The first jamones ibéricos were released for sale in the United States in December 2007, with the bellota hams due to follow in July 2008. The basic jamón ibérico is priced upwards of $52 a pound, and the bellota is priced upwards of $96 a pound, making these hams some of the most expensive in the world.



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