Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Catalan capers; Dubbing daftness; Corruption in Spain and the UK; Education by rote; & Hoffman who?

As Cataluña heads for its 'illegal' referendum on secession in November, many of us are wondering if President Rajoy's over-my-dead-body bluster is masking behind-the-scenes negotiations of a subtler kind. There's been nil evidence of this but now La Presidenta of Andalucía has gone to Barcelona and talked of a reformed senate, more devolution and a better financial settlement for the region/country. So, are these, in fact, authorised initiatives aimed at moving things along and, most of all, saving Rajoy's face? Oh yes, and achieving something sensible from the current nonsensical stand-off. Time will tell 

Talking of Barcelona . . . An El País reader yesterday asked the question - "Why when I go to see a film shot in Spain and in Spanish, is it dubbed not only in Catalán but also in Spanish?" Just in case you haven't quite got this, it means the 4 people who do all the voices in Spain's (Franco-established) dubbing industry are overriding the voices of all the Spanish actors. Jobs for the nephews and nieces? One's forced to ask. 

There was a headline in yesterday's Voz de Galicia - "Learning by heart is responsible for Spain's educational failure." Sad to know nothing's changed since I was first told this 13 years ago. 

I touched yesterday on the critical journalist forced out by the government. Rumour has it that their next target is a particular TV commentator, whose dismissal will result in the group which owes the TV channel being given a profitable rail franchise as a reward. Surely not. 

So, the EU has fingered Greece, Italy and Spain as being the worst countries in Europe for corruption. Who'd have thought it? One (British) commentator says it's because of this that Greece and Italy will never progress and I'd guess he feels the same about Spain. But the main point he makes is one I've made myself 2 or 3 times over the years - viz. that, though there may be much less 'classic' corruption in the UK, the bureaucracy there has institutionalised their gains in such a way as to make it above-board. In his words:- While in some countries officials take bribes, in countries such as ours, the corrupt transfer of funds from taxpayer to official has been institutionalised. It may not be an offence, but there is no difference in principle in public officials being paid more than they are worth. Effectively, we have legalised corruption. As for the EU, the columnists has this to say:- Since the EU itself is ultimately a corrupt organisation, it should be entirely at home with that concept. In the brave new world of European integration, corruption will no longer be a problem. It will have been "legalised" out of existence. Need I add that he's a eurosceptic? Of the first order.

 Another British commentator - Daniel Hannan - who's an MEP but also a eurosceptic - makes the point that the EU itself, like all organisations, is corrupt. And that it lacks incentives to be otherwise. 

Just a bit more on that EU survey of corruption among its members -  Respondents were asked whether corruption affected their daily lives and the country with the highest percentage - 66 - of Yes votes was neither Greece nor Italy but Spain. Which is hardly surprising when you consider that the papers have pages and pages on local and national corruption trials. And where escalating energy prices are considered to reflect corruption by the 'thieves in white gloves'. And nor, for much the same reason, is it hard to understand why 77% of Spaniards think corruption has increased in the last 3 years. In fact, it probably hasn't but the boom year cases are only now in the courts. 

A question :- Philip Seymour Hoffman. Was he really as important as people are making out? Am I unusual in not knowing who on earth he was?

 Finally . . . 

 The Environment 

January: 31 days. On which it rained: 30 - 97%

February: 5 days. On which it has rained: 5 - 100%


Sierra said...

Clearly the "British commentator" has never been associated with the UK construction industry.

Colin Davies said...

Good point.

Patrick Glenn said...

Hoffman won Best actor in 2006 for Capote, he made 60 movies mostly supporting roles, also great stage actor. One of top 5 American actors. Recommend BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD, but there are a lot more great performances by him.

Colin Davies said...

Yea, I enjoyed Capote. Will try to see Before the Devil. . . Thanks.

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