Saturday, February 07, 2015

Podemos matures; Anadaluz corruption; EU foreign affairs; Ssilly salutes; Bad fishing; & Dubbing.

Spain's mint-new political party, Podemos, is now a fully fledged, grown-up party. It has its first corruption scandal, with the No. 3 in the organisation admitting tax evasion. Things can only get bigger now.

Talking of corruption . . . Investigators down in Andalucia have upped their estimate of EU funds diverted into local pockets and bank accounts - en route to Switzerland - from a mere €2 billion to more than €3 billion. Serious money indeed. As elsewhere in the EU, no doubt, Spanish fraudsters must have been astonished at how easy it was to con the bureaucratic mess that is Brussels by setting up phoney training companies, complete with phantom personnel and trainees. It's all very reminiscent of the huge flax scandal of 1999, which involved no actual flax but shedloads of money transferred to relatives of the Minister of Agriculture here in Spain. Mind you, the Andalucian miscreants were clearly wrong in believing they'd never be nabbed. Though probably correct in believing they'd keep the money if they were.

Doesn't the EU have a High Representative for Foreign Relations, or something like that? So, why did negotiations with Russia over the Ukraine involve only the leaders of Germany and France? And will the other 26 members of the EU agree with the deal they're said to have struck last night? All very odd. Suggesting once again that the only 2 countries that matter are (strong) Germany and (weak) France. Both of whom, interestingly enough, have close commercial ties with Russia. Including a couple of very expensive but embargoed ships in the case of France. All for two and two for all?

You'd wonder what compels people to do it but another group of people has been snapped displaying the Franco flag and giving the Nazi salute. This time it was members of the youth wing of the governing PP party. It was all just a joke, of course, but they've had to resign nonetheless.

An interesting statistic - 1 out of 5 fish we eat is illegal. Of course, this is an average and some parts of the world will be worst than others. Our nearby port of Vigo used to have a dreadful reputation but I have no idea how things are these days. Perhaps a lot better since the EU put its Fisheries Control Agency there. Bloody criminal, if not. A quick search suggests things have moved to Argentinean waters, to the annoyance of Buenos Aires.

A well-known Gallega has passed away. She's María Romero, who was an actress but also, far more importantly, a dubber. A versatile woman, she was the voice of Sophia Loren, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates. More recently, she did Mildred in the comedy series George and Mildred so loved by the Spanish. All this may seem very strange to foreigners, even our Portuguese neighbours, but dubbing is a huge industry here, thanks to Franco censorship, and I suspect it will remain a bar to English learning for some time to come.

Finally . . . The kiddies' board game known as Snakes and Ladders in the UK is called Chutes and Ladders in the USA. Wonder why. Was it considered snakeist?

Finally, finally . . . A Spanish view of George and Mildred:-

Un clásico de la comedia británica

La primera vez que los Roper aparecieron en televisión fue en los años 70 en el gran éxito británico Un hombre en casa. El matrimonio formado por Mildred y George, una pareja desternillante y refunfuñona, ejercía como vecino de los protagonistas de aquella serie, Robin, Chrissy y Jo, pero su popularidad creció de tal forma que tuvieron su propia serie, derivada de la primera. Mildred (encarnada por Yootha Joyce) encarnaba a una mujer amargada por el especial carácter de su marido, al que llamaba por su nombre con un tono especial que la hizo célebre. George (Brian Murphy) representaba a un hombre vago y remolón al que, en español, dotó de un especial timbre de voz el actor Rafael de Penagos.


Perry said...


Refunfuñona = dysfunctional = disfuncional?

Colin Davies said...

Seems to mean something like grumbling or grouchy. Bad tempered?

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