Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Beeb; Aragonese; Strange Spanish name; Galician beauty; & and my beautiful neighbour.

Spain's leading newspaper, El País, has published an opinion on the Tory government's challenge to the BBC. It's impressively laudatory towards the British institution but my guess is the paper is much influenced by the universal perception that the Spanish government's channels are anything but impartial, whether the government is of the Right or the Left. See the [slightly amended] Google translation below.

How many readers knew that Aragonese is the Spanish version of France's Gascon? I didn't even know Gascon existed. But I did know the French government successfully wiped out the very many Romance dialects that threatened the predominance of French in the 19th century. I doubt it'll be as successful with its current challenger, English. Which, by the way, appears to be mastered by all Dutch babies soon after birth.

Another strange female Spanish:- Exuperancia. Or 'exuberance' in English. I'm guessing there's at least one Virgen de Exuperancia somewhere in Spain. Though not in my house.

Apart from its magnificent verdant scenery, Galicia boasts not just beautiful granite houses - of all sizes - but also many examples of what the national media calls feismo gallego. Or 'Galician ugliness'. But now the regional government (La Xunta/Junta) has decided to bring in a law to put an end to this. It should be interesting to observe its consequences. At a minimum, it should mean a few hundred more civil servant jobs to give one's friends and relatives.

Which reminds me . . . After 13 years of applications, the industrial estate next to the gypsy settlement down the hill has finally been given the licence to expand, on the basis that it puts up a 'green screen' so that it 'fits in' with the surrounding countryside. It's a tad surprising that this didn't occur to anyone during the lengthy negotiations. So, as I've said, I wonder what the real reason for the refusals was.

Finally . . . My doorbell rang at 11.20pm last night. It wasn't the gypsies I expected but the lovely Esther from next door, wanting to know if I could give her some beers for the dinner they were about to have. When I told her it was 11.20 - and that I was in my underpants because of the clammy heat - she replied she hadn't realised what time it was. From experience of the last 6 years, I'd say this is a suitable epitaph for her headstone. I may have mentioned she arrived at 10pm for a 9.15 dinner the other night. Spain is different. 

BTW . . . When Esther and I spoke on the intercom, she refused to believe I was almost naked because of the muggy heat. By the time she left, though, she was convinced of this.  

El País: The BBC Belongs to Everyone

The reform of the British public broadcaster, admired throughout the world for its quality criteria and professional independence, is in the crosshairs of the Conservative government of David Cameron who had perceived in the corporation a certain sectarian bias. That suspicion has resulted in a report on the future of the BBC presented to Parliament which aims to curb its "imperial ambitions",[to modify its financing arrangements, to stop it pursuing mass audiences and t o minimise its content.]

For the British, the BBC is the place where [the nation finds itself],  a symbol of democracy that has stood firm against attempts at governmental interference, putting [first] its commitment to public service. Certainly there are issues such as the fee charged to the owners of a television, the need to adapt to the times, and also that the image of the BBC has been damaged by scandals, such as by Jimmy Saville ex-presenter accused of sexual abuse, or the astronomical salaries of its stars.

Nevertheless, the BBC has [not!] lost its essence. In an increasingly polluted media ecosystem it remains an informative reference within and outside the UK through its global services. Safeguarding their universal character is an obligation to whoever leads the British government.

La BBC es de todos

La reforma de la radiotelevisión pública británica, admirada en todo el mundo por sus criterios de calidad e independencia profesional, está en el punto de mira del Gobierno conservador de David Cameron, que cree haber percibido en la línea informativa de la corporación una cierta inclinación sectaria. Ese recelo se ha materializado en un informe sobre el futuro de la BBC presentado al Parlamento que aspira a frenar sus “ambiciones imperiales” modificando su régimen de financiación, estrechando el cerco a contenidos de grandes audiencias y jibarizándola.

Para los británicos, la BBC es el lugar en el que la nación se encuentra, un símbolo de la democracia que se ha mantenido firme ante los intentos de injerencias gubernamentales, anteponiendo su compromiso con el servicio público. Es cierto que hay aspectos, como el canon que se cobra a los dueños de un televisor, que tienen que adaptarse a los tiempos, y también que la imagen de la BBC se ha visto dañada por escándalos, como el del exlocutor Jimmy Saville, acusado de abusos sexuales, o los astronómicos sueldos de sus estrellas.

Pese a todo, la BBC no ha perdido su esencia. En un ecosistema mediático cada vez más contaminado, sigue siendo una referencia informativa dentro y fuera de Reino Unido gracias a sus servicios mundiales. Salvaguardar su carácter universal es una obligación de quien lidere el Gobierno británico, sea quien sea.

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