Saturday, 2 July 2011

The language of politics

For many years some of my colleagues have looked askance, mumbled into their beards and mutters about it "just not being right". I mean they come over here from god knows where, bring all their funny habits and strange food and clutter up the place with their unenglish bright colours. The least they can do is learn the language - and not expect us to produce everything in their own outlandish script.

But politics is practical - after all despite the habits, the food and an incomprehensible language these people have votes. So we have (accompanied by mutterings and mumblings) produced literature in "community languages" and tried to take a speaker of said language with us while campaigning. Whatever we might say about people learning English, we make this necessary compromise so as to ensure that our vital and vibrant political message reaches the eyes and ears of the whole electorate.

And, it seems that the same goes in Spain. The poster above is from Benahavis which is a small town just inland from Marbella famous for its restaurants and for an extraordinary number of golf courses. And Senor Guerrero has spotted that quite a lot of the town's population (even more in the Summertime) is British - moreover a growing proportion of those Brits are permanent residents and likely to vote. So our politician addresses them in English ignoring any sensitivities about campaigning in a foreign language.

The recent local elections in Spain saw - for perhaps the first time - a concerted effort by the main parties to reach the ex-pat communities and especially the Brits. As one local blogger writes:

In my local town, I believe for the first time ever, one of the major Spanish parties is actively looking to entice non-Spanish residents to vote for them.

So I guess we in Bradford shouldn't grumble about election leaflets in Urdu!


1 comment:

Leedsprinter said...

I have little sympathy for anyone who choses to live in a foreign country and omits to learn the local language sufficiently to make out a simple 1 line slogan. I can't see how anybody who has no understanding of local language and culture can understand the issues sufficiently to vote responsibly anyway.