Category Archives: Blog

Barca’s Disgraceful Night

Watching FC Barcelona crashing to defeat in Paris last night gave me  a distinct  feeling of déjà vu. This was no ordinary defeat, but an abject surrender by a team with some of the best players  in the world and Messi representing  a club that prides and markets  itself  on the basis of its  integrity. Not since the Allianz Arena in April 2013 had  Barca been more humiliated by a better European team and its own total lack of moral fibre. There is a justifiable   sense of desolation if not …

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La Sra May: Entre patriotismo y nacionalismo

  La perspectiva de la otra ribera  escribe Jimmy Burns Marañón     Escribo declarando al principio mi ‘status’ de ciudadano Europeo, nacionalidad  británica, nacido en Madrid de una madre española y padre británico, educado en el Reino Unido, que desde 1953, cuando naci,  he pasado  la vida compartiendo  culturas,a  nivel personal, profesional y políticamente. Por lo tanto, desde esta posición por lo menos  híbrida, permítanme intentar formular algunos pensamientos personales sobre el discurso de la señora May, y lo que podría producirse para el futuro de las relaciones entre …

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Mrs May between patriotism & nationalism

    I  write as a British national, born in Madrid to a Spanish mother  and British father, educated  in the UK,  bit  who since 1953 has spent is life straddling two cultures, personally, professionally, and politically. So from this hybrid position , let me attempt to formulate some personal thoughts on Mrs May’s speech, and what it might auger for the future of UK-Spanish relations. As an exercise  in political speech making and delivery, May’s rhetoric and poise  appealed to  a British sense of identity rooted in  history with …

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‘Silence': A film worth discernment

I am grateful to Father Nye,  a wise old Jesuit friend for advising me to go and see and make my own mind up about Silence which arrived at my local London movie house on New Year’s Day. ‘Only don’t expect  humour. It doesn’t have any’, ‘he added. Up to that point a reading of some reviews  had led me to thinking I might avoid it.  The suggestion was  that this was an overlong and dark  film, with a somewhat leaden dialogue, a miscast central character, and containing scenes of …

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Cristiano vs Messi: An imagined rivalry?

Cristiano vs Messi: An imagined rivalry? When it comes to sport, there is nothing like an iconic rivalry to fuel  the global popularity of football. This past weekend, Cristiano  Ronaldo and Lionel Messi fought their latest battle to  be considered the world’s best player  in war of attrition that has lasted more than a decade. But this was no gladiatorial duel  consciously played out in a  frenzied colosseum,  but  a commercial construct which had the two star players separated  over   a distance of thousands of miles and playing in  different …

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The UK in three halves

    By any standards of the UK’s collective diary, Monday of this week was a day worthy of popular attention-and reflection. Three events between them seemed to define the noble  and the less worthy of the UK nation, and humanity generally. It began with news that young victims from Syria and other conflict zones stranded in Calais were to be reunited with their families across the Chanell. It developed with live coverage of the celebration of the team GB Olympic and Paralympic teams. By day’s end  millions of football …

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The Joy of Messi

The joy of Messi Writing in El Pais today the journalist Jordi Quixano notes that the health of FC Barcelona depends on Leo Messi’s smile and the excellence of his football. Watching Messi play in the pre-season warm-up game against Leicester City last night , I was not alone in feeling elated. The crowd in Stockholm’s aptly named Friends Arena evidently relished, as did TV viewers around the world, his ability to raise the occasion to something worthwhile. It was indeed a necessary tonic after a summer marred by an …

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Brexit: Between the disaster and Hope

A few days ago, I said in a public debate during the campaign that my worst nightmare would be to wake up on June 24 and see Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, a party that thrives on insularity, intolerance and racism, smiling , surrounded by British flags our screens, and proclaiming independence with a ‘we have won’ Brexit. Not surprising then that today I am  struggling with a deep sense of what  Winston Churchill in his worst moments of depression called  his ‘black dog’ , along with the 16 other …

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When Ali became my boxing idol

I had  just turned twelve when in 1965 I drew the short straw at my Catholic primary school in London St Philip’s and became captain  of boxing. I was pretty skinny and of average height for my age, and I was no great boxer. Indeed with the evidence of hindsight I now see  I got the appointment  by default rather than on  merit. I was an improvised choice after several more physically prepared front runners showed no interest, knowing that their reputation lay elsewhere. Boxing was not considered a key …

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Champion’s League Final: Milan

Championship Final : The Beauty & The Beast Two images endured for me in the aftermath of last saturday’s champions league final in Milan, both taken in the final minutes of a less than memorable encounter .The first that of Atletico de Madrid’s Juan Fran, the other of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, just after the two had taken their respective shots at goals during the death by penalty. Juan Fran’s shot hit the bar and his subsequent drowned dog look and pose was that of a man who for ever …

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