Posted by: janecronin | October 18, 2011

As God commands

It’s quite a neat trick to take a saying out of someone’s speech and turn it back into a literal meaning.  If you can make political capital out of this manoeuvre, even better, and that is exactly what the PSOE candidate Rubalcaba did last Sunday with a speech made by PP’s candidate Rajoy on Saturday.

Rajoy said he was going to run the Spanish economy “como Dios manda” – as God commands.  This phrase is actually used rather commonly when people want to make sure things are done in the right way, the way they have always been done, according to common sense and so on.  No doubt Rajoy used the expression to sound homely and down to earth.  How appropriate it is as part of a speech of economic policy is another matter, and Rubalcaba cleverly used this against him, also making use of the two meanings of “mandar” – to command and to send.  His reply was “¡como tengamos que esperar a que Dios nos mande algunas indicaciones económicas, vamos listos!”  This loosely translates as “if we’ve got to wait for God to send us some economic instructions, we’ve had it!”


  1. As you know, I think Rubalcaba is a VERY bright spark…..totally wasted on the buffoons he shared office with.

    What did Rajoy reply …….if he could read his notes!

  2. I thought the end of the sentence was ‘we are ready’ rather than ‘we have had it’. I think I will never get to understand Spanish….lo tengo tenido!’

    Or perhaps this is a typical politicians double meaning, as they never seem to say what they mean anywhere in the world. Can anyone forget (or forgive) Bill Clinton? Except Hillary.

    Great blog Jane.

  3. Hi Steve, I don’t think Rajoy replied at all. We’ll have to see how they get on at their televised debate in a couple of weeks.

    Hi Ken – “vamos listos” is a kind of ironic phrase. “We’ve had it” was the best way I could think to translate it. Maybe “we’d be bright sparks” translates it a bit more closely.

    • Hi Jane. I think I’ll switch over and study Mandarin….I think it may be easier somehow ! xx

      • NO, don´t give up. If you do you will miss the opportunity to see politicians behave like guttersnipes – “Hemos tenido la inmensa suerte de poderle dar un puesto a IU quitándoselo al hijo puta”!

        If my daughter used language like that I´d be washing her mouth out with the best sabón money couldn´t buy. I wonder what José Luis Aguirre Borrell would have said. Turning in his grave or……..I really don’t see Cameron or Nick “what´s his name ?” Clegg using that language?

  4. I decided to learn Mandarin one day. I gave up when I found out that “ma” means six different things depending on the intonation of your voice!

    • You’ve convinced me Jane. x

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