Tuesday, November 02, 2004

You might want to o’erleap this short primer on one aspect of Spanish politics…. Until the 20th century, it was normal for seekers of government office to rely on local political barons to garner votes in any way possible. These were called caciques. And the system, naturally enough, caciquismo. It’s supposed to have died out decades ago but up here in Galicia the reports of its death appear to have been much exaggerated. Our friend Mr Fraga now finds himself between the rock of two such local barons and the hard place of his party’s leaders in Madrid. The former have emerged from the long grass since Fraga’s frailty became undeniable and are now positioning themselves for the succession. In this, they’re assisted by the fact that they control the rural vote that keeps Fraga’s party in power. Being a consummate politician of some 50 years standing, Mr Fraga is about to ruthlessly sacrifice his Madrid-anointed successor in order to keep them on board and to prevent an election-losing local schism. As one commentator put it over the weekend, it is like living in the 19th century, especially as one of the barons was ousted from power only 2 years ago for dodgy business practices connected with the clean-up of the oil from the Prestige tanker. Understandably, the people in Madrid are not at all happy with this local farce as it’s doing little for their image as a modern, progressive party, quite different from the corrupt Socialists. One irony in all this is that the leader of the PP, Mr Rajoy, hails from Galicia so must know a thing or two about the local personalities and their way of doing things. He professes support for Fraga on every conceivable occasion but I suspect he's praying for a fatal heart attack or stroke. Anything less than this would surely leave Fraga still in control of the reins and the reputation of the national party. On horseback, of course.

What next in Catalunia Section: The government of Catalunia has joined forces with those of Aragón, the Balearic Islands and two provinces in southern France to form the Euro-Region of The Mediterranean Pyrenees. Their sole purpose is to lobby Brussels for more money for local development. Of course.

There is enormous coverage of the US elections in the Spanish papers. This reflects the fact that all national journals here are still very heavyweight. Very middle-class oriented, it has been said. As a result, journalism in Spain ranks amongst the top professions, something which would surely be greeted with incredulity [and envy] by both British and, I suspect, American hacks. I seem to recall that, in the UK, journalists now rank just ahead of estate agents. Or was it just behind?

As I have a counter on this blog page, I can check the number of hits I get each day and also, to some extent, their provenance. Sadly, I do. One of the more fascinating aspects [honest!] is the information about how people have arrived at my blog by using a search engine. So, in the last few days, I have been ‘hit’ by people looking for information on ‘superwomans details’, the ‘C. de E. in Vigo’ and ‘roadside brothels’. Regular readers will know that La C. de E. is [according to its ads] Vigo’s premier brothel. Is it the same person in each case, I ask myself.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"On horseback, of course."

To which one might ask, "On which end of the horse will he (Fraga) be riding?"

As to later part of this blog...

Colin, please forgive me. I admit it. I'm busted! Yes, it was I who was seeking information so as to put out some "feelers" (probably not the best choice of words here) on the local "entertainment" before I moved to Galicia.

[NOTE: The above statement would not be as funny - at least to me - if it weren't so incredibly untrue.]

A.

Anonymous said...

"On horseback, of course."

To which one might ask, "On which end of the horse will he (Fraga) be riding?"

As to later part of this blog...

Colin, please forgive me. I admit it. I'm busted! Yes, it was I who was seeking information so as to put out some "feelers" (probably not the best choice of words here) on the local "entertainment" before I moved to Galicia.

[NOTE: The above statement would not be as funny - at least to me - if it weren't so incredibly untrue.]

A.