Tuesday, February 03, 2009

We all know that obeying rules is not one of the outstanding characteristics of the Spanish people. Or the Basque, Catalan and Galician people, for that matter. But I have some sympathy with them all. For it can be hard to know what the law is. Or what it will be tomorrow. This thought is prompted by the latest twist in the situation around the Coastal Law of some 20 years ago, which gave at least the impression of banning construction within a certain distance of the sea. More recently, the central government – or at least some regional governments – seemed to react, rather belatedly perhaps, to the concretisation of much of the country’s coastline by strengthening this law. But now Madrid has announced that the law is to be ‘eased’, in favour of all those who ignored whatever the previous law was and had properties built on or near the beach. Like this chap, whom I’ve previously cited. So, now we have done roundabouts, is there a jurist out there who can tell us exactly what the law is? Or at least what it should be. Or even what it appears to be. And, while you’re at it, why a British couple down in Andalucia had their house bulldozed without compensation for ‘illegally’ building miles from the sea. I don’t suppose the answer is that neither of them holds a senior position in the PSOE party.

The allegedly British principle of Divide and Rule is usually meant to apply to one’s enemies. So it’s intriguing to see the PP party here applying it to itself. And, in the process, amending it to Divide and Lose Electoral Support, Even When There’s A Massive Economic Crisis For Which the Government Should Be Carrying The Can. It’s all about internal spying in Madrid but the imbroglio is harder to understand than the plot of "The Ipcress File". We desperately need a tutorial from Graeme over at South of Watford. Who is very up on anything involving his favourite lady, La Presidenta of the Madrid region, Espe Aguirre.

Back here in Galicia, the electoral poster of the socialist PSOE party is simply the profile of the head of the current president of the Xunta, with the words The President below it. Presumably this is meant to stress his main claim to retention of the position – viz. that he already holds it. I can’t see this working in, say, the UK but I guess it might here. Where they like their strong men/caudillos. The previous PP incumbent, Sr Fraga, was in power for 16 or 20 years and dated back to the Franco regime. But this is nothing compared to the reign of the socialist president of the Andalucian region, who’s has been in the job for around 50 years, I think. And is rumoured to be giving tutorials to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Finally, for those interested in modern Galicia and who can read Spanish, here’s an interesting article from El País.


Cesare said...

No that much: Fraga was in power from Oct 1989 until March 2005 (15 years and a half). Chaves is in power in Andalusia since 1990 (then, nearly 19 years). But the Socialist Party is on power there since 1978. In Scotland and Wales Labour Party was in power since Devolution until very recently in the Scottish case).

Colin said...

Thanks, Cesare. But there is, of course, a difference between the same party and the same person being in power for very long periods of time.