Well, the Spanish national comic opera has entered its 3rd Act, with the resignation of the Minister of Justice. Some say this is because of his general incompetence but others see it as a success for the Opposition’s strategy of attacking the judge for his lack of objectivity in respect of corruption charges against businessmen close to the party. Then there was the – apparently fatal - issue of the minister’s illegal hunting a weekend or two ago, which even his own party found hard to defend. It’ll be interesting to see whether, with voting less than a week away, all this impacts on the government’s narrow lead in both the Basque and Galician regional elections.
Just when I admit there’s a growing possibility the EU will get its crisis-response act together, our friend Ambrose Evans-Pritchard weighs in with two articles [here and here] which claim there’s mutiny in the air. But I guess there’s a chance this will actually increase the odds in favour of a solution/compromise acceptable to all 27 states. Or at least to those in the eurozone.
Incidentally, the error-riddled version of the first of these articles available at 7am UK time suggests that, if the DT really is paying Australians to proof-read copy, they’re wasting their money.
As for Spain’s crisis and how it happened, here’s a translation of a major El País analysis, courtesy of Edward Harrison, via Charles Butler at Ibex Salad. Charles himself has one or two pertinent observations. As for mine, if I crawled through my posts of the past few years, I suspect I could find something very similar to this apt observation from El País -The Spanish economic miracle was a mirage. Except that I – and others, of course - was saying this before it evaporated. It’s because it was so bloody obvious that I find it astonishing the current government has got clean away with doing nothing to take the heat out of it and failing to address Spain’s underlying structural problems. At least over in the UK, Gordon Brown stands no chance of leading his party to victory in next year’s general elections. And, meanwhile, he faces another wipe-out in the European elections. Which is exactly how things should be. But perhaps the situation here will start to turn next Sunday.
Which is a good enough lead into the Galician elections. On these, I’ve [again?] noticed how ad hominem everything is. The 'positive' party ads and hoardings portray the leaders as men of stature. And the negative ones seem merely to seek to undermine the standing of the alternative candidates for the position of King Rat. So, for example, the leader of the PP is featured as a ventriloquist’s doll on the knee of the octogenarian ex President, Manuel Fraga. Does all this, I wonder, play to some residual Spanish [Galician?] need, deep in their psyche, to believe in strong men. Caudillos, even. Probably not.
Well, I returned to the scene of my parking offence today and what did I find but two motorcycle cops putting tickets on the cars of three more victims. When I asked one of them where the sign was, he pointed to two of them outside the square, though admittedly just before you enter it. When I asked him if these were new, he said they’d been up for two years. I didn’t ask whether he and his colleague were now on commission. Anyway, here are the signs. If you only speak Spanish, you won’t know that agas is Gallego for solo. Obviously.
After taking these pix and writing the above paragraph, I read in a local paper that there’s a police campaign against illegal parking running until early March. After which I guess we can all return to normal. This ambiguity about rules and the general arbitrariness of life here does rather remind me of both the Middle and Far East. Which is not to say the Spanish aren’t lovely people and that Spain isn’t a great place to live. Just different. Swing and roundabouts.