Writing in 1976, the historian Raymond Carr asked whether a new democratic Spain would "inherit the weakness of politics in Spain from the Second Republic [1931-36] through to the opposition to Franco, namely: the incapacity to cooperate; the penchant for factionalism". "Wherever three Spaniards are gathered together," said Carr, "two political parties are formed." Well, until recently, one might have been right to say that the PP-PSOE hegemony had seen an end to this but the recent eruption of new parties on both the Left and the Right might argue otherwise. Up here in Galicia, we have the example of the Galician Nationalist Bloc, which is a broad church of many constituent parts. Though fewer than before, after a split in 2012.
A few more points from Carr:
- Spain lost her empire [to the USA in 1898], at the very time other powers were staking claims to colonies. This must surely have increased Spain's already immense sense of loss.
- In 1896, Joaquín Costa declared that "Spain must no longer be ruled by those who ought to be behind bars, in lunatic asylums, or on a school bench." This remains an aspiration of Podemos, Ciudadanos and the other new parties.
- The political thinking of Primo de Rivera [dictator: 1923-31] was primitive, personal and naive. Unpatriotic professional politicians had destroyed Spain; a patriotic amateur would restore her. Thank God there are no more amateurs in Spanish politics. Other than President Rajoy, of course.
- Per Sr de Rivera: "Doctrines of individual rights are the arabesques of unemployed intellectuals." Have things changed?
- In 1933, after 2 years of a left-wing government, the right-wing politician, Gil Robles told his supporters: "We must impose our will with all the force of our rightness, and with other forces, if this is insufficient. The cowardice of the Right has allowed those who come from the cesspools of iniquity to take control of the destinies of the Fatherland." They don't make speeches like this anymore.