THE FINAL ELECTION 'DEBATE'
- I watched a recording of this last night and I think I can safely say it's impossible to imagine it taking place on British TV. The abiding memory will be of 2 well-prepared men - the leaders of Spain's 2 main parties – simultaneously hurling both statistics and insults as if their political lives depended on the outcome. Which they do, of course. Personally, I felt the socialist PSOE leader came out on top, if only because he regularly called the PP President a corrupt liar and a man unfit to lead the country. The media, of course, went for the man who represented their particular end of the political spectrum.
- A view from the UK on the debate: Here's the Daily Telegraph's take.And The Local's view, if you haven't had enough. .
- The result?: We now wait to see whether the 5% lead of the governing PP party is eroded over the next 4 days. Though we won't know until Sunday, as further polls are banned.
- Voting scandal: It's reported that more than 50% of Spaniards who live overseas won't be able vote because of farragosos procedimientos. Or 'convoluted procedures'. Unsurprisingly, this is said to favour the governing PP party.
GOVERNING SPAIN: There are 5 levels of administration here - Supranational (the EU, of course), national, regional, provincial and municipal. And it's widely felt that at least one of these is superfluous. Ironically, it was hoped that pushing urban-planning power down to the last of them and thus take things closer to citizen scrutiny would reduce corruption but, as I noted the other day, the result was entirely the opposite. Astonishingly . . .
SPAIN'S TWO TIERS: Spain has long had 2 levels of employment – the well-paid, secure individuals (usually older) on the one hand and the poorly paid, insecure employees (usually the young) on the other. Indeed, during Monday's slugfest, the socialist leader flourished a letter from the mother of a young man whose salary – at €300 euros a month – is well below the legal minimum. To say the least, he's not unique. But 2-tierism is endemic in Spain. For one thing, serious powers – e. g. over health and education – are devolved to the regions and this results in large differences between delivery of these as between rich and poor regions. A list of other 'two-tierism' or excess might include:
- Supreme Courts in each of Spain's 17 regions ('autonomous communities').
- Companies which are in bed with the administration and those that aren't.
- Those who can afford Spain's complex and indescribably slow judicial process and those who can't.
- Those who are plugged into employment opportunities (los enchufados) and those who aren't.
- Those (many) who have immunity from prosecution or have special court rights (los aforados) and those who don't
- Those who get government pardons after guilty verdicts and those who don't (99.99999% of the population).
- Monopoly or quasi-monopoly suppliers and normal businesses.
- Those in a position to fraudulently avail themselves of (badly controlled) EU largesse and those who aren't.
FINALLY . . . POLITICS AND WHORES: These are 2 of Spain's most prominent aspects of course. And here's a lovely illustration of this reality, kindly sent to me by my friend Trevor The Baldie of Orneta. I should explain that 'illusions' in Spanish has positive connotations. More like 'dreams' than 'self-deceptions'.
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