Monday, 3 March 2008

FT: PP still has Francoist roots

The FT has published an editorial on the Spanish elections. The PP don't come out very well.

I copy and paste the full text:

Spain’s choice
Published: March 2 2008 18:43 Last updated: March 2 2008 18:43

Spain’s general election campaign, now reaching its climax, has been a dispiriting spectacle. Against the background of an economy weakened by the end of cheap credit and a sharp property market correction, the contenders seem to be trying to bribe or frighten Spanish voters.

That is odd. Spain in the past three decades has become a confident and prosperous democracy. For the first time, wealth has spread throughout what for centuries had been an unevenly developed country, where it had developed at all. If all you did was listen to Spanish politicians, you probably would not guess that.

Spain’s public life has become very polarised. The rightwing opposition Partido Popular, in power for eight years after a 14-year Socialist reign, remains unreconciled to losing the past election, in the wake of the March 2004 Madrid train bombings by north African jihadis.

Instead of acting as a parliamentary opposition, the PP has tried to impugn constitutionally major initiatives of the Socialists, in an effort to paralyse government. Mariano Rajoy, its lacklustre leader, has failed to emerge from the shadow of José María Aznar, the former prime minister, and has colluded in a hysterical campaign by the Catholic hierarchy that calls into question the legitimacy of the government.

José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the prime minister, has been uninspiring. His social policy has aimed at creating a tolerant and decent society. He managed the macroeconomy competently but did little to address structural weaknesses such as low productivity growth, a weak technology base and a huge current account deficit. He has been self-congratulatory on economic prospects, just as he was overconfident about reaching a peace settlement with the Basque separatists of Eta.

The PP has used these negotiations as a stick to beat the government, part of an attempt to conjure up a caricature of a Spain disintegrating as Basques and Catalans demand ever more devolved power.

Mr Aznar also negotiated with Eta, and allied with regional forces, just like the Socialists – as whoever wins next Sunday may well have to do. The PP’s problem is that its current leaders have not completed their journey from Francoist roots to a modern centre-right.

Revealingly, the PP is placing its hopes of victory on Socialist voters staying home; Mr Aznar’s attempt to paint the 2004 Madrid bombings as the work of Eta, despite evidence it was carried out by jihadis, was worth 3m extra votes to Mr Zapatero. It is equally revealing that the Socialists do not appear confident they still have them.


That's what I call a severe corrective:

"The PP’s problem is that its current leaders have not completed their journey from Francoist roots to a modern centre-right."

It is interesting to note that the expats anti-Catalan and rabid cheerleaders of the PP have kept quiet about this one...


kalebeul said...

How many Spanish parties can you think of that have completely rid themselves of totalitarian longings?

Roger said...

Kalebeul: another expat loser and revisionist who justifies PP's roots in Franco, Hitler's ally.

Instead of dogging the isssue, can you define "totalitarian longings" and how the other parties' roots compare to PP's fascist roots?

Alex said...

The FT merely states the obvious. Following the Spanish election from abroad, I can't help but think of another gallego with an annoying voice and a pot belly whenever I hear Rajoy say that "el problema de Zapatero es que no tiene ninguna idea de la nación española."

Of course Rajoy has an idea of the Spanish nation. It comes from somewhere around 1950, it has a small mustache and cheers for Real Madrid.

I'd rather have a leader without a clear idea of "la nación" than a leader whose idea of the nation is "una, grande y libre".


Miquel Marzabal Galano said...

As I state in my blog, even Zapatero seems to have totalitarian ideas when it concerns the Spanish territory (including Catalonia of course).
As long as we are part of Spain we'll remain in trouble and in danger.

Anonymous said...

You live in the past, guys. Franco, Hitler and Mussolini are dead. If one reads your nationalist blogs, one might believe there's a war-like holocaust going on in Spain. So ridiculous.

Rab said...


Do you think that the FT and The Economist also live in the past?

Franco may be dead but his ideology is still pursued by the Partido Popular: Una, Grande y Libre, as Rajoy hinted at the end of the TV "debate".

As for your last comment I would direct you to my post
Fading Nation.

alex said...


Holocaust, no; cultural genocide, yes. And it seems to be quite successful: I have traveled in Valencia and couldn't help but notice how rarely you hear Catalan (or valencià, whatever you want to call it -- it's the same thing) spoken publicly. Sad, but la verdad.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

So why don't you fight for a revival of celtiberian culture instead? celtiberians were the first to live in Iberia according to current knowledge. I guess catalan is a just another latin dialect imposed by the roman empire..?

alex said...

Anonymous, (I really hate to have to use such language, but here I go) this is horseshit. If you think I am in awe before your flawless logic, you're in for a disappointment. Using the celtiberians (from over two thousand years ago, Wikipedia tells me) to justify policies that deliberately seek to eliminate Catalan in the comunitat valenciana is fallacious, dishonest and does not really deserve my time.

How many people care about celtiberian culture/language in Spain in 2008? None, I'm afraid -- except perhaps you. How many people care about Catalan language/culture in Spain in 2008? Roughly 5 million, judging from the number of people who use it as their main language of communication? End of the story.

Thank you.

ian llorens said...

Catalan emigrants, who of you voted for the PP, we lost one House seat to the PP in Barcelona because of the votes of displaced Catalans and I did not do it!!

On a different note, the path to independence is not a referendum in 2009 or 2014. The way to independence is through economic growth. How to get there:
- Sack of our current politicians
- Finances fully transferred to Catalonia
- Multilingual education. All Catalans should be fluent in English, Catalan and Spanish
- Full control of our infrastructures
- Close cooperation between University and companies on growth industries, biotech, healthcare, renewable energies and homeland security
- In 20 years referendum and Independence.

ian llorens said...

Do not you write anymore? I am also pretty busy but I try to post at least once a month.
I hope everything is going OK with you.

Rab said...

Thanks for your message Iain, I am back now. It has been a few busy months!

Rab said...

Sorry Ian, I meant Ian and not Iain, there is a neighbour called Iain...