••• The International Writers Magazine - Our 20th Year: Our Correspondent in Spain
8M - The Spanish Elections 2019
Spain goes to the polls and women are leading the way to Socialist victory
Before I leap into this month’s essay on the land of flamenco and bullfighters a brief mention of the habit that seems to have emerged amongst politicians and media alike abbreviating the commemoration of an important date with just a two numbers or a number and a letter. Remember 9/11? The horror story in 2001 when Al Qaeda attacked the USA by destroying the two twin towers in Washington and part of the Pentagon. Well, here in Spain we are more or less running out of the 365 days in our Gregorian calendar. Back to Spain.
Last month I reported that the Socialist government on the 15th of February called for general elections to take place on the 28th of April. Like all democratic countries, the shotgun was fired and the campaign began in full swing. Suffice to remember that this country is also celebrating certain regional and town council elections in May, not to forget the European Parliament ones during the same month. So the atmosphere reminds me of my many years in Cornwall when we celebrated the May floral dances announcing the coming of Spring with everyone having a jolly good time.
I wish elections were similar. They are not. The knives and samurais have been unsheathed and there isn’t one political party or candidate to chose from, there are many parties and thousands of candidates, all out campaigning with every possible media supporting their particular ideology.
The main parties are the conservatives (PP), Socialists (PSOE), Ciudadans (every-which-way), Podemos (yes we can) and VOX (new kid on the block). The polls have been having a field day whilst the promises of a bright future as the objective, is the flavor of the day. Trouble is that depending on whether you look right or left the spectrum is literally 180º, many of them complete pie in the sky.
But then isn’t that the beauty of democracy? Or is it? As a general observation we are now living in a society of ‘fake news’, populism and social media, not to mention the phenomena of WhatsApp that is causing distortion of what the real world is all about. Add the advance of information technology, robots, drones, ‘buying on line’ to name a few, and our future faces tremendous uncertainty to move ahead to better the world we live in.
I mention the above as I observe all the slogans and promises that are presented by all and I mean all the above candidates. They seem to be no different to those of past election campaigns. Much ado about nothing. However, regardless of all the hoopla, and putting to one side the general fluff, one thing is certain. Sr. Pedro Sanchez, the present socialist president has the upper hand and has been campaigning in a very different way. He has managed to conquer the outside world with the plethora of trips that he has made and the propaganda has been magnificent. Unlike his socialist predecessor, Rodriguez Zapatero, he is fluent in English and French. There isn’t an international event that he hasn’t been attending plus dozens of other estate visits to other countries around the world. Even Emmanuel Macron, president of France has publicly stated that Sr. Sanchez is a solid statesman and an example for Europe. In other words, he has been on a international swan trip leaving the management of the country in the hands of his female ministers. This brings me on to the next section,
Back home at the ranch, these ‘ladies’ have also been campaigning but in a very different way. Enter the 8th of March, worldwide International Woman’s day.
Most countries around the world were out marching and demanding more equal rights for women. Good on them. Most of the civilized world agrees. Ah! But Spain went one step further. They turned it into a domestic issue with slogans aimed directly at the so called ‘machismo’ that has been one of the government’s main objectives. In other words, the eradication of sexual and domestic violence and above all, total equality of women’s rights in almost everything from employment to education.
The figures speak for themselves. Over 350000 women marched in protest in Madrid, including the main banner held by Spain’s female ministers. 200,000 were the numbers in Barcelona and a similar percentage of the population in every city and town of the country. Why mention this event as different? According to one poll, there are many, Spain is 5th in a ranking of countries where women feel secure, respected, equal and unthreatened.
To put it bluntly, why all the bitching? Here’s why. Back to the election campaign. The charming Sr. Sanchez, plus the possible swing in the female vote because of the above, has placed the socialists, as I go to press in the lead, followed by the every-which-party, the conservatives, ‘we can’ and VOX. There are a number of other parties that range from communists to republicans but that is the present panorama as it stands at the moment.
So what else has been going on?
Trial continues as well as the separatist movement continue. As the country is an election campaign mode, a strict code of canvassing, according to the Constitution is triggered. This includes the removal of all the ‘yellow’ ribbons that are plastered all over the autonomous region. Sr. Torra, the President had no alternative to obey otherwise he woo would have been up before the judges.
Finally, and as usual. Brexit.
The world is aware of what has been going on back in the UK, especially the merry-go-round of voting in Parliament trying to come to some sort of agreement to leave. Cannot comment on the reactions of the other European countries but as far as Spain is concerned the above election campaign has placed Brexit on the backburner.
We’ll see what happens next month when everything comes together and the real fireworks begin.
I read in one of our local rags today that the international media states that the fear of the rise of the extreme right (VOX) may affect the forthcoming elections in Spain. Nothing is further from the truth, labelling this right wing party as extreme right. VOX is NOT like Le Penn in France. Far from it. Their manifesto has brought to the surface the fear of the breakup of Spain because of the plethora of left wing parties that includes, as I have been reporting for months, the move towards communism or bolivarian totalitarianism by the power of Podemos.
Pedro Sanchez will probably win again, but not because of the fear of the right but because the right itself is in complete disarray. PP and Ciudadans don't know how to handle VOX because this party has brought out a red card to stop them from buttering up to the left to win votes. Rajoy failed tremendously in not stopping the creeping extreme left during the previous seven years of government. All he did was save the economy by making sure the banking system did not collapse completely ignoring the rest.
The fight is on alright but the reasons for success of once again the left is not because they are reasonable centre left party. On the contrary, everyday that goes by Sanchez governs BY DECREE, ie without parliamentary debate, in other words using very conceivable trick in the extreme left wing book to legally take over the government.
© James Skinner 8.4.19
Spain - The Next European Problem
...whoever controls the media controls the ‘people’. Spain is no different. But if a government is able to combine the above three elements it is virtually similar to a totalitarian state.