RECENTLY, there’s been much coverage in the Spanish press about the high level of corruption cases here involving members of both mainstream political parties, each hurling accusations at the other. Corruption scandals are now so numerous that Spanish TV news lump them together in one swift round-up.
Ranging from King Felipe’s sister’s indictment for tax fraud plus her husband’s alleged embezzlement to the alleged slush fund operated by Spain’s governing conservative party, these seem to pop up in Spanish society at so many levels. From admired footballer Lionel Messi, world-famous opera singer Montserrat Caballe, former Barcelona football club president Josep Núñez, to former president of the Catalan regional government Jordi Pujol – all accused of tax fraud.
In a recent damning report, Spain’s Audit Court found nearly all Spanish political parties guilty of financial crimes.
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Ironically, all this corruption has inspired a couple of Spanish board games. Both D€mocracy and Corruptopolis invite players to grab at power or become the most corrupt, reflecting real-life scandals. D€mocracy’s goal is to gain and stay in power for as long as it takes. Anything goes: from leaking documents slandering your opponents, to shunting inquisitive judges off politically sensitive cases, to buying up media companies to control your campaign coverage.
Alternatively, Corruptopolis’s aim is to spotlight the scandals that have enveloped politicians of the left and right as well as businesses, trade unions and football clubs.
Well, glasshouses and stones come to mind but, hopefully, Brits will be the last to throw anything in light of their politicians’ past expenses shenanigans and Transparency International’s 2013 findings that 66 per cent of its UK respondents felt that political parties were ‘corrupt/extremely corrupt.’
But, you know, scandal/ corruption’s also about less obvious aspects of life. Like NHS hospital managers too focused on business, cash and targets, not patient care – with fatal results as in Mid-Staffordshire.
Police going after ‘easy’ targets to improve clear-up rates. BBC management turning a blind eye to Savile’s activities. Market scams, rate fixing, etc.
The apparent inability to find an unbiased judge to head a much-needed inquiry into wide-ranging, large-scale child abuse.
Based on these criteria, the UK is hardly corruption/scandal-free.
As D€mocracy’s creator says: “Our politicians never stop surprising us.” I couldn’t have put it better myself. And, you may have noticed, I didn’t.
Nora Johnson’s thrillers Landscape of Lies, Retribution, Soul Stealer, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.89;£0.79) and iBookstore. Profits to Cudeca.