The runaway train

Carles Puigdemont.

CATALAN president Carles Puigdemont announced that if Cataluña cannot have a referendum it will declare independence anyway.

If he and his government had a clear mandate they might be forgiven for assuming that all Catalans coincide with their own hunger and thirst for independence.

But as the now defunct CiU party galloped ever faster down the independence route a comfortable overall majority dwindled and its successor now needs the support of anarchists to remain in government.

Outside the ‘historic’ autonomies there is a tendency to interpret nationalism as a desire for independence.

Inside Cataluña its current crop of politicians interpret nationalism as permission for it. The situation gets uglier by the minute, but fortunately this is 2017 and not 1936.

Take a seat

PEDRO SANCHEZ, re-enthroned as the PSOE secretary general, trotted out the required platitudes after his victory in the primaries.

“The PSOE won, not me,” he declared with triumphant and insincere modesty. The primaries vote was a victory for him and for the 73,000 or so paid-up party members who wanted him as secretary general and, presumably, as the PSOE’s next presidential candidate.

He and they got what they wanted and now of course, Sanchez will have to find himself a parliamentary seat.

Since the two he occupied in the past were his by default and not fought for in a general election, presumably he will benefit in the same way once again.

Good at winning primaries, our Pedro, but less nifty when it comes to elections.

Danger from within

CRISTINA CIFUENTES, regional president of the Madrid Community had better look out.

Dirt has been dug and now she has been tenuously linked to a minor but dodgy contract awarded years ago when she was regional vice-president.

It’s easy to see where the mud was coming from. Cifuentes refused to cover up when she took over from her predecessor Ignacio Gonzalez, remanded for the money-laundering and misappropriation of public funds that are now habitual amongst Partido Popular politicians.

Cifuentes is well-regarded inside the PP and seen as a viable successor to Mariano Rajoy in the unlikely event of his ever resigning.

“I feel as though I’m a victim of friendly fire,” Cifuentes said recently.

She’s wrong about that: it’s undeniably fire and it’s palpably unfriendly

Enemies united

FRANCE’S newly-elected president Emmanuel Macron formed a government that has united socialists, conservatives, liberals and ecologists.

In Spain that would always be hard to achieve but even more so now that PSOE politicians are having trouble fraternising amongst themselves, let alone with anyone else.


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