Degrees of uncertainty

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NEW PASTURES: Soraya Saenz de Santamaria was Rajoy’s favourite. Credit: PP Communidad de Madrid/Wikipedia

FORMER regional president of the Madrid Communiy Cristina Cifuentes had a Master’s degree-that-never-was in Autonomous Law from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. Partido Popular leader Pablo Casado’s degree, also in Autonomous Law, apparently has a similar pedigree.

Pedro Sanchez’s ex-Health minister Carmen Monton, with a Master’s in Inter-disciplinary Gender Studies from the same university, was the next to have her academic record torn to shreds.

Cifuentes and Casado were indifferent students who obtained indifferent Law degrees while Monton studied Medicine and her Master’s degree should have been a walkover.

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All the same it looks as though she fudged it and resigned in order to spare the government embarrassment rather than face the gossips down.

But isn’t it time for over-generous Rey Juan Carlos University to face the glare of the interrogator’s lamp as well as big-name degree-seekers?

Exit ‘Rajoy’s girl’

SORAYA SAENZ DE SANTAMARIA left politics because Pablo Casado took over the Partido Popular.

Former vice-president of the Spanish government Santamaria was earmarked to succeed Mariano Rajoy, the boss who depended on and trusted her.

But for the first time the Partido Popular held something approaching Primaries and that first taste of freedom produced Pablo Casado.

The paid-up card-carriers wanted Santamaria but 57 per cent of the delegates they appointed went for Casado instead and inflicted the first big public defeat on “Rajoy’s girl.”

For many insiders it was a chance to settle old scores with Santamaria who rarely bothered to oil the party machinery and Casado is the leader that the Partido Popular decided it needs now, free of the lingering miasma of corruption.

There is no room for Santamaria in Casado’s party, so rather than accept humiliating crumbs from the rich man’s table she’s off to eat better on her own.

Young fogey Pablo Casado is the best thing that could have happened to the PSOE party but whether he’s the best thing that could have happened to the PP remains to be seen.

The junior fixer

EL PEQUEÑO NICOLAS is on trial and faces a six-year prison term.

Now 24, he was a junior fixer with a spectacular line in deception.

He convinced those twice or three times his age that he was linked to Spain’s intelligence service CNI, former vice-president Soraya Saenz de Santamaria and even, he hinted, royalty.

He was photographed with former ministers and Madrid regional president Esperanza Aguirre as well as Jose Maria Aznar, inveigling his way into the official reception on the day Felipe VI was installed as king in 2014.

The young and talented conman tripped up when he tried to swindle businessman Francisco Martínez de la Hidalga out of  €300,000 by posing as a government representative with a cock and bull story about a property in Guinea.

The police warned De la Hidalga that he was the victim of fraud, and that was the beginning of the end for Nicolas Gomez Iglesias, who was arrested in 2014.

Doutbtless he’s now expecting all those friends in high places come to his aid.

Scar tissue

A VIDEO celebrating the Spanish Constitution’s 40th anniversary shows two Civil War combatants chatting to each other.

One is 102 and the other 98 but Podemos supremo Pablo Iglesias complained of the video’s “false equidistance” presumably because one fought for Franco.

So he didn’t like seeing two old men talking about their families and lives on equal terms?

Not everyone has forgiven what happened between 1936 and 1939 and not everyone can forget but opening old wounds only causes more pain.

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