The good old days

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Downing Street garden


ANYONE who remembers Jose Maria Aznar’s ‘Leave, Sr Gonzalez’ in the mid-1990s felt the cockles of their heart warming up at the sight of the two ex-presidents talking together in Madrid.

They were speaking at a technology forum moderated by the former Partido Popular Minister of Defence, Eduardo Serra and inevitably politics overlaid many of the questions and replies.

How reassuring to hear voices of reason cutting through the high-pitched hysterical babble of the pre-Investiture debates and commentaries, old-timers declared.

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The old foes could safely ignore their successors’ red lines because Gonzalez has never come out as a full-fat Sanchista, while Aznar hinted that he believes Pablo Casado’s PP should abstain and enable Sanchez to govern.

It almost fooled those who were around at the height of Gonzalez-Aznar enmity into sighing for the good old days.

Those days never existed and Gonzalez and Aznar were only prepared to chat amicably because neither is important to national politics and both know they no longer influence them. 

Seen and not seen

VOX is everything Spain has fled from since Francisco Franco’s death in 1975.

Santiago Abascal’s party hardly echoes the thoughts and feelings of the majority of the population, but what you see is what you get. 

They might be bigots but they aren’t hypocrites.

The same can’t be said for Podemos at the other end of Spain’s political spectrum.

Strictly speaking it’s Unidas Podemos which incorporates Izquierda Unida, the former Communist party.  IU and its leader Alberto Garzon command respect but have little clout and the lead singer is Pablo Iglesias.

He wouldn’t let Pedro Sanchez enter the Moncloa in March 2016 and he’s doing his damnedest to prevent it in 2019.

With martyred altruism Iglesias said before the failed Investiture debate that he would forego the vice-presidency that was his due.

He knew the bargain he still intended to drive would scupper any chance of a coalition on Sanchez’s terms and prevent his return to the Moncloa.

Iglesias did so while preaching democracy but not practising it.  Worse in his own way than Abascal because the Podemos supremo is both a hypocrite and a bigot.

A right old two-and-eight

OH, the gloating!  Oh, the pleasure on the faces of Pablo Casado and Albert Rivera when Iglesias gave an encore of his 2016 party trick and prevented Pedro Sanchez from becoming president last week.

The Right might be at sixes and sevens, but it’s nothing compared to the Left’s two-and-eight.

No need for a love-in

IT’S not a bad idea to have coalition government whose members are not enamoured of each other.

A little mutual distrust and ill-disguised resentment is always more convincing than false smiles and promises of partnership made in heaven.

Remember the cringe-making David Cameron-Nick Clegg love-in at the 10 Downing Street garden in May 2010?

Remember how it went pear-shaped in 2012 and ended belly-up in 2015?

But a coalition is something that Spain has yet to experience and judging by the Investiture debacle it won’t happen in the foreseeable future.

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