Sunday, 25 June 2017

Ready to cooperate

Theresa May Theresa May

THERESA MAY’S ‘dear John’ letter to Brussels activating Article 50 and Brexit was achingly polite.

But May did not get off to the best of starts as every member of the remaining EU family homed in on a barelyveiled warning about cooperation on security and terrorism and compared it to blackmail.

On the other hand Spain doesn’t do too badly in combatting terrorism on its home ground, with a regular haul of would-be jihadists. And May would do well to remember that cooperation cuts two ways.

No laughing matter

CASANDRA VERA, a 21- year-old from Murcia received a one-year prison sentence for joking on Twitter about Luis Carrero Blanco, Franco’s prime minister and probable successor.

His car was blown up by ETA in 1973 and Vera was recently found guilty of exalting terrorism and humiliating its victims.

The jokes that Vera tweeted between 2013 and 2016 have been doing the rounds since 1973 and some were much funnier than Vera’s:Spain is, after all, the home of black humour.

But pursuing her under antiterrorism legislation doesn’t put Spain’s legal system in a good light and doubtless will provide ample opportunities for more jokes.

Deviating from the script

WHEN the then Spanish president Jose Maria Aznar signed up for the Iraq war he stressed that the troops would provide ‘humanitarian support.’

There wasn’t much humane about the Iraq war but the Spanish contingent in Nayaf did as good a job as they could.

Their softly-softly approach, understanding of local customs and politics was popular with the Iraqis and getting good results.

That wasn’t what the Americans wanted and instead the Spanish were accused in April 2004 of ‘sitting on their arses’ and ‘watching American soldiers getting shot.’

Unlike the US troops and the Blackwater merceneries the Spanish were aware that wars are not fought or won according to Hollywood scripts.

Vote-catchers

NICOLAS MADURO halfheartedly backed off from his intention of stripping Venezuela’s parliament of its powers but before that, Spain reacted as would be expected.

All the country’s main political parties condemned the attempt except Podemos, some of whose leading figures were in the past wellpaid to assess and advise Hugo Chavez and later Nicolas Maduro, his successor.

It was necessary first to “focus on the complexity of the matter” explained Pablo Bustinduy, responsible for Podemos’s international relations.

Maduro was ‘democratically’ elected, he unblushingly maintained.

Next he’ll be saying that Kim Jong-un was, too.

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