Tag Archives: Angel Acebes

PP: Acebes & Zaplana out, Camps & Aguirre in

The PP has had a change of leadership. As predicted, this has involved the sidelining of Angel Acebes and Eduardo Zaplana. The new members of what Rajoy is calling his 'own team' are to be la niña de Rajoy, Francisco Camps (president of the Comunitat Valenciana) and Esperanza Aguirre (president of the Comunidad de Madrid). Both Camps and Aguirre lead PP strongholds which gained seats in the recent election,

This isn't a shift towards the centre, mind. Aguirre and Camps are both plenty right-wing when they want to be. Check out Graeme's obssesive enlightening series of posts about Aguirre if you want a better idea of how she ticks.

Meanwhile, the final final final (pero que finales, eh?) results are in and CiU lost a seat to the PP. This is apparently due to the postal vote taking ages to arrive (what?! in Spain?! surely not!). This leaves CiU on 10 seats in the parliament. They're still talking about a pact between CiU and the PSOE but I somehow doubt it. That would mean alliance in Madrid but opposition in Barcelona, which would be a pretty unsatisfactory situation for everyone, parlicularly the electorate. By the way, check out this post (in Spanish) about the peculiarities of the Spanish electoral system and how it encourages a sort of bi-partisan situation. This image in particular is interesting, as it shows how many seats the IU might have if a different system were adopted. Give you a clue: it's seven times as many as they have now.

Could this finally be the shaming Losantos deserves?

Shock-jock from the Catholic radio network La Cope, Federico Jiménez Losantos, is being sued by Madrid mayor Alberto Ruíz-Gallardón over accusations the radio personality made concerning the mayor's attitude to the victims of the 11-M bombings in Madrid. Apparently (and I have to trust El País on this, as I never listen to El Cope), Losantos repeated various accusations against Gallardón, especially that he "didn't want to know who killed 200 people in his city".

In a slightly odd move, Losantos is trying to call some top PP officials including Comunidad de Madrid premier, Esperanza Aguirre, Eduardo Zaplana and Ángel Acebes to his defence, I assume as character witnesses. These people represent the right-wing of the PP and they recently won something of a power-struggle in the party against Gallardón's slightly less extreme wing. They're also well known for strongly disliking Gallardón, despite (or because of?) his popularity among voters in the capital.

So either these people will stand up and defend their mate, Losantos (the same guy who openly claimed that "Zapatero has an enormous, and growing, responsibility for 11-M"), or they will leave him in the lurch and risk his ire on the airwaves. For the PP, one would think that their obvious choice would be to call Losantos and say something along the lines of "Sorry old chap, election's coming up dontchaknow, can't have this nonsense… firm friend… you're best off on your own…" (at least that's what the Tories would do). But might this not be difficult for the PP leadership? Could it be risky for them to alienate the far-right sector of Spanish society so close to an election? Or… could they use this as an opportunity to finally twist the knife they stuck in Gallardón and show their strength?

Actually, the court proceedings start after the election, but I suspect that journalists will be keen to know just what the PP's leadership plan to do with Losantos (and if they're not, they bloody well should be). If they can avoid this serious question in the run-up to the election (and they certainly shouldn't), what does it say about a party which desperately wants to wrest power from the Socialists? Either they're with Losantos or they drop him: time to decide.

Acebes misuses the 'F' word

It is a fascist practice to attribute to a political party intentions that it does not have

So says Angel Acebes, attributing the fascist tag – most incorrectly – to the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC). The reason that Acebes has decided to use the 'F' word so ill-advisedly is that the PSC is campaigning for a 'yes' vote in the forthcoming Estatut referendum with the catchphrase 'The PP will use your 'No' vote against Catalonia'.

Obviously, the PP find this grossly unfair and have thus redefined fascism in order to use the label against their Catalan opponents. An amusing aspect of this new definition of fascism is that by definition, it also applies to the PP who, by trying to redefine the term in order that it apply to the PSC, are themselves attributing false labels and intentions to their rivals.

Another amusing thing about all this is that the PP seem to be missing the point. This has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with two radically opposed Catalan parties: Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and Ciutadans de Catalunya (CC). Both of these parties are opposed to the Estatut, but for wildly differing reasons. ERC say it doesn't go far enough, CC say it goes too far and that all nationalism should be dropped due to its divisive effects.

In their 'yes' campaign, the PSC are trying to warn ERC and CC 'no' voters that they are only really helping the PP with their 'no' votes. While the truth of this angle is debatable, it seems pretty obvious that the PP are not, and never will be, considered a genuine threat to Catalan politics. It is the fear of helping them out in Madrid which the PSC is trying to capitalise on – and they'll probably be successful.

Spain Herald – constructing insanity

Today's highlight in the Spain Herald comes not from John Aust's spasmodically mental Iberian Notes (which he seems to be paid for), but from Isabel Durán who is, I believe, the team's only female mentalist.

To work for the Spain Herald, you need to pass a series of exhaustative interview phases. First of all, you have to be a right winger… obviously, you couldn't be a homosexual (I mean socialist) and write for such a tough, no nonsense publication. Next, you have to spontaneously vomit on seeing an image of Josep-Lluís Carod Rovira. It doesn't matter if it's a picture of him in his swimming trunks: you must vomit immedaitely and then sream and scratch the picture until it's gone. Only then can you try the third stage. This is the one where you're shown a black card, and have to say it's white. But you really have to believe it too.

So a peaceful pro-nationalist demonstration in Barcelona is all part of ETA's campaign? God, I feel so stupid! If I'd known that I was effectively donating rifles and explosives to ETA by marching for the right to decide in Barcelona, I would never have done it. (Actually, I would… it's an open secret among those of us who live in Catalonia that when ETA set a bomb, or kill a policeman, or extort money, or make their silly addresses, we all have a big party in Plaça Sant Jaume, and no Spanish people are allowed to come, in fact we taunt them about it).

So Isabel's got a bee in her bonnet about ETA, about Catalans and about March 11th. Whoa! Hold on! That March 11th?! That famous ETA attack, remember? Isabel remembers Angel Acebes' words from the 11th and 12th of March very well. He did insist that it looked like ETA were responsible. But Isabel!! It came out afterwards that he was lying! Yes that's right, sweet and sexy Angel lied to the entire country. And to the Basque country and to Catalonia too (because, perversely, their citizens were allowed to vote in the Spanish election!).

Finally, I just have to draw attention to a couple of claims about the PP (whoops I mean AVT) demo in Madrid over the weekend. there were not a million and a half people there. You'd be lucky if there fifty thousand. Seriously, Isabel: LAY OFF THE CRACK. OR GET PROFESSIONAL HELP.

Acebes claims transparency after March 11th

After the post-fascist PP rushed to blame ETA for the Madrid bombings, the Spanish people reacted with disgust and anger. The Partido Popular/Popular Party (PP) lost in the general election days later.

Now, Angel Acebes has claimed that he told the truth. He claims that there still could have been some ETA involvement (despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence to support such a claim). He also states that while the PP maintained the moral high ground with complete transparency, other groups used the bombings as an excuse to rouse the people of Spain, solely for their own political ambitions.

These 'others' are essentially the groups José Maria Aznar referred to as "the PSOE [a mainstream socialist party], the anarchists and the communists" – a telling remark with the very clear intention of harking back to a time when everyone was either a good catholic or a raving Stalinist – those happy days known as the dictatorship, during which Aznar's and most of the former PP ministers' families benefited from patronage and support for Franco's illegal regime.

In fact the PP tried to use the bombings for their own political gain, but in a far more sinister way than those on the left wing who merely supported independent and genuinely spontaneous demonstrations. On the eve of the election day (the 14th of March), Aznar and his deputies attempted to force through a temporary law which would have suspended the general elections until further notice. The significance of this attempt cannot be overestimated. Nor should the PP's attempts to make itself seem like a centrist party cloud the truth that most party members and ministers were at some time dedicated followers of the dictatorship which overthrew a democratic republic in the 1930s.

Manuel Fraga, PP grandee and president of Galicia, frequently addressed major PP conferences with all major party leaders present (including Aznar and Acebes along with the imbecilic former foreign minister Ana Palacio). Before the reintroduction of democracy, Fraga had another job. He was the minister of propaganda and information under General Franco, and many saw him as the number three fascist in the Spanish junta.

So this is the PP, a party that Tony Blair was happy to do considerable business with, despite the fact that it openly harboured elements with similar ideas to those of the BNP. The PP oversaw numerous policies with roots directly in the dictatorship including the re-introduction of compulsory catholic religious education in schools (now to be repealed), and the establishment of the 'Plan Hidratico' which would divert the precious water of the Ebre (which benefits the farms and valleys of Catalunya and Castellón) to benefit instead the farms and valleys of the far more Spanish South.

Besides this, Aznar used public money to fund not only his own daughter's wedding (at which Blair was a witness, effectively feasting and gorging off the work of Spanish workers) and spent an incredible $2 million of state funds in his efforts to get the Congressional Medal of Honor.

And these are the people who gripe about a terrorist group (ETA) with allegedly fewer than 1000 members. The real danger to Spain over the last seven years – indeed, since the 1930's – is the presence of a far right wing minority so shameless and malicious that they intentionally hurt autonomous regions of Spain with poor investment, high taxes and a sort of smirky hatred.

The PP represent everything that is wrong with Spain: cruelty, arrogance, racism, fascism, greed and corruption. That they were thrown out by the Spanish people is something that should be celebrated and remembered.