Josep Lluis Carod Rovira, president of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya and vice-President of the Generalitat has finally announced that we won’t seek re-election as the party’s leader. This is the result of about two years’ wrangling within the party over which direction it should adopt to gain more power in Catalonia.
Carod has been a divisive figure in Spanish and Catalan politics (but no more than pretty much any other political leader), and while he led ERC to large gains in 2004, many ERC supporters failed to turn out for the party after it accepted José Montilla as President of the Generalitat. Still, his strategy, as I understand it, has worked pretty well considering that the PSC has definitely radicalised somewhat in a failed effort to snatch Catalanist voters from ERC. Indeed, the drop in support for Esquerra in the recent elections was the result of a terrible election campaign (apparently run by Puigcercós), and large-scale abstention, rather than people actually going and voting for different parties.
This means that Joan Puigcercós will very likely be the next president of the party, unless one of the alternative currents like Esquerra Independentista manage to pull off a coup and nick the top job. Unlikely.
UPDATE: Carod Rovira has now made it clear that he things that Puigcercós should do the honourable thing and follow his example by leaving the way clear for a new leadership. Puigcercós will almost certainly ignore this friendly advice. Carod has also stated that he’ll support the candidature of a new leader, opening up the chance of a genuine contest for the leadership.
Check out the classy pro-Franco comment at the Internet Archive…
I like the bit about dwarfs, though.
A depressing article at The Guardian discusses the death-toll of the Iraq war, in which between 700,000 and 1.5 million people have died. All studies into the human impact of the war except the Iraq Body Count now estimate a death-toll greater than the total killed by Saddam Hussein in 30 years of dictatorship.
There’s your moral intervention.
UPDATE: Bush has given a highly upbeat speech about how it was all worth it, despite “a high cost in lives and treasure” – whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. I mean seriously, fuck. Treasure? What the hell is the man on about?
Will Nick Cohen, who flip-flopped on the war before settling in favour of indiscriminate suffering and death (tough decision so he must have been right… right?) – will Cohen also give a speech to say “Non, je ne regrette rien”…? No doubt it’ll be rammed with ‘thought experiments’ and other nonsense, though hopefully not references to ‘treasure’.
Steve Fullarton was the last survivor of the 500 Scots who fought with the International Brigades against General Franco’s rebels in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. Aged just 18, and halfway through his engineering apprenticeship when he crossed the Pyrenees in April 1938, he was also one of the youngest of the 2,300 men and women from the British Isles – of whom nearly one in four died – who enlisted as soldiers or medics to defend the Spanish Republic. Indeed, he had to lie about his age, since the Communist Party – the recruiting agent for the volunteers – had a policy of only accepting those aged over 21.
Read the full obituary here.
US investment bank Bear Stearns begs for government bailout.
Meanwhile, Bush says he’s “confident that the economy will improve soon”. Well of course he is. He knows absolutely nothing about how it works.
So I finally get to enjoy the terrace and this is the first thing I see. Accusations that I’ll use any excuse to get back to my Mac will not be entertained.
It looks like it’s coming from the direction of the airport.
UPDATE: It’s a plastics factory in Polinyà (miles away) and it has hit the evening news. You saw it here first.
Incidentally, I tried sending my superior image of the column of smoke to the 3-24 (Catalan news) website, using their ‘send us your images’ interface. It failed several times, possibly due to the paucity of my Catalan? Racists.
Friends and well-wishers may well know that my favourite rock band is the Royal Trux, a Washington DC/Chicago/San Francisco outfit from the 1990s. Combining a Keith Richards-heroin-blues-boogie-woogie aesthetic with Captain Beefheart craziness and the musical theories of Ornette Coleman, Royal Trux rocked on a different level. The band consisted of Neil Hagerty on guitar and vocals and Jennifer Herrema on lead vocals. Most of their records were released on Drag City until, following the huge popularity of grunge rock (a scene they weren’t really remotely connected to), Virgin Records offered them a huge 3 album deal. When Virgin realised that they hadn’t signed the next Nirvana, they panicked and paid Royal Trux off after only two of the three albums had been recorded. The Trux went back to Drag City. They split in 2001 after Jennifer Herrema ‘was caught with an alcoholic beverage in her hand’ (they’d been clean for years).
Well, if that hasn’t done enough to pique your interest, have a look at this promotional video, filmed for the album Thank You by Virgin Records. It should make things much clearer.
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.
UPDATED 0001 hrs
PSOE win with 169 seats – the original projection was overly optimistic. PP: 154
To me, this looks like a victory for the right in Spain. The PSOE have maintained their government but IU have practically disappeared, as have ERC.
Information about the political parties contending these elections.
So Zapatero is returned as PM. It’s unlikely that they’ll have the 176 they’re hoping for.
ERC have dropped by half. I was asked the other day what was the cause of this drop and I answered: abstention and dissatisfaction. I’ll add that their posters were crap too.
Actually it’s looking like a rout for ERC.
PP: A poor result. Rajoy will probably be out. This will bring about the completion of the right-wing’s victory in the party. Esperanza Aguirre looks to be the PP’s new star in parliament.
Ciudad Real goes from PSOE to PP
Balearic Islands go from PP to PSOE (… or maybe not)
Almería goes from PP to PSOE
Canary Islands go from PP to PSOE
— I couldn’t really keep up with this bit. Apparently, Andalucia has gone to the PSOE, again.
Zapatero and the PSOE have won the Spanish elections.
Rajoy has given his thank you speech.
Llamazares, leader of Izquierda Unida has resigned. What about Rajoy?
Izquierda Unida down to 2 seats.
While the Financial Times is not normally particularly high-up on my reading list, it does carry some interesting political comment from time to time. A few years back, I recall that the FT attacked the PP for failing to properly criticise Lt Gen. Mena Aguado who famously threatened military intervention should Catalonia pass its new Statute of Autonomy.
Well in this most recent editorial, both Zapatero and Rajoy come in for criticism, but Rajoy and the PP far more so. The present government is credited with having ‘managed the macroeconomy competently but [doing] little to address structural weaknesses such as low productivity growth, a weak technology base and a huge current account deficit”.
Then, after referring to the PP’s constant scaremongering and manufacturing of doubts about the integrity of Spain, this sucker punch:
Mr Aznar also negotiated with Eta, and allied with regional forces, just like the Socialists – as whoever wins next Sunday may well have to do. The PP’s problem is that its current leaders have not completed their journey from Francoist roots to a modern centre-right.
Thank you, FT. All it took was one paragraph but you’ve finally printed something which we here in Spain all know to be true and have been trying to get outsiders (as well as misguided expats here) to see. The language and non-dialogue of Francoism (if not its bizarre economic policies) live on in most of the PP’s currents. The ‘left wing’ of the party (Piqué, Gallardon etc) has just been effectively shut down. Rajoy finished yesterday’s debate with the words of the fascist Movimiento Nacional. They haven’t moved on and many of us here in Spain have been saying that for years.
Unlike in the UK, general elections in Spain remain a choice between two generally very different political parties. The PP, which simply is not a natural party of the centre-right, remains deeply conservative and has been painfully ineffective as an opposition. It would be a disaster if they were elected next weekend.
[Via: From Catalonia To Caledonia]