Mariano Rajoy rounded-up his vision of Spain at the end of today’s debate by harking back to the days of ‘España – una, grande y libre’ – the catchphrase of the fascist Movimiento Nacional. Coming at the end of a debate marked by several major mistakes on Rajoy’s part as well as continued interruption from Zapatero, the closing comments were particularly interesting. Zapatero spoke of ‘convivancia’ and correcting the mistakes of the past (he also named at least 3 times as many concrete proposals for the next legislature), and he once again finished up with ‘Good night and good luck’. Rajoy also chose to make mention of ‘la niña’, the hypothetical little girl who’s ‘inside [his] head’ – a device he was roundly mocked for using the first time around.
Rajoy said various things which make it difficult for me to call this another draw. His claim that Zapatero ‘Lies constantly and never tells the truth’, along with his accusation that the PSOE had ‘done nothing’ over the last four years were pretty foolish. He also tacitly admitted that public spening would be cut if the PP came to power, and roundly failed to win any points when he economy, Iraq and ETA were mentioned.
Zapatero appeared much more combative and self assured than last time, though he still had trouble filling all the time allotted to him (and continued to interrupt Rajoy constantly). He was right, I feel, to defend his stewardship of the economy, which is doing pretty well.
Though no-one can be certain of the outcome of the forthcoming election, I suspect that Mariano Rajoy’s political career is close to collapse. I’d be very surprised if he survived what is now a likely electoral defeat. More on uncle Mariano this week.