••• The International Writers Magazine - Our 20th Year: Spain
From our Spanish Correspondent
In last month’s essay I reported on the ongoing ‘swings and roundabout’ changes being carried out by the new socialist (PSOE) government entirely ‘by decree’ and on other areas that are like a constant pain that just doesn’t seem to go away, such as Catalonia and the still to be approved yearly budget. Nobody wishes to sign off; yet. However, Spain, like the rest of the Western world was preparing and looking forward to the Christmas and New Year festivities. The shops were sprucing up their showrooms and stocks with a hopeful upswing in sales with all kinds of offers and discounts. Restaurants and bars were and still are overflowing with customers and parents, hoodwinking their kids that are now on holiday, that Santa Claus is ‘coming to town’. Brexit has dropped from the headlines and even our local politicians have taken a break to give us mortals some breathing space to forget about the past year’s topsy-turvy ride as we enjoy the forthcoming end of year holiday jamboree.
Hold on! An event has taken place that has upset the apple cart and is ready to hit us right between the eyes come 2019.
The results of the Andalusia regional elections, that took place at the beginning of the month, for the first time since the beginning of democracy, have ended by ousting the socialists (PSOE) thanks to a new right-wing kid on the block (VOX) that has allowed a coalition of the conservative (PP) and the every-which-party (Ciudadans) to form a center-right government.
One will have to search back in Hackwriters to February, 2014 for a full report I wrote on this emerging new party when it first showed its paws in public and has now moved into center stage of the Spanish political arena, ‘hitting the deck running’, causing the swing in this autonomous region elections.
No sooner had the results come through that most of the media and the majority of political parties other than the PP and Ciudadans began to bombard the news with all kind of warnings that amounted to a return to fascism and the days of the dictatorship of Generalissimo Franco. They have called the VOX politicians, including their leader Sr. Santiago Abascal every name under the sun from xenophobic to Nazi, but the bottom line is that they are scared stiff that a new wave of right wing politics may upset the general haven of a so called socialist welfare state that has grown over the past 40 years.
Backtracking slightly, ever since the extreme left wing party of Podemos (We can), thanks to its charismatic leader Sr. Pablo Iglesias began to slowly draw the crowds like the Pied Piper of Hamlin of the hard hit poverty stricken citizens back in 2014, Spain had been moving slowly yet strongly towards a new type of Marxism. During the previous seven years of conservative government (PP) lead by Sr. Mariano Rajoy, most of the left-wing laws that had been introduced by the socialists of Sr. Rodriguez Zapatero had been left untouched. Sr. Rajoy had concentrated entirely on salvaging the financial and banking system that was on the verge of collapse. In the meantime, and despite a certain amount of reduction that had taken place in the unemployment figures the worldwide and general financial downfall since 2008 had taken its toll on the lower end of society. They were and are still worse off.
There is one insult that VOX has received which is far from the truth, and that is that they are anti-democratic. On the contrary, their aim is to uphold and defend the Spanish Constitution signed off in 1978 by all parties by the then transitional government of Sr. Adolfo Suarez. A far cry from most of the parties that make up the National Front group as reported in last month’s essay that are in power in many regions and cities in Spain.
What happens next is going to be a real testing ground to see whether these results in Andalusia are a reflexion of a change in mood in a great deal of Spanish society that are fed up with the way the nation has been governed over the years that has slowly eroded the backbone of the country. The middle class. A great deal of taxation has been taking place added to the rise in public expenditure, especially on social services, that have slowly eroded the purchasing power of a great deal of the ‘better off’.
This coming May local and regional elections are to take place and one never knows whether the present government, that are literally in power thanks to the plethora of regional parties that supported the fateful ‘vote of no confidence’ last year turn turtle and follow the pattern that has emerged in one of the poorest regions in Spain.
Too early to tell. See you next month.
© James Skinner Jan 2019
Governing By Decree
Sr. Sanchez has been signing umpteen number of cheques that continue, literally, to turn the country on its head and presented a draft budget to the European Union that has been rejected by Brussels