This just in…Spain remains a mess. And it probably will remain so for the foreseeable future.
Conservatives crowed about Mariano Rajoy being elected two years ago to, presumably, clean up Spain’s politics, with some lovely doses of austerity being administered along the way. This “expansionary austerity” pixie dust that’s supposed to save Spain’s economy turned out, shockingly, to be something from out of a book of fairy tales written by Angela Merkel, and now people are calling for Rajoy’s head. But most amusingly, there are also now complaints of corruption. The reason Spain was supposed to be such an economic basket case, argued the People’s Party, is because of government corruption. Well, now the People’s Party appears to be at the centre of government corruption. Again, shocking that those who preach should be such practitioners. Who saw that coming?
Yes, it’s easy to be cynical. That’s part of the problem. Most Spaniards are cynical about politics – that’s why there’s no voter support manifesting itself for a real alternative. Those who hate what’s happening in Spanish politics respond by abandoning the electoral process altogether. That’s the reason a country with 1 of 4 of its citizens unemployed allowed the Spanish version of Herbert Hoover to become their prime minister in the first place. It’s not that Spaniards weren’t horrified by that turn of events – they were, and protested Rajoy’s election loudly. But they did zero to stop it. Elections are for fools, apparently. Well, it’s kind of difficult to tell who’s the fool right now, what with the country in even deeper crisis now.
There is some hope that things might change, but still not nearly enough. The Izquierda Unida (IU) party has doubled its support since the Rajoy scandals began, but IU is not much of an alternative to Rajoy – it’s a group of leftist organisations which includes as its largest member the Communist Party of Spain…a party which once experimented with social democratic ideas but which has returned to its embrace of lockstep Stalinism. That’s not going to be a solution.
There also appears to be no question, as yet, of a grassroots movement either creating a new party to challenge the Socialists from the left (and the Communists from somewhere in the reality-based community), or to change either the Socialists or IU into a party that will actually do something to reverse austerity policies.
The greatest portion of the Spanish people seem to be committed to only one course – yelling impotently at politicians while things get worse and worse.
So Spain’s going to be a basketcase for a while. 26% of the population is unemployed, but also apparently too thick to recognise that an electoral movement supported of more than a quarter of the population would be unstoppable by today’s politicians. We can blame the economy for lots of things, but that attitude is a bigger part of why Spain fails.