Last Thursday the electoral campaign officialy begun in Spain. And last night it was the first debate between Socialists' candidate, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and PP's candidate, Mariano Rajoy.
The first thing I am going to critisize of this debate is that it is only of the two main candidates. I really believe it would be a better idea to see all the candidates together debating. Of course, the PP (center-right) would have lots of critics there as, according to the Tinell Pact, the rest of the parties were to present a common opposition, not against the Government -Zapatero's one- but against the PP, which was in the opposition. But the contrast would have been much interesting between the proposals of all the candidates.
What is the problem? That, considering the disenchantment of a very important part of Spanish society with the political parties, there are new parties which will be present at these elections. But these parties are having huge financial and MSM problems as there is a not-recognised boycott over them. Among them, we can actually name Unión de Progreso y Democracia (or Union of Progress and Democracy), leftist but with a strong Spanish nationalistic sentiment, which could be a real threat to Socialists in the next term.
So the MSM supporting the socialists are not even considering their existence. For example, Spanish blogger Maya discovered that world-known leftist newspaper EL Pais had censored both UPyD and Ciudadanos, another well-known recent born though older than UPyD, political party. Neither of those political parties appeared in its list about the ones who will be present at 9th March elections. Curiously, UPyD leader, Rosa Díez, was attacked some days ago when she was going to a conference in Madrid's university, and his attackers, though known, had not been even questioned by the police. UPyD has only one problem: it is too much against the Catholic Church, specially another of its leaders, a moonbat called Fernando Savater. And I consider him a moonbat because while we have a real problem with Islamism, he continues to attack the Catholic Church as one of the two main problems Spain has now. The other is ETA.
The situation for Zapatero is not very good. The economic situation is not very bouyant. We have known lately that the Socialist Government received three letters:
ETA sent three letters to Spanish Government before announcing the ceasefire (truce) in March 2006 in which it told Zapatero they wanted to begin a "political negotiation" to resolve "the conflict between Spain and Euskal Herria". The Government answered to all those letters without changing anything. Probably considering the importance of the opportunity, Zapatero did not inform them there could be no dialogue over political matters (Yeah, of course, and I am Muhamad Ali).Of course, this has not been very much on TV news... The Socialist propaganda is so important that there are people who consider Zapatero a hero for his caving in into ETA, and blames people like me, who are totally opposed to this negotiation, of "wanting that ETA kills more", something utterly false, of course. I just don't think that a terrorist gang can be defeated by doing what they want. They must see you are stronger and that you are more convinced that they are, about your values of justice and peace.
The answers of the Government were made by writing or, sometimes, also verbally, but they were all sent to the Executive commitee of the terrorist gang, which was the signing partner.
The treatment to women which Zapatero has made is, at least, disputable. Among other measures, Spanish parliament, after a Socialist proposal, passed a law, which supposedly was going to "support women", but which in reality is an insult to women's intelligence. The law intended to assure women-men's equality by obliging all collegial institutions to ensure at least in a 40% of the seats there were women. So from the Parliament to the Board of Directors of Spanish firms, every institution should fulfill the famous "quota". Of course, in a chauvinist country like Spain is, this ensures that, even the most brilliant woman, is under suspicion, if she is elected to such places: has she got there because she is brilliant enough or has she taken a much more brilliant man's seat?
Last measure proposed is to "modify the traditional use of masculine forms in Spanish language, to represent women in educational, legal texts, communications and publications". In Spanish, the words indicate the sex of the person which they are referred to (hermoso -masculine-, hermosa -femenine-, etc). But in plural, the masculine is preferred, and so, if you want to say "Your sons daughters are clever", you would say "Tus hijos son listos", considering that the masculine plural includes also the femenin form. Seeing something as that, as more important than fighting mistreatment at home (including the foreign women), illiteracy and female genital mutilation for example, gives you the measure of the intelligence of these feminists.
This has revived the debate between men-women antagonism, producing that mysogynists types have once more a reason to attack women (even if you are not for this measure, but you know, you're nothing more than a woman... and so you must stay at home, raise your kids and not interfere in such macho-men labours) and feminist stupid types have a reason to consider that "the influence of women is growing" (you know, that brutes of men who treat us ever as a sexual object, well, now they are going to discover their "feminist side" blablabla). In both cases, there is the same error: the consideration of the other sex as an enemy, and not as a group of people with some differences but necessary to human interaction and relations, in yet another type of "classes clashes" which are so interesting to leftists in general.
The situation is so stressed that the Government, using the SGAE -that's one of the subjects I have to blog about in English-, has even censored a video in which some unknown citizens sing a song critisizing Zapatero and praising Rajoy:
And now, about yesterday's debate: I couldn't see it while it was happening, as in the end of each month I'm having exams and I am really stressed with them. But I have seen it afterwards and have also read the reactions. If you understand Spanish, Elentir has posted the video in its entirety.
El líder del PSOE, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (centro), y el del PP, Mariano Rajoy (dcha), entran en el estudio televisivo donde se celebró el primer debate electoral, precedidos por el moderador, el periodista Manuel Campo Vidal, el lunes por la noche en Madrid.
El primer ministro español, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (I), se da la mano con su rival del Partido Popular (PP), Mariano Rajoy (D), a su llegada al estudio de televisión donde ambos políticos se disponían a debatir, el 25 de febrero de 2008 en Madrid. Rajoy acusó a Rodríguez Zapatero de tener como aliados en el exterior a Hugo Chávez y Fidel Castro, mientras que él -dijo- se alinea con los líderes de Francia y Alemania.
The reactions have been basically, that if you are a right-winger, Mariano won because he was much more agressive (in fact, he even was able to give hope back to some bloggers, precisely because he was really tough in the debate) and if you are a left-winger, Zapatero won. The MSM, which are in an important number pro-Socialists, agree that Zapatero won just by a very little difference. The reason for this is that the propaganda machine of the Government has minimised the huge errors of Zapatero and has exaggerated the defects of Rajoy. What is more, La Vanguardia (Catalan pro-nationalist newspaper) reports that the debate was won by Rajoy but that Zapatero will get the benefit of it, as the "supposedly moderate" voters are not going to vote for Rajoy, only the extremists. But what I have seen these last months is that the real extremists are really campaigning heavily against PP and Rajoy, much heavier than against Zapatero, because Rajoy is accused of being "very soft" and of being a traitor to the real right. He has a really difficult position nowadays: nearly no favourable MSM and with aides sufficiently divided to give him advices which are nearly contradicting one another. It is curious then that all parties, except PP, for obvious reasons, instead of critizicing the Government, are critizicing the opposition (as if they would have also signed the Tinell Pact), something curious. But you know, Zapatero is much more threatening than Rajoy... and likes vengeance much more, so just play the punching ball, with the one who is not going to play it with you...
Is this legitimate? Yes, it is, of course it is. But in the present circumstances, the first target is to end the Zapatero's era, and the only political party which happens to be positioned for that is PP. Does it mean I'm enchanted with them? No, I'm not: in politics, you must be tough, with very clear ideas and with a very thick skin to resist the critics. And for that you must be convinced of your ideas; if not, you're not going to be convincing enough to convince others. But here, the toughness is considered equal to extremism, terms which have nothing to do with each other.
If the situation would be different, I would vote en blanco, that is, you vote but to no candidate to protest against the failure of our political parties' system, which de facto, is a partitocracy, considering the huge power (and nearly total lack of control) of the political parties here. Although to be sincere this is a possibility which I haven't discarded out completely. At home, by the way, they have decided already to vote PP as they don't want to take part in having another term Zapatero in the Moncloa. Five out of my six life-time friends have decided to do the same. The other one is sympathetic with Catalan nationalism so I figure he is not voting for PP... As you see, my entourage is enchanted with Zapatero.But more than this debate, I'm worried by the next one: according to political blog Escaño 351, there could be some news about ETA's negotiation before it, to knock down PP's position on the subject, six days before the elections:
Aníbal González writes for El Confidencial, that in the French Police -that works together with the Spanish Civil Guard- a new operation is rumoured against the chief of ETA commandos, Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, alias Txeroqui.Why do I say that I am worried? The detention of such a terrorist as Txeroki is, is so important that should be praised but the praise should not go at all to Zapatero, but to the Police Forces who are the ones who have been searching for him. But of course, everyone would shout "follow the leader, leader, leader, follow the leader" even if there is only a precipice ahead...
The capture of Txeroki will be the zenit of an operation of pursuit whose last step has been the detention of Mikel San Sebastián and Joseba Itrubide, ETA terrorists who, together with Igor Portu y Martin Sarasola, blow the T4 terminal of Madrid's Barajas' airport, which killed two Ecuatorians, who were working in Spain.
With this detention, Zapatero would achieve himself a magnificent goal in anti-terrorist policy, very critizised after the ETA-Government's negotiations, and would end the critics of those who think he has not been tough enough in the fight against ETA.