Spanish Politics – Part 5: Podemos, the New Kids on the Block

We Can…

Podemos translates as “we can”. Podemos are a very much the new kids on the block in Spanish politics.

Only formed in 2014 they quickly rose to fame and have become the 3rd biggest party in Spain. Since the recent merger/joint venture (2016) with the already well established IU (Izquierda Unida or United Left) they now have a real possibility of one day forming a government.

I went to their offices expecting to be well received. Instead I found their “offices” were closed. Admittedly I arrived at 11.30 but the signs above the door said they should be open to members of the public form 11am. Admittedly punctuality is definitely not the Spanish strongpoint but surely a party on the verge of a major electoral breakthrough should be able to keep their office open in the capital city when they say they will???

Policies…

To their eternal credit they are the only major party whose website is translated into English. This enabled me to pick through their policies in great detail. Some of those policies seem OK while others are typically trivial socialist drivel aimed more at minority groups of any and all persuasions. Then there are other policies that are neither here nor there… i.e. they matter not either way and no government would ever get them through in any case.

Their office is in a relatively scruffy part of town. An older area with more rundown property than many other parts of central Madrid. Their office front does not look like the nerve centre for a potential government; judge for yourselves (see photo below). When they started off, as a kind of alternative left wing party, no doubt being based in such an area seemed quite a trendy thing to do.

That said, their meteoric rise up the political ladder must have surprised even themselves. I am sure they will be looking to move premises in the near future. Something I must ask them about.

podemos-offices

Does this look like the offices of the party that could govern Spain?

Back to the Emails…

Unfortunately I never got that chance so I will have to resort to emailing them.

I wanted to ask them about some of their more contradictory policies.

I wanted to ask them why they are so much in favour of backing Catalan and Basque separatism (so called “independence”) and yet they do not want Spain to be independent from the EU. They are very pro EU – more on this below.

I wanted to ask them why they have a policy on animal rights which specifically mentions bull fighting, yet make no mention of halal slaughter (an increasing practice in Spain as in many European countries).

I wanted to ask them about their policy on “Sustainable Tourism”. What on earth did that mean? I remain wholly convinced that Spain and all its parties are more than capable of managing their biggest industry which this year has broken records yet again.

I wanted to ask them about their merger with the United Left party. If they are now part of the same bandwagon then why was Podemos formed in the first place. Surely they could have joined and influenced IU instead?

Podemos also appear to be riding the popular anti-corruption horse. I wanted to ask them about their fashionable anti-corruption stance and their policies towards the EU. Podemos actually criticise the EU for being undemocratic and seek to reform it. Fat chance; as we all know. However, I want to know how Podemos cannot see that the EU is far more corrupt than political organisations in Spain. How can they be so against the Spanish political system but not be anti-EU? Podemos policies specifically mention the EU’s unaccountability and lack of democracy! Go figure (as the Americans would say).

They also have specific policies on Emigration where it appears they want to make it easier for people to emigrate. Do they mean the well qualified people in Spain? On the other side of the coin they also seem to want to allow more immigrants into Spain (presumably whether skilled or not).

Alas I will have to wait to ask these topics face to face with one of their representative. For now a simple email will have to suffice.

Meanwhile I have still not had a reply to my emails to the Ciudadanos and Partido Popular parties. Does that tell its own story I wonder?….

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