Spanish Politics Rocked

Political Merry-go-round.

Almost two years ago the then PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez failed to defeat the useless Rajoy and his Partido (Un)Popular in the Spanish general election. A few months later he resigned. Back in October 2016 I wrote: “The well-groomed Pedro Sanchez – he looks more like a film star than a politician – was forced to resign as more than half of the party’s executive committee had already resigned. So Sanchez, who once seemed destined for stardom, fell on his sword.”

Wow what has just happened? Returning from the political wilderness Sanchez has just become Prime Minister. Capitalising on the chaos surrounding Partido Popular officials. This happened after I wrote the piece below but before I had chance to post it. Here it is anyway…

Spanish politics has been rocked this past two weeks. And we are not talking AC/DC or Led Zeppelin. Not even the Casbah! This past week or two the main news story has been the sentencing of some of the ruling party’s top officials. The main protagonist is one Luis Barcenas who was the treasurer of the Popular Party (PP) from 1990 to 2009. He was accused of having received the usual pots full of money as kickbacks from companies seeking to receive large government contracts.

Qué Cara Tiene  (what cheek this man has)

Incredibly he denied any wrong doing even though he tried to implicate the present PM Rajoy by saying that he gave him numerous payments of cash – i.e. loads of money! So, let’s see. “Not guilty your honour. But I did give the Prime Minister loads of dodgy cash to play with. Of course, I have no idea where that cash came from.” It’s great stuff isn’t it?

Remarkably the prosecution rested on handwritten documents of payments – albeit slightly coded – which dated between 1990 and 2008. Didn’t any of these people ever see the movies about Al Capone and how his handwritten accounts got him jailed for tax evasion? You would think it is a very basic and naive mistake. Right? Wrong! These people get away with it for so long they think they are invincible. They start to believe their own lies.

National newspaper El Pais broke the story back in January and even printed the papers in question. I have been wanting to write about it ever since.

Repeat Offender?

As if all this is not crazy enough, and to prove yet again that life is indeed stranger than fiction, this Barcenas bloke seems to be a repeat offender. He used to be a senator and had to step down from that position in 2009/10 because he was implicated in a separate corruption case. That one involved some 48 million Euros being stashed in a Swiss bank. You really could not make this shit up. Some people never learn do they?

You would like to think that the party leaders who are actually in government (rather than just party officials) are not stupid enough to get wrapped up in such illegal actions. That they had nothing to do with it. Maybe. We may never know for sure. But meantime the other parties are trying to capitalise on the political scandal and oust the Prime Minister. Not that they are squeaky clean. They certainly are not. This kind of thing knows no party boundaries in most countries.

Endemic in Spain…

But this is Spain. Here, it is endemic and almost acceptable at some levels. This is a country where a surprisingly large number of local small-town mayors regularly go to jail for such crimes. Not only that: They come out of jail and get voted back into their cushy positions by the people. Then they probably continue fiddling the figures and taking brown envelopes stuffed with cash from some local property developers. Some have even been found with thousands of Euros stuffed into their mattresses.

Really! I have no fear of any libel action here because this is totally common knowledge in all of Spain. Everyone knows it goes on and for the most part the people don’t give a stuff. Well I suppose they do but they are so used to it and so used to those involved getting away with it (in many cases) that they just don’t care. Are things about to change?

Is the message getting through?

Great message to the children of Spain eh? Basically, it seems to be; do it but just don’t get caught. I guess not keeping records of all the transactions is a good place to start. Eh kids? Well maybe things are changing…. In all 29 officials and businessmen have been found guilty.

This time however the punishments do fit the crimes. Barcenas received a 33 year jail term while one of his main accomplices, businessman Francisco Correa, was sentenced to 51 years in prison. Yes, I know. Odd numbers aren’t they? Don’t ask me because I have no idea.

Is the UK any different? I seriously doubt it. We either do not get to hear about the corruption or – these days at least – they just blame it all on the Russians.

All in all yet another example of how our leaders are setting a great example for the kids. Not!

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