As you would probably know by now, Spain will held general elections on March 9th. After four years in which the positions have strengthened and, I must say, “extremed
” in both sides, the electoral campaign, which has not begun officialy yet, has begun with two problems for Zapatero: the economy and the not-new-conflict with the Catholic Church.
Beginning with the economy, the growing inflation, the crisis in the building sector and the excessive foreign deficit menaces Zapatero. Instead of giving real solutions for the crisis, his Government has done nothing for months, and, when the elections are approaching has begun to offer “checks” for everything: baby-check, rental-check, etc. Even The Economist has written about the perils of Spanish economy now, when during the last 4 years, it has been praising Zapatero about how marvellous his policy was.
THE surprise ingredient in the Spanish election of March 2004 was the Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 commuters just three days before the vote. Thanks to the clumsiness of the outgoing People’s Party (PP) government, which tried to blame Basque terrorists, not Islamist radicals, the bombs provoked an unexpected change. What had looked like a PP shoo-in turned into a Socialist bounce-back, handing victory to José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, now Spain’s prime minister.
Four years on, Mr Zapatero is seeking re-election. This time, too, a surprise ingredient has arrived ahead of the March 9th poll. But, despite the recent arrest in Barcelona of 14 Muslim immigrants suspected of planning fresh attacks, it has nothing to do with Islam. After four years in which Spain’s politicians have argued bitterly about almost everything else, the new ingredient is the economy.
Few would have predicted this even six months ago. An economy growing at a healthy lick of 3.8% seemed to be one of the strongest of Mr Zapatero’s weapons. But since then Spain’s housing bubble has burst and inflation has risen. Global financial turmoil now threatens to turn a hoped-for soft landing into something much harder. And the PP, seeking to avenge its 2004 loss, smells blood.
“Few would have predicted….” is not true. Even the Spanish National Bank, whose head is Miguel Ángel Fernández Ordóñez, a Socialist, had been underlining the dangers of Spanish economy, specially the enormous debt families have. This would make the crisis even harder, considering that the banks would not be paid (not only in time, rather they won’t be payed at all).
The second bad sign is the frontal clash with the Catholic Church, which could on the other hand, lead socialists to a new victory, as there are, specially among leftists but not only, a lot of anti-clericalistic types in Spain. That frontal clash is not something new, but it has absolutely erupted in past weeks, curiously just after the Socialists have announced their new “slogan”: motives to believe. The amusing thing is that these three words are the title of a religious book written by a Jesuit.
There were some signs before the clash: specially related with the finding of a serie of gynecologist clinics in which abortions were made even to foetuses as old as 8-months-old for huge quantities of money and with the announcement that the rate of abortions in Spain had surged. In that ocassion the Government had already had announced some sorts of measures to protect the abortion clinics, announcement which Socialists have repeated these past days.
And with motives to believe in their absolute anti-clericalism and their pro-islamism. Because the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Spain has published a communiqué in which they said:
Los católicos y los ciudadanos que quieran actuar responsablemente, antes de apoyar con su voto una u otra propuesta, han de valorar las distintas ofertas políticas, teniendo en cuenta el aprecio que cada partido, cada programa y cada dirigente otorga a la dimensión moral de la vida. La calidad y exigencia moral de los ciudadanos en el ejercicio de su voto es el mejor medio para mantener el vigor y la autenticidad de las instituciones democráticas (n. 56). No se debe confundir la condición de aconfesionalidad o laicidad del Estado con la desvinculación moral y la exención de obligaciones morales objetivas. Al decir esto no pretendemos que los gobernantes se sometan a los criterios de la moral católica. Pero sí que se atengan al denominador común de la moral fundada en la recta razón y en la experiencia histórica de cada pueblo (n. 55).
El terrorismo es una práctica intrínsecamente perversa, del todo incompatible con una visión moral de la vida justa y razonable. No sólo vulnera gravemente el derecho a la vida y a la libertad, sino que es muestra de la más dura intolerancia y totalitarismo (n. 65). Una sociedad que quiera ser libre y justa no puede reconocer explícita ni implícitamente a una organización terrorista como representante político de ningún sector de la población, ni puede tenerla como interlocutor político (n. 68).
Catholics and citizens who would want to act responsibly, before supporting with their vote one or another proposal, must value the different ones made, considering the love each of this parties, each leader and each program has for the moral dimension of live. The quality and the moral requirements of the citizens in the voting exercise is the best way to maintaint the vigor and authenticity of the democratic institutions. Aconfesionality or laicity should never be mistaken with the moral [desvinculación] and the exemption of the objective moral obligations. We are not saying with this that the political leaders should be submitted to the catholic moral criteria. But that they should oblige the common ground of the moral rules, based on the right reason and in the historic experience of each people.
[…] The terrorism is an intrinsically perverse practice, totally incompatible with the moral vision of a reasonable and just life. Not only it violates gravely the right to life and to freedom, but this is a proof of the worst intolerance and totalitarism. A society which wants to be just and free cannot recognise neither expressely nor tacitly to a terrorist organization as a political representant of any sector of its population, nor can have it as a political representant.
So this is the basis of all the polemic. Socialists have thought the Catholic Church is asking people not to vote Socialists, something that it is not said in all the communiqué.
As a result, from all the different political parties of both of Left and Right (except Popular Party, as every one has thought them the real beneficiaries of this communiqué) have critisized it and some of them have directly insulted the Bishops, calling them immoral, hypocrites and with bad intentions. Some leftists in Menéame.net, a site similar to Digg, have stated they would like to burn some churches.
But Spanish Islamic Conference has already and clearly and expressely stated their support for Socialists and for Communists (United Left, whose leader, Gaspar Llamazares, was rumoured to be converted to Islam some months ago). No one have told them anything, no one has protested.
What is worse: Socialists are asking once again for a modification of the Concordato (that is the International Treaty between Spain and the Holy See) to supposedly end all the priviledges the Catholic Church has in Spain. But no one has dared to ask the same about Muslims for asking to vote to the leftists, after this Governement, supported by Communists, Socialists, and the Independentists from Catalonian Republican Left, have given them loads of money in these last four years from Spanish budget.
The situation is so tense that a masked man entered a church in the middle of a Mass in Catalonia, to critizise the Bishops:
“I am sorry to interrupt this Mass, but there is a problem here”, he said. “The church should not mess in State affairs, the bishops don’t have any rights to mess in political affairs, the Church is dedicated to God’s affairs”, he said in Spanish.
People attending the Mass reacted, caught him and threw him out of the church shouting “out, out” and “to the street”. An accomplice recorded everything in a video and sent it to the [Catalan Nationalist] Avui newspaper.
But, of course, according to Avui, there was nothing objectable about what these two men did.
The President of the Spanish Catholic Bishop’s Conference, Mons. Blázquez has stated he does not know the reasons for the scandal as the Church has not said anything out of ordinary. The Secretary of Organization of Socialists, the more-than-stupid José “Pepiño” Blanco, has menaced the Church with “consequences”, if the Socialists win on March, in a total Mafia mood. Those consequences are none others but to end any financial aid that Catholics or people who want to, give through their Personal Tax Annual Declaration.
The end is that the Socialist President of the Autonomous Government of Galicia, Mr Touriño, has asked to forbid Masses on Sat 8th and Sun 9th of Marchjust in case priests “could direct politically their herd”. This comes after his partners in Galician Government, the Bloque Nacionalista Galego, have denied to condemn the Holocaust and Nazism in the Galician Parliament (oh, no, this could be an interested statement aimed at an anti-jihadi group… no, not really, these guys are far-left extremers. But this proves once again how near far-left and far-right groups really are).
Anyway, according to polls, Zapatero is ahead in the elections, about 3,4 points. I will write about this in another post. But anything is decided yet and the campaign is having several very dirty tricks. One of the worst I have read is the one told by Mary White here. She has received an SMS with the following words:
TAL DÍA COMO HOY, 30 DE ENERO, HACE 75 AÑOS, HITLER LLEGÓ AL PODER CON EL VOTO DE LOS CIUDADANOS DE DERECHAS. VOTA EL 9-M. PÁSALO.
A day like today, Jan 30th, 75 years ago, Hitler was elected with the right-wingers’ vote. Vote on march 9th. Pass it on.
Sooo, if you’re a right-winger, you’re a Nazi. That’s the latest SMS Socialist campaign.
- Zapatero is ready to negotiate the co-sovereignty of Ceuta and Melilla.
- New attack on freedom of expression: the new law against Homophobia.
- “I would ask the Pope what his idea of family is”: Spanish Socialist leader.
- Zapatero pide al PP patriotismo en lugar de alarmismo injustificado en economía.
- El presupuesto de Zapatero.
- Las frases del Día: Soraya y el Obispo Uriarte.
- Comunicado de prensa del Foro de Ermua sobre la acción popular.
- España, hoy.
- ETA kills again.
- Concentración contra ETA en Madrid.
- La desaparición material de la acción popular.
- ETA kills again [IV].
- Los “hombres de paz” de ETA matan a un Guardia Civil (III): los terroristas reconocieron a los Guardias.
- ETA “men of peace” have killed again (II): International MSM y Comunicados.
- ETA “men of peace” have killed again.
- Transportes: todo sigue igual.
- Carod: ahora a por una Iglesia nacional catalana.
- Breve nota sobre la censura.
- La Asociación de Internautas acusa a la SGAE de querer matar al mensajero con su querella.
- La manifestación de la AVT (II): medios españoles.
- La manifestación de la AVT (I).
- Frases de la semana.
- Spanish Elections Watch 2008: Los notables del PSOE y Clinton.
- Spanish Elections Watch 2008. Este sábado, manifestación de la AVT.
En español: teneis que leer sobre el affaire de los obispos, dos artículos:
- Ferraz carga de nuevo contra los obispos en un zafio ejercicio de rencorosa inmoralidad @ Federico Quevedo.
- Y el del pelota del PSOE (para reírse más que nada…): Los obispos echan una mano a ZP y dejan al PP un poco más a la derecha @ Antonio Casado. Me parto.
Hmm, qué pluralidad en el confidencial, ¿no? 😛