Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Powerful Fools - Ana Palacio

It’s time to inaugurate a new feature on South of Watford; Powerful Fools is dedicated to those who occupy positions with influence over our lives and whose actions or words demonstrate a clear incapacity to be where they are. I’m not expecting a shortage of candidates and nominations are always welcome. So who the hell is Ana Palacio? Well, she was, for a couple of years, minister of foreign affairs in the Spanish government presided by Jose Maria Aznar. Not really enough to qualify her automatically as a Powerful Fool, after all Aznar had a couple of other equally anonymous foreign ministers during his 8 years in power. But Ana held the post at a special moment, as preparations began for the invasion of Iraq and Aznar decided that he wanted to be in the front line of those declaring war. So Ana was given the task of being the most loyal supporter of US plans behind the British, and she set about her task with enthusiasm, faithfully endorsing all of the bogus ‘intelligence’ that Colin Powell presented to the UN in the run up to the war.

So far so good, but nothing exceptional about this – it all happened 3 years ago and nothing has really been heard of Ana Palacio since the change of government in 2004. But the other day, I was reading the Spanish press and I came across an interesting item about today’s lucky candidate. It seems that Ana has recently been appointed as a Vice President of the World Bank! Reading the article, it didn’t take long for it to become clear how she has managed to secure such a comfortable position. The World Bank is currently run by Paul Wolfowitz, one of the main architects in the Bush administration of the Iraq invasion, so it can hardly be surprising that someone who worked as hard for the cause as Ana did can be given a reward by one its main supporters. Again, you might be asking what it is about all of this that makes her get the nomination when there are so many strong candidates for this award? Well, the same article that told me about the appointment reminded me of a declaration that Ana made shortly after the war in Iraq had begun. This is what she had to say (my translation):

“In the course of the war against Iraq, there are some relevant factors. The stock markets have risen and petrol has fallen. Already, people are paying a few cents less for petrol and diesel. These are facts.”

As an attempted justification for a war which continues to claim a growing but unknown number of victims, this shows undoubted idiocy, and not just because petrol now costs about twice the price that it did when she made the remark. A worthy winner, well done Ana!


Tom said...

She was brilliant, if only for the vague, absent look in her eyes. I stopped watching Spanish TV a few months after the PSOE won... it's less entertaining now.

Plus, I had Sky installed.

Graeme said...

Tom, if you are bored with the TV since the elections it’s because you don’t have TeleMadrid there in Barcelona. Taking Aznar period news control to ever greater heights, we get respectful references to “Don Manuel” (Fraga) coupled with less respectful talk of the head of the government – “Zapatero”. Each news item is helpfully explained to us by an “analista”, who tells us that what the government is doing is very very bad, and that the Partido Popular is completely right – the mantra gets repeated until you find yourself nodding unconsciously and muttering “PP bien, Socialistas mal”. I can only take it in small doses. Anyway, if you need some hysterical right wing ranting you can always turn on the radio and tune into the COPE!