Friday, October 19, 2007

Anyone Know A Good Builder?

Having posted already this week on music, cinema and football I think it’s time for a bit of politics. Strange events took place this week in Valencia and led to the resignation of the leader of the PSOE in the region, Joan Ignasi Pla. What lay behind his resignation was the revelation that he had not yet paid a substantial bill for work done on his home several months ago by a company that has significant construction interests in the region. On the face of it, that doesn’t seem such a big deal, at least if it is judged by the ethical standards governing much political activity on the shores of the Mediterranean. What makes the story truly interesting is where it came from.

Pla was not brought down by the right wing press trying to damage PSOE chances in Valencia. Instead the revelations came from the Grupo PRISA – traditionally close to the PSOE and owners of the Cadena SER radio station and the newspaper El País. In his resignation statement Pla placed the blame on the media and on members of his own party who were settling accounts – or in other words just what Pla had failed to do himself; I must remember to write down the name of his builder.

There are several angles to this story. On the one hand you have a Grupo PRISA increasingly disenchanted with the PSOE and a government that now has other media friends. At the same time the national leadership is said to want the vice president of the government, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, to lead the party list in Valencia for next year’s general election. She constantly emerges in opinion polls as the most popular member of the government, and the PSOE had a disastrous result in the May local elections in Valencia. Pla was not seen as helpful to the cause, and he is no longer in the way.

Next week I intend to get back to some genuine political ranting, I feel I haven’t done enough recently. To get fired up for this I am going to spend the weekend in the city that used to be known as “Red” Bologna.


Colin said...


María Teresa Fernández de la Vega - Are you sure it's only the regional job she's up for? Has there been a day in the last 6-12m when she hasn't had her photo in the press? Post Zap president in 2012?

Graeme said...

One step at a time Colin, but you might be right. If she can maintain her popularity by not actually holding direct responsibility for anything then she could be well positioned if Zapatero decides to do an Aznar and leave voluntarily after 2 terms.