Thursday, January 17, 2008

For Madrid Things Can Only Get Worse

When I wrote my post yesterday about the exclusion of Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardón from his party’s list for the general election, I still hadn’t completely assimilated all the possible consequences of the decision. Gallardón was initially reported to have threatened to resign after the election as a sign of his disenchantment, although he has since modified this to “opening a period of reflection”. Were he to carry out the threat it would just demonstrate that every silver lining has a cloud, because his designated successor would be a certain Ana Botella, who is better known for being the wife of former Prime Minister José Maria Aznar.

It’s a funny old world, the only reason why Ana occupies any position at all in the city administration is because Gallardón included her in his list as part of an attempt to ingratiate himself with Aznar, and therefore smooth his path towards greater things. Clearly it hasn’t worked, but it does leave us with the ironic situation where Botella could find herself in charge of the city as a result of Alberto not getting what the wants. If Madrid ends up being run by a tandem of Aguirre and the equally reactionary Botella then I think it will be time to leave, I never though I’d say it but just hang on for the moment Alberto! Poor Madrid, stuck between someone who evidently doesn’t think being mayor is sufficiently grand for him, and another who is only there as a result of the first person’s ambition.

Meanwhile, the more time passes the more I reflect on the sheer incompetence of the handling of this issue by Partido Popular (interim?) leader Mariano Rajoy. He had months to sort the issue out and yet the press reports suggest he left it to the last minute and then bowed to the bullying tactics of Esperanza Aguirre. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised, Rajoy is where he is because of loyalty to Mrs Bottle’s husband, not because of anything he has ever achieved. Don’t take my word for it, ask any Spaniard you know with knowledge of Spanish politics to name anything significant that Mariano did on his passage through several major ministries while Aznar was in power. The man left no footprints, but loyally did what he was told. He doesn’t lack self-belief and evidently thinks that he is automatically better suited to lead the nation than Zapatero. This arrogance has been his undoing in several parliamentary debates, and may well affect the head to head confrontations with Zapatero in the election campaign. What a way to start the campaign, although I don’t mind if they carry on in the same direction.


Ben said...

"If Madrid ends up being run by a tandem of Aguirre and the equally reactionary Botella then I think it will be time to leave" - Two more in this household that may follow... Meanwhile, Rajoy's self-undoing is a spectacle to behold. What a guy...

Graeme said...

No need to start packing yet Ben, Gallardón seems to be recovering his affection for his job.

On Rajoy, even the kindest comments I've seen seem to suggest that he is one of these people who doesn't confront a problem until he has no other alternative but to deal with it. What makes it more entertaining are the attempts by his party to spin the whole thing as him being decisive and firm.