Friday, March 14, 2008

Blues For Madrid, The PP Take The Suburbs

It’s not just victory in the city of Madrid that the Partido Popular (PP) is claiming following the general election; the PP also won in a significant majority of municipalities in the rest of the region, including several that are traditionally associated with the left. Now many people outside of the capital have the image of Madrid being a city of “fachas”, and whilst it’s true that the city has more than its fair share of right wing lunatics the reality has always been a bit different. The city itself has in the past been controlled by the left, and at regional level elections were extremely close up until 2003.

The towns surrounding Madrid used to be known as the “cinturón rojo”, the red belt of working class voters that consistently supported the left. Demographics have taken their toll on this picture, and many of these towns have expanded significantly as people in search of cheaper and larger housing have migrated out of the city. Even so, there is no particular reason why these people should be right wing voters, unless it’s the constant onslaught of the COPE radio station as they sit in their traffic jams trying to get to work every day. Perhaps it’s the illusion of wealth, a sort of “my house is very expensive, if I can afford to live here without being kicked out then I must be rich, and if I am rich then I should support the PP” way of seeing the world?

Things should be put into some perspective, the advantage the PP has over the PSOE in Madrid is just three parliamentary seats, compare that to the difference between the two parties in Barcelona; ten seats in favour of the PSOE. In the 2004 election, held three days after the Madrid train bombings, the distance between the two main parties was just a single seat. Nevertheless, for the PP to have a 10 point advantage in Madrid over the PSOE when they lose the elections nationally suggests that this gap could get significantly wider when (or if) the PP wins. On current trends it would take a PSOE landslide to give them back political superiority in Madrid.


moscow said...

I was happy to see Zapatero win - or should I say I was glad the PP lost. They have done their best to break up the country with their divisive and paranoid histrionics. But, obviously not all voters of the PP are "fachas". A third, perhaps only a fourth, are proto-francoists, National-catholics who should do the right thing and form their own nasty little party. The key is not the electoral system, but whether the PP will bite the bullet and renew itself, adopting a more tolerant, by-partisan, less confrontational style, and realise that they have potential allies in the conservative CiU and PNV. This will be the thing to watch over the coming months and years. Maybe you already know him, Graeme, but I recommend Martin Savall's blog at "facha" Expansion:
He is a Catalan with amenable moderate cosmopolitan views. The other bloggist, Belloso, is a pillock, and Aguirre's top supporter in the economic press. But fun to read, although you might want a few buckets near-by to take care of the vast amount of vomit.

Graeme said...

Well given that the leadership is significantly closer to the right than the left of the PP the question is whether a split, if it ever happened, might not occur on the other side of the party? What they are going to do now is change some faces - Zaplana has already gone - and, maybe, tone down the message a bit but real renovation is still probably at least 4 years away. I'll take a look at the blogs you recommend, although I've already read far more than I should by right wing pillocks.