Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Scary Movie

It's late, you're at home, the children are asleep, and you think you are safe. But you're not.....

via Neto Raton 2.0


moscow said...

Yes, you wouldn't want to be woken up 3am by any of those....Following up on the discussion in the last post: If the PSOE wins in a similar way to last time round, the PP will carry on more or less the same as before -with Aguirre or without her. But if - and this is a big IF - the PSOE wins anything between 170 and 177 seats (as some of the rather more optimistic forecasts put forward) then expect a lot of pain amongst PP ranks and a huge internal crisis which could take years to sort out. In the long term the PP will have to make a move, and this will be either: 1) furher to the right - I know this might sound implausible - in which case it won't take long until someone moves in to fill in the gap in the middle liberal centre - Rosa Diez, Ciutadans, Gallar..., oh no, not him surely - or 2) and more likely, the PP makes an effort to cool down a bit, moves to the centre, and moderates it's message, in which case, it will leave a yawning gap on it's right flank. Expect the 1-3million francoist, xenophobic, ultra-catholic, chauvinistic truly right wing Spaniards, who are now PP voters, to form or join a new right wing movement similar to the French FN. By moving to the centre, the PP would then rob the PSOE of around 2-3 million of it's more liberal moderate voters and build up the base for future electoral success.

Colin said...

What I'm unclear on is - if the PP is as right wing as Graeme [and you?] suggest, isn't there a gap in the centre which currently isn't being filled? Unless, of course, the PSOE is really as left-of- centre as the UK New Labour party. Which is not very much at all. And so occupies this section of the political spectrum.

Interestingly, I saw both El Pais and El Mundo referred to as 'liberal' newspapers the other day. Which I suspect both you and Graeme would find hard to agree with. Except in relation to ABC and La Razon, I guess.

Of course, what is 'right' and 'left' and 'liberal' depends not only on the country one is in but also on one's times. The Post-Thatcher Labour Party [New or Old] is further to the [British] right now than it ever was. The Centre has moved, in other words.

So I return to my question - Where is it in Spain? And who is occupying it, if anyone at all?

If it really is largely unoccupied, it would be not just suicidal but insane for the PP to move to the right to satisfy the blood lust of Moscow's millions of nostalgic fascists. So, I go with the formation of a new extreme-right party. And the emergence of two centre parties between which it is increasingly hard to find 'clear blue water'. Especially as most policies and resultant legislation will be determined in Brussels. Leaving room for differences only at the [very] local level.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping that the BNG achieves the pivotal role in Madrid
it's seeking and we get a lot more cash thrown our way here in Galicia. As a convert to nationalism, I am of course more Catholic than Quintana. Who really needs to be doing a lot more talking about secession.

Tom Clarke said...

Moscow - they've already lurched to the right but I suspect that they'll continue to give lip-service to 'being of the centre'. Without sounding like too much of a conspiracy theorist, Ciutadans has always seemed like another of these PP grassroots campaigns to me. I don't believe they're to the left of the PP particularly and have read several reports of meetings over the last few years which had plenty of disaffected PP and Falange voters who were looking for a harder right-wing. UPyD sounds like it ought to be a party of the centre but their policy for removing practically all powers from the Autonomous Communities mean that they will be seen as of the far-right in Andalucia, Basque Country and Catalonia (and probably Galicia too).

And Colin: this is the problem. A party's position on the political spectrum doesn't just depend on fiscal and social policy here. Policy towards the national-regions is also fundamental. For a CiU-style centrist party to become popular across Spain, I suspect it would have to embrace some sort of federalist position. Indeed, I believe that federalism is going to become a major current in Spanish politics.

Personally, I think a centrist party could do well here if it could negotiate the issue of the Autonomies. That said, I would rather that Spanish politics avoided the lure of New Labour / Dave Cameron style one-party politics which is destroying the political culture in the UK. That's one of the possible results of centrism and it worries me greatly.

Graeme said...

Moscow, I don't think the probability of an internal crisis in the PP depends on whether the PSOE gets a majority or not - there will be pain but if they get 38% of the vote then the people in charge of the party will not be automatically kicked out. We have to remember that this is not a democratic party either, the mechanism for Rajoy getting where he is today is simply that Aznar chose him. Who will choose the next leader if they lose? Aznar, probably. It would take a truly thumping defeat for there to be a profound crisis.

There has been quite a bit of debate about whether the political centre exists in Spain in the sense of a section of the population which both main parties attempt to capture. A lot of analysts just talk about the election being decided by the abstention rate on the left.

Spain has actually had a division in the past between the centre right and the hard right - the UCD was a centrist party and the AP, predecessor of the PP, took the harder vote. It's very hard for a new party to get off the ground here, look at the problems that UPD has to get noticed. The electoral system discriminates heavily against any party with less than 20% of the vote. I don't see the PP splitting if they lose, because I don't see the presence of the centre right in the party apart from a few individuals. Another matter is whether part of their electorate could be attracted to a new party. Phew, heavy discussion for just after breakfast!

moscow said...

Well, thank you for the lengthy replies to my post.
Colin, the centre has been taken by the PSOE obviously. There are 2-3 million PSOE voters who are swing voters, that is potential PP voters. They are doubly frustrated because 1) of the paranoic behaviour of the PP, which has put the party beyond the pale for many people in Spain 2) of the lack of enthusiasm for structural supply-side reforms on the part of the PSOE - which are necessary if Spain doesn't want to remain just another big "Florida".
I mentioned Diez and Ciutadans for want of other names. Personally, I believe - I hope - the PP will move to the centre one day, and push the PSOE to the left. I have always thought that the natural allies for a moderate, more tolerant, more liberal PP would be the right-of-centre nationalist parties (CiU and PNV). I know this sounds like sacrilege nowadays, but.... It would the best for Spain as a whole.
Graeme, I think you are right. It will be difficult for any new party to operate successfully and occuppy the centre ground. I agree with Colin, we need a bunch of Fachas to get together and form a viable right wing party (with a modern make-up of course). The PSOE will not be able to hold on to the middle ground forever. I had my breakfast a long time ago, so I can still tackle a bit of heavy matter like this for a while.

StarHound said...

bhkI wonder if Spain has gone past the point where it can develop a centre ground. I think that he 'pact of silence' has served only to reinforce the division from the Civil War and the Franco era, meanwhile nationalists have used Autonomy to plough their own furrow, regardless of what 'Spain' thinks, to the extent that there now widely differening visions of the future of the Spanish state. It seems to me that the only movement or evolution has been within the various nationalist movements - the basic left and right blocks are aligned with fairly concrete mindsets.

The notion of 'centre-ground' implies that there is an acceptance of the status quo which may the case in Spain. It is more likely a question of multiple centre grounds. It seems that everything will be nuanced by how it deals with Basque, Catalan and Galician nationalism as well as Spanish nationalism. UPD and Ciutadans are in the centre only by their own self serving and rather calculated definition, by any reasonable definiton they are on the far right - look at the list of powers that UPD wants to centralise, as has been pointed out. I think the issue of Nationalism is what will define development and impede any possible centre ground - To use a not especially funny Irish political joke - 'You're a Jew? Fine, but are you a Catholic Jew or a Protestant Jew?'

Graeme said...

Well in many ways we're only talking about the absence of a centre-right. Those who regard the Zapatero administration as being radically left-wing are already seeing things from the other side of the political spectrum. In reality it's a moderately reformist social-democratic administration. It also has people, like Jose Bono, who can scarcely be regarded as left of centre. it is interesting though, that where those on the right of the PSOE tend to have problems is with the issue of nationalism. The Spanish right as a whole is simply uncomfortable with the realities of their own country.