Thursday, September 18, 2008

Get Out The Way ZP!

Many years ago, back in the early 1990's when Felipe Gonzalez was still Spanish Prime Minister, the then leader of the opposition hit on a simple formula for undermining the government. Playing on the idea that Gonzalez had stayed in power too long and that his government was worn out and unable to react to developments, Jose Maria Aznar used the phrase “¡Váyase, señor González!” to such effect that it now forms part of Spanish political history. It's a great formula if you use it at the right time, when your opponent is clearly on the slide. It avoids any sort of ideological exposure or the need to present any concrete alternatives, you simply play on the feeling of popular exasperation with someone who clings on to power. Well the Partido Popular, having failed with ideological opposition in the last parliament, now seems to be searching for a way to repeat the Aznar formula against Zapatero. The speech made by Mariano Rajoy on the economy last week, the one where he demonstrated his “sincere perplexity, was littered with references suggesting that Zapatero was part of the problem and should get out of the way. This has been followed up this week with further attacks suggesting that ZP is the main obstacle to solving the economic crisis in Spain.

All of this might be a little bit more convincing if the PP had something more to offer on the economy than tax cuts for their mates to be paid for with undefined public spending cuts. Nevertheless, the PP is actively trying to give the impression that only Zapatero stands in the way of a solution for all economic troubles. The problem for the PP is that Aznar used the formula against a government that was generally exhausted and mired in scandals, and that Aznar himself was still in a secure position as PP leader. Rajoy cannot say the same, and who better than Esperanza Aguirre to remind us of this? Last weekend the Lideresa gave a revealing interview to the newspaper ABC, where she made it clear that for her at least the leadership question in the PP was still not settled. Aguirre insists that the candidate for the next general election will only be decided at the next PP conference which should be held in 2011. All the more reason for Mariano to step up the pressure on the government, the best thing for him would be a government that can't see out its full term. Otherwise Zapatero may not be the first to fall.


David said...

Actually, the all time famous quote "España va bien", which Sñr Aznar uttered and was often quoted.
I'm still waiting for ZP to appropiate this little one liner.

Graeme said...

I think you'll have to wait a bit longer still, even the famously optimistic ZP might hold back from using that one at the moment.

Lenox said...

We used one in the local press years back to get rid of a particularly crooked mayor. Instead of 'tirar la toalla' (throw in the towel - a popular Spanish expression) we used 'tirar la cadena'. Pull the flush!