Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Espe Pulls Her Christmas Caja

Without wishing to spoil the festive season, or cause temperatures to drop too sharply, I couldn't resist a last post of the year about Mrs Aguirre. Espe always keeps a special place in her heart for those who have defied her at some point, and bides her time until she can take revenge. I wrote a few weeks ago about her attempts to take control of the regional savings bank, Caja Madrid. For a while it looked as if she had been outmanoeuvred by the Caja's president Miguel Blesa and Madrid's mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardón. Not so, in one of her last political acts of the year Aguirre moved to change the law governing savings banks in the region and clear the way for her to take control.

As part of her takeover bid, Aguirre has placed some of her people onto the board controlling the bank and interesting appointments they are too. Step forward Angel Acebes, cast out into the political wilderness by Mariano Rajoy and forever associated with the attempts to manipulate the political fallout of the Madrid bombings. Don't worry, he's in good company because also appointed at the same time to one of these cosy positions is Manuel Lamela, whose only significant claim to fame is the vindictive persecution of the Leganés doctors. You could present a plausible case for both of these men spending the rest of their days breaking rocks in the hot sun, it takes an Espe to see the good side of them. Compared to these two, the additional appointment of her deputy's sister-in-law seems like run of the mill political patronage, scarcely worth commenting.

For Aguirre this use of political patronage is the key to her power in the PP. She became president of the Madrid regional government just a few months before the PP was ejected from power at national level. She then turned her administration into a kind of mini Valle de los Caidos for those refugees from Aznar's government who were faced with the awful prospect of having to look for a real job. What she is doing now with Caja Madrid is simply a continuation of that strategy. To some it may seem odd that someone so apparently convinced of the virtues of the free market for everything should spend so much of her time immersed in battles for control over public or semi-public institutions. There's no real contradiction, this confusion of the public good with private interest lies at the heart of her political philosophy.


Colin said...


You write as if ego, ambition, pique and pettiness were the exclusive reserve of your favourite lady. There's at least one book to be written on how much in politics is owed to pettiness.

Happy Christmas!

Graeme said...

No Colin, I wouldn't dream of suggesting she's the only one who behaves this way. I just think you have to give credit to those who do it best ;) A Happy Navidad to you as well.

Colin said...

Well, yes. Exactly. I was going to suggest you at least express some direct admiration for her skill in the black arts. Something she shares, perhaps, with that left-of-centre Mephistopholean genius, Lord Mendelson.

But you've now done this . . .