Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Spy Someone Beginning With E

It would have been inexcusably lax of me to let the whole of January pass without writing something about the activities of the Esperanza Aguirre Gang, formerly known as the government of the Comunidad de Madrid. Even by their own low standards, things are really taking quite an exceptional turn at the moment. El País has reported extensively this week on the use by one of Espe's main sidekicks, Francisco Granados, of a group of former police officers to compile intelligence reports on political rivals both inside and outside of his own political party, the Partido Popular. Those spied upon included Manuel Cobo, number two to Madrid's mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardón and Alfredo Prada who was the predecessor of Granados in charge of Madrid's "Interior" department. The latter lost his job when he committed the "sin" of supporting Mariano Rajoy as PP leader. It was also reported that Espe's vice president Ignacio Gonzalez was placed under surveillance during a trip he made to the Colombian city of Cartagena. He made the trip in his capacity as political boss of Madrid's water company, Cartagena is a very pleasant city to visit and is surrounded on three sides by the wet stuff; apart from that it's hard to see its relationship to how Madrileños get their drinking water.

The intial reaction of Granados was to dismiss the accusations using the current PP standard excuse that everything that happens is an attempt by the government to distract attention from the economic crisis. However, the Madrid prosecution service is now getting involved and there have been angry exchanges between Gallardon's ayuntamiento and the Aguirre Gang. Madrid is not amongst those regions that possess their own police force, so the creation of any kind of intelligence service seems to be well outside the range of the Comunidad's powers. Perhaps the fact that Granados is also secretary general of the regional PP helps to explain why he would (ab)use public money to dig up dirt on his poitical enemies. He is now playing the martyr in an attempt to create the idea of a witch hunt against himself and Aguirre, but there is some significant explaining to be done. Gonzalez may also have some explaining to do, having denied that he had done any favours for a businessman who accompanied him on another jaunt to South Africa, it now turns out that the same businessman has received a very lucrative contract from....Madrid's water company, the Canal Isabel II.

As if all of this wasn't enough the bizarre battle led by Aguirre to gain political control of the Caja Madrid savings bank has intensified. I thought she had won her battle when I wrote about this before Christmas, but recently the Aguirre supporter presiding the Caja's control commission was deposed by an alliance of Gallardonistas and a couple of PSOE nominees who rebelled against their party's strange decision to accept Aguirre's manoeuvres. The fallout from this has included threats of legal action by the Comunidad, so famous for their respect for the law, as well as text messages offering jobs with Madrid's government to try and change the way votes will be cast. Mariano Rajoy has appealed for a change to the law controlling the savings banks to prevent this kind of political squabbling. Of course, if he really was the leader of his party he would have already been able to put an end to the spectacle long ago, his inability to do this spells out his own lack of authority in the party. The overall impression is of a group of people engaged in almost any activity except that for which they were elected. Meanwhile Madrid seems to be getting along quite nicely in the absence of any kind of government.


1 comment:

Colin said...

Thank God! I was getting impatient and wqas actually on the verge of petitioning your perspective on this imbroglio. I will now read it . . .