Tuesday, May 26, 2009

European Elections 2009....Has Anyone Noticed?

With the European Parliament elections just around the corner, there is plenty of activity on the part of the political parties in Spain. The only question is how much of this is going to reach a not very enthusiastic electorate. Aware that their voters may be more likely to stay at home than those of the Partido Popular, the PSOE have opted for trying to scare their supporters to the polls. This was their campaign video from last week:

Some polls show the PSOE almost neck and neck with the PP, after the pollsters have made their adjustments - on direct intention of vote the PSOE is usually some way ahead. All of this is a bit worrying for the government as it puts them in danger of losing their best asset....Mariano Rajoy! I still think the PP will win, just because of the greater motivation of their electorate, but Rajoy really needs to get momentum from a resounding victory. Too close a result may just open up the PP's internal divisions again. After all, Rajoy's strategy of relying on the economic crisis to erode support for the government may not be quite so effective if it really does turn out that the worst of the recession has passed. He really needs those unemployment figures to keep making dramatic upward leaps. The PP's candidate, Jaime Mayor Oreja, seems to have forgotten his differences with Mariano in return for being allowed to continue his gilded pre-retirement in Brussels and Strasbourg. Some were surprised that Rajoy allowed him to continue as candidate but it does permit the PP to appeal to their more ultra disillusioned supporters who were being attracted by the nationalist tub thumping of UPyD.

The general expectation is that apathy will win, with a continuation of the trend of ever lower participation in these elections. This will be followed by the ritual couple of weeks of hand wringing about the distance between the voters and the European project, then everything will return to normal. In some ways it's a pity, because the European Parliament is now a force for change, and often not for the better. It seems to have become a place where measures which governments don't really want to present themselves can be quietly passed with hardly anyone noticing. A lobbyists dream, as hardly anyone is aware of what is going on and how their representatives are voting. The recent attempts to legislate on Internet and downloading were a clear indication of how industry lobbies can exercise their influence without it being quite so obvious. Unless it's an issue that really mobilises people to make a noise they can get away with it.


Anonymous said...

And this is precisely the reason why I cannot but hold my nose, forget for a few seconds about People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Joan Saura and his Stalinist wholesale repression of students opposing the McDonaldisation of Catalan universities and cast my vote for Raül Romeva. As far as I know, he's the only MEP from Catalonia with a consistent track record of work in Strasbourg. At least he's doing his best to try to stem the drift towards the right of that decrepit institution, with all the attending consequences in terms of ever hardening legislation for those on the receiving end.

Judith said...

Sorry, I've forgotten to sign my name - see above

Graeme said...

I saw a video a few weeks ago of the Mossos charging the students in Barcelona. Well over the top, although in defence of the police I have to say that many of these students appeared to be carrying books. We have to assume that in the right circumstances they might even be prepared to use them.

David said...

We're starting to get PSOE letters in English down here!

Trying to scare us by saying that "they" are trying to impose a 65 hour working week. Seeing as to how most Brits in this area are retired..

Bill said...

Down Murcia way a minor religious/far right party called AES is trying to make a play for the expat vote, saying they would protect innocent foreigners from predatory property developers who have ripped so many [of us] off; to which one must really say "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes". The naivete of my fellow-Brits rarely fails to amaze me - when I pointed out, after a little research on the internet, just how noisome these people are (basically neo-fascists), most were really shocked they had been taken in so easily. Most, but not all, because let's face it a small proportion of Brits have pretty noisome views themselves so seem quite receptive to the messages AES seek to peddle.

Either of the two main Spanish political parties, according to taste, seems a whole lot safer. And no doubt there are other small political parties in Spain which are at the very least not disgusting in their political aims.