Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Camps Takes Valencia For A Ride

The image of the week so far in Spain has to be this one. As Partido Popular leader Mariano Rajoy was delivering his big speech on the need for the PP to unite behind his leadership there were a couple of notable absentees from the event. One was the renegade Aguirre, but that didn't surprise anyone, and she excused herself quietly on the grounds of family commitments. Francisco Camps of Valencia decided to make sure everyone noticed his absence by leaving for a far more important event; he had to be seen driving a Ferrari in the presentation of Fernando Alonso as a member of that Formula 1 team.

Camps is increasingly becoming a problem for his party and for Rajoy, who had depended on the support he got from Valencia to bolster his own position. Last week in the Valencian parliament Camps made the extraordinary accusation that the opposition PSOE wanted to take him out for a Spanish Civil War style execution which would leave him lying face down in a makeshift grave. Even Camps had to at least partially retract this attack, which many people saw as a sign of his increasing nervousness and erratic behaviour as his previously safe position comes under threat. Not that the threat comes from the opposition in Valencia, his main enemies now are in his own party. In any case, there is far more accumulated experience within that party of bodies being dumped by the road side.

Another insight into the world according to Camps came from a report describing an exchange he had with the judge who was investigating the case of the gifts he is said to have received in the Gürtel case. Questioned about a recorded conversation where Alvaro "El Bigotes" Perez had suggested he was in debt to Camps, the Valencian president allegedly replied by claiming that all Valencians were in his debt because of what he had done for the region! Clearly not suffering from problems of self esteem, he seems unable to deal with the possibility that he may be on the road to becoming a liability for the PP. In the meantime, expect lots of expensive distractions like the one we saw on Sunday, the circus must continue.

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