Tuesday, January 26, 2010

El Limbo De La Dependencia

The Ley de Dependencia is perhaps one of the most significant pieces of legislation introduced by Zapatero's administration. It recognises the situation of many people who are having to spend much of their lives looking after dependent relatives, and offers financial assistance to them. I wrote a post over two years ago on how this law was being systematically obstructed by the regional government in Madrid, and it's sad to report that this situation still exists when most other regions of the country have implemented the law in full. In Madrid thousands of applications for help under this law have been ignored. It matters little to the Aguirre gang that those who pay the heaviest price for their political posturing are amongst the most vulnerable.

It seems that there are two regional governments in particular, those of Madrid and Valencia (both PP controlled), who are determined to ensure that no national government initiative with any risk of being popular gets implemented successfully. It's not just the case with the Ley de Dependencia, the government's education plan to ensure access of all schoolchildren to laptop computers has also been obstructed in both of these regions. Of course neither Madrid nor Valencia likes to claim that they do this just for reasons of sectarian political opposition, they find all sorts of other pretexts for not being able to do what the rest of the country can. But when it comes to non-compliance the same names come up again and again. With Murcia occasionally joining in.

We wait to see now what will happen with the plan by the national government to tighten anti-smoking legislation, but Madrid has already hinted that this law could go the same way as the current one; completely ignored in the Spanish capital because the regional government refuses to enforce it. With the rumours of a new law being introduced Esperanza Aguirre left it to one of her most loyal sidekicks to express opposition. The fact that the smarmy Juan José Güemes is allegedly responsible for Madrid's health service and supervises the spending of huge sums on treating tobacco related diseases doesn't mean that he should not lead the charge. I know what you are thinking, surely the PP that runs these regions can't be related to the other PP that constantly claims it is the only party supporting equality of treatment between all of Spain's autonomous regions? It is, I have to insist, the very same party.

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