Once again press coverage of Spain's national day on October 12th has been dominated by the fallout from the day's military parade being used by those from the far-right who seem to turn up only to shout insults at Zapatero. Liberty of expression, say their defenders in the Partido Popular, who you wouldn't consider to have much expertise to offer on that particular issue. It's fairly common for the Spanish right to view liberty as something which only they are entitled to exercise, but at the same time you have to argue in their defence that true freedom cannot exclude the option of acting like a complete jerk.
The attempts by the some in the PP to claim that the boos and abuse are simply a demonstration of growing popular indignation over Zapatero's handling of the crisis could perhaps have some distant relationship to the truth were it not for the fact that the same "facha" nutjobs turn up year after year regardless of whether the economy grows at 20% or -50%. The really odd thing about this behaviour is that you would have thought these people would be more respectful with an occasion that involves the monarchy, lots of soldiers and military hardware, flags going up and down, homages to the fallen etc. Yet they boo through everything, to the extent that even members of the royal family have started to protest.
Zapatero now turns up for this event in a semi-clandestine fashion, whilst every year sees the areas designed for the general public being pushed further and further back so that the ceremony doesn't end up as a complete farce. Those of us who don't have much time for military parades and other patriotic tosh wouldn't care if the whole thing was scrapped - that would be a justifiable austerity measure. We could all live our lives quite happily without having military jets practising over Madrid for a week before the parade. Undoubtedly those who would protest the loudest about such a move are the same ones who end up showing the least respect for the whole event.