Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rubalcaba....Zapatero's Prince Of Darkness?

The promotion of Spanish interior minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba in the recent government reshuffle has really got the right wing press and sections of the Partido Popular very excited. Partly it is because of Rubalcaba's long political history stretching back to when Felipe Gonzalez was prime minister of Spain in the 1980's and 1990's. This allows the PP to associate Rubalcaba with the GAL scandal, the government sponsored dirty war against ETA that led to entirely innocent people being kidnapped or murdered. Not that this aspect is what really bothers PP supporters, it's just that the GAL was one of the main political levers they used to get Gonzalez out of power.

Combine this with the fact that Rubalcaba is now in charge of the police and you get the perfect combination for the PP. We have even seen a minor resurgence of the conspiranoia surrounding the Madrid bombings, with PP general secretary Maria Dolores de Cospedal promising that the PP would reveal the "truth" about the bombings when they return to office. This act of transparency is of course not expected to include the documentation which the PP removed or destroyed on leaving office after the bombings. Instead the suggestion will presumably be that it was Rubalcaba who placed the bombs, rather than Zapatero himself.

Then there is the question of corruption. Every time a new scandal concerning PP corruption emerges (and we now have a very fine collection), the PP attempts to claim that the case is purely the result of government persecution as opposed to many of their leading representatives having their noses so firmly in the trough that they can hardly breathe. This line permits them to ignore the question of whether those accused of corruption should stand down from their positions. In the latest cases to hit the headlines, involving widespread influence peddling in Alicante, 22 PP representatives involved continue to carry on as if nothing has happened, whilst two PSOE representatives with a fairly tangential involvement have been removed from their positions. Cleaning up the party is far too arduous a task for Mariano Rajoy, reportedly "agotado" after giving two interviews in a week, so the easiest solution is to claim it is all the work of the sinister Rubalcaba.

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