I've written some very harsh words about Telemadrid in the past, so now it's time to put things right. Their programming today has been outstanding, their coverage of today's general strike in Spain is perhaps the best thing they've ever done. I'm sure that their dwindling but ever so loyal audience has loved every minute of it. Sadly, I can only share a small snippet of their coverage with you.
The inevitable numbers war over participation in the strike has already begun. What I can say, from my handy vantage point in the centre of Madrid, is that this has been far from a normal working day in the Spanish capital. Apart from the almost incessant noise of police helicopters this morning it's been amazingly quiet. I live with the noise of traffic normally.
I went out early this morning during the rush hour to see what was happening. I headed for Cibeles where the planned 'bicicletada' was assembling. There weren't many of them when I passed by, and it seems that later when there was more they were given a seriously hard time by the police considering it was just a bunch of people wanting to ride their bikes around holding some placards. Just up the road there was a noisy picket outside of the Banco de España.
There was traffic, but much less than on a normal day. I headed to the Puerta del Sol, expecting to see something going on. It was almost deserted apart from another heavy police presence and a few lonely TV journalists who must have ended up interviewing each other. Turning up Preciados I came across even more police, all there it seems to protect the Corte Inglés!
Transport seems to have worked in the capital, despite the provocative attempt by Esperanza Aguirre to cause a confrontation over the minimum services required. Aguirre could easily have had an agreement with the unions along the same lines they agreed with the national government. But that would have affected her image as a self-appointed union buster so she looked for a fight as part of the PP's attempt to pretend the strike is against them. It doesn't seem to have worked.