Unintentional political comedy was provided last week by Mariano Rajoy, as he appeared on El Mundo's digital TV station to present himself as the alternative to Zapatero. Asked for his policies on Spain's disastrously high youth unemployment, Rajoy reached for his notes only to discover that he couldn't read his own handwriting. So instead he attempted to bluster his way through the question, obviously unable to say anything of significance on the issue without having legible notes.
What makes this moment so special is that the question he was asked appears to have been pacted in advance, it wasn't that he didn't have any warning about it or lacked time to prepare properly a response. Although it might have appeared to viewers that the questions were spontaneous, this was not the case and the woman (a self-confessed PP supporter) who asked the question had already appeared together with Rajoy on El Mundo's front page a couple of days earlier. Ironically with a headline where Rajoy claimed he would sort out the Spanish economy in 2 years. The interviews with the paper and the TV channel were part of a several day love in between El Mundo and Rajoy, who have not exactly got along well given El Mundo's preference for Esperanza Aguirre. However, with the sniff of power it's time for a reconciliation.
The newspaper interview did at least give us some hints on what has so far been a very carefully hidden, or perhaps badly written, PP programme for economic recovery. Privatisation (= public sector gifts for private sector friends), tax cuts for businesses at the same time as (unspecified) cuts are made to control the budget deficit, the reintroduction of tax relief for mortgages and a familiar populist swipe at immigrants with the old idea of an integration contract more or less sums up the measures Rajoy proposes. With the tax relief proposal it's fairly clear that they are staking their hopes of sorting out the economy on another round of bubblenomics, with the slightly inconvenient problem of all those unsold houses from the last bubble. No indication of future growth coming from anything else.
The PP has also launched an offensive recently against Spain's regional autonomy. The ball was set rolling by José Maria Aznar who called Spain's decentralized political structure unviable. I'm curious to know what someone who spends so much time in the US, and who lavishes praise on that country, has to say about the federal structure there? Or in Germany? Rajoy has of course adopted a softer line on the issue than Aznar, as part of his bid not to offend the abstainers who he hopes will help him gain power at the next election. The PP's loyal electorate is kept happy with the prospect of action being taken against regional nationalism, but don't say it too loudly in case the anti-PP vote is mobilised.