A very strange thing happened last week in Spain. An elected representative of the Partido Popular resigned after his involvement in murky events came to light, and not only did he resign but he did it quickly. Even stranger still, his own party did nothing to defend him. Odd when you consider how long the PP affords protection to people who take money supposedly destined for children suffering sexual abuse or for those suffering from AIDS and spend it instead on apartments in Valencia.
But everything is odd about the case of Santiago Cervera, a member of the Spanish parliament for the PP until his sudden resignation just over a week ago. Cervera was arrested in Pamplona two days before he resigned by a unit of the Guardia Civil who were staking out the drop off point for a supposed blackmail attempt on the president of the local savings bank. They caught Cervera in the act of retrieving the (fake) package that had been left as bait in a hole in the wall of the city's old fortress.
Cervera claims he has been the victim of a setup and after his resignation produced anonymous emails that claimed to offer confidential information on what had been happening in the Caja Navarra savings bank. This information was supposedly to be placed in that same hole in the wall in Pamplona, and Cervera claims that he only went there motivated by curiosity. The investigating judge is clearly not convinced, and has formally notified Cervera that he could be facing criminal charges.
Now it is apparently well known in Navarra that Cervera and those running the Caja do not get on, just as it is well known that Cervera has plenty of enemies there as a result of the political shenanigans of the last few years involving the PP and their, occasional, partners in the ruling Unión del Pueblo Navarro. Perhaps this history is the reason why Cervera ran on the PP list for Madrid in last year's general election despite his long association with Navarra.
Santiago Cervera would not be the first person in the PP that you would link with sinister activities such as blackmail, there are many other far more likely candidates. Indeed Cervera - and you have to take this statement in the general context of the PP and how they behave - had something of a reputation for integrity and for campaigning for greater transparency in politics. As I say, I wouldn't like to stretch that point too far; we're talking relative integrity. Perhaps that's why his party dropped him so coldly and quickly?
Or maybe they know more than we do? The details we have of the case so far just don't fit. The emails produced by Cervera were dated almost a week before the president of Caja Navarra went to the police over the alleged blackmail attempt. So if Cervera went to the hole in the wall earlier there would be nothing at all to find and life would have resumed its normal course. Now we must await further news from the judicial investigation. Running with the bulls isn't the most dangerous sport they play in Pamplona.