Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The South Of Watford Christmas Appeal

Christmas is traditionally a festive occasion, when families gather together to eat and drink, argue, fall asleep in front of the television and give each other gifts that nobody really wants. In addition to this, it is also a time for reflection and for thinking of others who are perhaps less fortunate than ourselves.

Manuel Rico at Periodismo Incendiario has drawn my attention to the sad case of Esperanza Aguirre. At first sight it seems that Esperanza has more than anyone could possibly ask for in life; she is president of the regional government of Madrid, married to the Count of Murillo, has a palace in Madrid and extensive estates in Ávila, Salamanca and Guadalajara. However, we should not be fooled by this superficial appearance of affluence. According to a newly published biography of Esperanza (simply titled “The President” – no delusions of grandeur here), she is facing a difficult Christmas. Esperanza confesses in this authorised biography that at times she has difficulty making it to the end of the month on her salary. Also, unlike many others in Spain, she does not receive 14 salary payments throughout the course of the year, she has to make do with just 12. Imagine, with Christmas fast approaching, the sacrifices she will need to make to get through the festive period without having that extra December payment that so many others will be enjoying and using to fund this carnival of exaggerated consumption!

Despite her troubles, she keeps smiling....

In telling the story, Esperanza recalls that as President of the Senate her salary was sufficient, but that sadly the 100,742 euros that she now receives every year for presiding the government of Madrid is just not enough. Most of her clothes, we are told, she buys in Zara; only one step above having to forage in the charity shops. Then there are the servants who have to be paid, the heating bills for those palaces and estates must be tremendous (the ceilings are so high in these old buildings), the list is endless. Esperanza, as I am sure I hardly need to explain, means “hope” in English. It is my hope that the readers of this blog will want to make their contribution to helping her get through this difficult patch. As soon as I manage to find a suitable tax haven to set up the account for donations, I will make the details available to all.


madrid teacher said...

Reminds me of Douglas Hurd´s autobiography, he said that his landowing MP father had to scape enough money together to enable him to go to Eton.

Still, when shes voted out I wouldn´t mind her rate of the "paro". She is pure Jackie Collins!!!! Count me in for a fiver

Graeme said...

Well it looks like you will actually have the chance to make a donation, although maybe not as much as a fiver. Over at Periodismo Incendiario they have started work on a serious proposal to set up a fund where anyone can donate 1 euro to help Esperanza out of her difficulties. The last time I looked they said a web page was being prepared - I will link to it when it emerges. Should Esperanza reject the donation, the proposal is that the fund be donated to the 11th March victims association that Aguirre refuses to fund, or to a mixture of this association and an anti-poverty organisation (which probably don't get much help from Esperanza's administration either). I will update when I have more news.