Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rajoy Plays The Race Card Again

When he's not blaming Zapatero for the economic crisis, Partido Popular leader Mariano Rajoy has another favoured target; immigrants. Yesterday Rajoy directly attacked foreigners working in Spain by linking the number of immigrants claiming unemployment benefit and the number of Spaniards who travel to France every year to work on the grape harvest in that country. He suggested that immigrants should have no right to claim such benefits by claiming that the government budget was for “los Españoles”.

Sometimes with people like this who are a bit slow on the uptake you need to state the obvious. If there are immigrants claiming unemployment benefit in Spain it's because they have paid their social security contributions while they have been working here. The same contributions which are also paying the retirement pensions of several hundred thousand Spaniards. The last government which Rajoy formed part of was content to leave close to a million immigrants in a situation of absolute insecurity, without papers or social security and easy prey for unscrupulous employers. The regularisation of many of these immigrants led to a huge increase in the numbers paying social security contributions.

Meanwhile the explanation for the number of Spaniards going to France to work is equally simple, the conditions they are offered there are much better than those in Spain. They can be paid double what is on offer in their home country and have in fact been travelling to France to work on the harvest for years, this is not a new phenomenon resulting from the crisis. A PP which is increasingly attached to neocon economic policies at the very time when those same policies are unravelling at speed is naturally going to be unable to see the wood for the trees. The tried to play the xenophobic card in the general election campaign and if yesterday is anything to go by they will continue to try and use it to their advantage as the economic situation worsens. They have nothing else to offer.


Lenox said...

I've long had a poor opinion of Mariano but I must now regretfully decide that I can no longer...(well, 'support' would be too strong a word) the Partido Popular.
Now, I have never liked the PSOE (too corrupt for my taste, and anyway, I live in Andalucía).
Which leaves me with Rosa Diaz and the UPD.
Go, Rosa!

Anonymous said...

Lenox, I could not agree with you less. UPD, like Ciutadans, represents the most rancid, agressive, and ignorant extremes of Spanish nationalism. On the issues on which they campaign, they are on a par with the most unpleasant fringes of the PP. They may not hate gay people or the secular world like many of the latter, but they truly represent the worst excesses of small-mindedness and provincialism.

Lenox said...

Well John, it's probably just as well I don't have the vote in national elections. Nor, come to think of it, have I ever legally had the vote in any national elections.
That's what Europe is all about.
Of course, where it counts, we displaced Europeans are allowed to vote in local elections, although most of us unfortunately don't bother.
I've always voted for some small independent group in our pueblo - one that allows foreign candidates on its list. Me, inevitably.
John - if that's you - when are you starting up Iberian Notes again?

Graeme said...

I suspect you have the wrong John, Lenox. Either that or he's experienced a profound change of political philosophy.

Tom said...

Maybe the economic crisis has shaken his faith in global capitalism, or he got confused with loving the concept of a Catalan police force (should he love them or hate them?!)... stranger things have happened.

Either way, we all win :-)

Anonymous said...

No, no, I am not him, although I have seen, and shouted at, his blog in the past. I am not sure if I am disappointed or pleased that he is no longer putting his thoughts out there.

I just chose the name John randomly one day when posting here on SOW. A trifle unoriginal, I'll grant you. Maybe I will give it some thought and come back with a different name... I'll be sure to inform you if so that I am the poster formerly known as John.

Graeme said...

:) Judging from your first comment following this confusion it looks like "John (pending)" should solve the issue. Unless you prefer to pass through several stages on the transition to a new identity?