Sunday, November 02, 2008

If Flags Could Talk

Significantly more interesting than the Queen of Spain's opinions on all sorts of topics has been the political reaction from the major parties here. A pact of silence has been imposed both by the governing PSOE and the opposition Partido Popular. I don't know how many republicans there are in the PSOE's parliamentary party, but all their representatives received a text message after the controversy hit the headlines telling them that the party would not comment on declarations by members of the royal family.

On the PP's side the pact was broken by Esteban González Pons who suggested that the monarchy was like the flag, and that flags don't make declarations! Personally, I believe that if flags could talk most of them would be every bit as reactionary as the royal family seems to be. In any case, we now know that what the royal palace described in their statement as a private conversation was in fact a series of no fewer than 15 separate meetings between the Queen and the author of the book - preceded by a questionnaire containing over 600 questions! Pre-publication copies of the book were sent to the royal palace and the title was even changed on the palace's suggestion. No objections were made to the content of the book itself, and a delighted publisher wasted no time in getting it issued.

As an interesting aside I read yesterday in the press that Sofía was questioned about whether any members of her family were freemasons, an important issue when the writer of the book is a supporter of the extremist Catholic sect Opus Dei. Apparently, Sofía denied that any of her immediate relatives were masons, but acknowledged that there was one in the family. I think this is a reference to Prince Philip, who is known to have a bit of a taste for rolling up his trouser leg and inventing funny handshakes. We were also treated to some of the Queen's earlier declarations about Franco's dictatorship, which she apparently described as a "dictablanda" rather than a dictadura. Hardly a surprise if you happen to be the wife of Franco's chosen successor, I imagine they rarely felt the full force of the dictatorship. Those who are still being dug out of roadside graves around Spain would probably not have shared her opinion.

No comments: