Coalition governments, especially the one the size of which the Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez has to try and keep on message, are never easy to control and Sanchez found that out to great embarrassment on Tuesday over the move to ease restrictions on children.
Within hours of the great announcement that kids under 14 could accompanying a parent to the supermarket, chemist or bank, millions of parents were protesting from their balconies, banging their pots and pans together in the good old Spanish way. No sooner had they begun preparing for the daily round of applause for front line workers and health staff, the Spanish government had performed its biggest U-turn since finally taking office back in January.
While the government or the Covid-19 emergency unit finalises the small print of the new rules and regulations, Joe public is not impressed.
Apart from the initial plans for allowing children out being laughable, for days we had been fed rumours that the elderly would also be allowed out and the rest of the population could begin solo outdoor exercising, but both of the latter remain “on the table.”
Trouble is, as we’re seeing in France as it enters in to its fifth night of rioting in parts of Paris, the Spanish are not impressed.
If central government can’t lead by strong example, just how long will it take before Spain’s patience with being locked away snaps?