One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and all that. Very little had ever been heard of Francisco Javier Iglesias, father of Pablo, until he was branded a terrorist last week. Javier, in the opinion of Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo y Peralta-Ramos, the 13th Marchioness of Casa Fuerte, was (or is) a terrorist.
Did the young Pablo grow up in his Madrid neighbourhood watching old episodes of Citizen Smith? Was the Tooting Popular Front his template for what was to become? Pablo can speak English, so maybe this linguistic ability was founded on Robert Lindsay. Or was it the case of a decent education allied to an exposure to the thoughts of Javier, a one-time member of the Revolutionary Antifascist Patriotic Front?
The Marchioness of Casa Fuerte is also pretty good at English. She attended Oxford, where she obtained a PhD for a dissertation on Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, a seventeenth century Spanish politician and Catholic clergyman who was viceregal of Mexico and eventually beatified in 2011. But apart from English, as you may ascertain, the backgrounds of Pablo Iglesias and Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo are somewhat different. So are their political parties - Podemos versus the Partido Popular.
We should also add the differing family circumstances between Pablo Iglesias Turrión (who doesn't stretch to several other names) and Iván Espinosa de los Monteros y de Simón, one of the five sons of Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros y Bernaldo de Quirós, the fourth Marquess of Valtierra. Iván is from Vox and he, like Cayetana, had more than a minor brush with Pablo last week. The aristocracy, or quasi-aristocracy, was lined up against a supposed revolutionary and the son of a terrorist, to boot.
It was simply extraordinary. You would be hard pressed to find any similar example of the Congress exchanges between Cayetana and Pablo in the House of Commons, that's for sure. Going at it hammer and tongs were two ultra-intelligent politicians, the PhD Cayetana and Pablo, who was one of the most outstanding political science students ever at the Complutense University of Madrid.
Pablo, said Cayetana, had moral inferiority on account of his intimacy with the ETA underworld and an unusual complacency with violence. "You have become the Trojan donkey of democracy, the ambassador for ETA members" of the government (a reference to the EH Bildu party in the Basque Country). "You have a plan against democracy. This violates the rights of the Spanish and sponsors those who seek the destruction of the state." Pablo had taken advantage of the pandemic "to impose his project". "You are the disciple of the Ayatollahs of Iran." All this before she got round to saying that he was the son of a terrorist.
Pablo wasn't taking this lying down. He habitually addresses Cayetana as the marchioness in any event and reckoned that being a Trojan donkey was far more worthy than being a marquess. The president (speaker) of Congress asked for Cayetana's accusation about being the son of a terrorist to be struck from the minutes, but Cayetana refused. Javier has meanwhile announced that he will be denouncing the marchioness, while even Pablo's mother got involved. Maria Luisa Turrión took to Twitter in stating that Javier was and is a good man and a fighter against any form of terrorism. "Being the son and companion of Javier Iglesias is an honour that the forked tongue of a trashy marchioness cannot tarnish."
As if all this wasn't enough, there was the set-to between Pablo and one of the sons of the Marquess of Valtierra. During a session of the Congress Reconstruction Commission, there was deconstruction between Podemos and Vox (not that there has ever been any mutual construction, it has to be said). Iván Espinosa de los Monteros was informed by Pablo that Vox wants to carry out a coup d'état but doesn't dare to. Iván was outraged, started packing his briefcase, described Pablo's remarks as "intolerable", put his mask on and walked out. Pablo shouted: "Shut the door when you leave."
When the commission reconvened a couple of hours later, its chairman, Patxi López, offered his apologies. There had been "unnecessary statements and behaviour, which the citizens do not expect".
Everything and everyone had seemingly calmed down until Mrs. Pablo Iglesias, Irene Montero, the minister for equality, had her turn. The PP and Vox have been spending weeks "calling for the insubordination of the army, claiming that this is a criminal and illegitimate government". They have been encouraging "rebellion and uprising".
So, there we were. The Tooting Popular Front hadn't been Pablo's template after all. Citizen Smith was a member of the aristocracy.