By Humphrey Carter

AT last someone of seniority has been sent to jail in this country. A businessman and two officials from the Unió Democrática political party in Barcelona will face prison for illegal political party financing and misappropriation of funds.

On March 6, a Barcelona court rejected a deal previously agreed between the prosecution and the defence to limit sentences in the case to a maximum of two years, which would have allowed the accused to avoid serving time behind bars. In his ruling the judge explained that it was intended to “intimidate citizens and politicians” tempted by corruption.

And the news has been welcomed by the public. The judiciary is bogged down with cases of alleged corruption involving senior politicians and even a royal consort but no body appears to ever go to jail. According to a poll conducted by Spain's Centre for Sociological Research (CIS), corruption is now the second-ranked issue that worries the Spanish, just after unemployment.