WELL, the new Spanish government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero certainly likes to be controversial and yesterday was no different. Spain celebrated Columbus Day with its usual military parade and marching with the assembled troops was a veteran soldier who fought for the Nazis on the Russian front during the Second World War. He was part of Spain's Division Azul, sent to Russia by dictator General Franco. It was certainly a controversial move with left-wing politicians electing to boycott the parade. One Spanish newspaper, defended the move saying that if German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder could take part in the D-Day anniversary events it didn't see any reason why a member of the Division Azul shouldn't take part in the Columbus Day parade. Well, Zapatero is trying to be very modern and end discrimination but I think his energies would be better spent on more pressing issues than racking-up the past and antagonising the Church. His gay marriage bill has caused an outrage within the Church establishment. Although he has only been in power six months no-one could say that he has not been controversial. The fact that U.S. troops didn't march in the parade yesterday caused some criticism on the other side of the Atlantic.
Ever since the September 11 attacks U.S. troops have always formed part of the parade as a show of solidarity with the American people. This year they were replaced by French troops. I haven't got anything against Zapatero's policies but I do believe that there are more important things for him to occupy his time and effort. His Columbus Day move will effectively split Spain. One thing you have to say about the new Spanish Prime Minister he is certainly giving us in the media plenty to write about. Whether he will be an effective Prime Minister...well only time will tell.