No honour among thieves. No honour among politicians. Some would say that thieves and politicians aresynonymous. I do not. But I do say there is a lack of honour among politicians. And this lack of honour in a Spanish style has been exposed and laid bare by events of the past week. The Congress of Deputies was presented on Tuesday with the announcement (not unexpected) that the reform of the abortion law was to be withdrawn. There were many, myself included, who applauded the announcement. It was a reform that had been brazenly aimed at currying favour with fundamentalist Catholic tradition, both within the Partido Popular (some but by no means all factions) and the Church. Mariano Rajoy said that a lack of consensus had brought about the withdrawal. Had he ever expected that there would be consensus? Who was he trying to kid? Applauded the decision may have been, but it was a dishonourable decision nonetheless. The reform had been one that the government had intended. It had signalled its intention to the electorate. That electorate, the part of which that would have supported the reform, has, as has been remarked upon, been cheated. The honour, such as there was, was all that of Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón. He was the architect of the reform, but he was an architect who had taken this assignment in consultation with Rajoy and party strategists. It might have been a nasty reform, but by withdrawing it, Rajoy held Ruiz-Gallardón out to dry. He was dispensable. He did the honourable thing and resigned. ‘Tis ever thus, when you have been stitched up like a kipper that has slowly rotted in the political fridge. Rajoy, cowering behind the consensus defence, was appealing to that part of the electorate which most definitely did not support the reform. The majority in other words. He has an election coming up. The withdrawal was an act as brazen as the reform had been in appealing to its intended stakeholders. As brazen but also dishonourable. But then, what does one expect? Rajoy could of course face a backlash from the conservative fundamentalists, but he would reckon on the popularity of the withdrawal outweighing such a backlash. He is a fool if he does. Everyone can see the dishonour, regardless of which side of the argument they take.
Most dishonourable governments - part two
Cast your minds back if you will to the so-called green taxes that the Balearic Government had proposed. You will remember that the proposal incurred the wrath, among others, of mighty retailers. These were taxes which had the full approval of the president, José Ramón Bauzá. Mysteriously, though, the economy had recovered sufficiently for them not to be introduced. Someone with an economics background had cocked up. Who was that? Ah yes, the former finance minister, Pep Aguiló. Another kipper to meet the stitching. He didn’t resign, he was sacked. Around the same time, another to be hung out in the burning sun, was Rafael Bosch, the former education minister. He was at least partly honourable. He didn’t buy in wholeheartedly to the trilingual teaching scheme. He was too much of a “Catalanist”, chirped Jorge Campos of the way-off-to-the-right Circulo Balear and one with the ear of Joserra. Bosch was sacked as well but was given a nice little governmental earner buried away somewhere doing something related to the islands’ economy. Off you toddle, Rafael, and keep your mouth shut. Joana Camps has now resigned. Honourable? Nah, not a bit of it. The honourable thing would have been for her to have never accepted the education portfolio in the first place. As an estate agent, her knowledge of education was as deep as mostly everyone else’s. She had once gone to school. (Bosch was more of an education expert.) But you can’t blame someone for having ambition even if she was so far out of her depth that it was impossible to see the bottom and that she came to dig for herself a trench as bottomless as the Mariana. Well, it wasn’t all her fault, this business with the High Court declaring procedures to do with the introduction of trilingual teaching (TIL) illegal. Bosch had been minister when the first decree was introduced. So he was, but he wasn’t when the Court pronounced procedures to have been illegal last September and he hasn’t been while Joana has been failing to defend the indefensible. Dishonour barely does this government justice. Some other words that have been thrown around are “infantile” and “disobedient”. The government simply cannot just go around disobeying the Court or passing further decrees within hours of the Court finding against it, which is exactly what it did last September and thus produced the final straw which broke the teachers’ back and sent them out on strike for a month. To carry on believing it can apply TIL while it seeks an appeal from the Supreme Court in Madrid is ridiculous. And who is to say that the matter would stop with the Supreme Court anyway? This is a government which has brought itself into disrepute. It is almost, through its infantile behaviour, allowing the radicals among the teachers to get off scot-free, which they most definitely shouldn’t be. And at the head of this dishonourable government is Joserra. He should resign, but he won’t. He has placed the very much more credible Nuria Riera in charge of education in the hope that he can save his skin. But his own party is full of those who are lining up against him. Will there be a putsch?
The week’s afterthought
The chaos that has been brought to the classrooms has pushed the Magalluf story into the background for once. I can hear you cheering. It hasn’t gone away though. The week started with the awful news of Javier Pierotti’s death. I was not alone in having been profoundly shocked by the news. I was also not alone in the initial thoughts I had. Such fear was replaced by deep sadness as we came to understand more. While Javier’s suicide has clouded the past few days, small shafts of light have been thrown on the ongoing investigation into police corruption allegations. But what does one make of Calvia’s decision to establish a special commission comprised of local politicians to consider “possible dysfunctions that have been identified”? What we have learned is that emails being studied by prosecutors were sent to and from police officers, businesspeople and politicians. Who should be on a special commission to consider possible dysfunctions involving the police? Maybe it isn’t necessary. The investigating judge, the prosecutors and the Guardia Civil are very adept at identifying dysfunctions.