Vox leader Santiago Abascal

Vox leader Santiago Abascal.

09-04-2020Mariscal

I confess to never having heard of Venus Cuesta, and to be honest I'd never heard of Fuensalida either. And I don't imagine I'm alone. A municipality in the Toledo province of some 11,000 people, Wikipedia doesn't necessarily advance an overwhelming case for being familiar with Fuensalida. As for Venus Cuesta, there isn't a Wikipedia page, which probably doesn't come as a huge surprise. Venus is the spokesperson for Vox at Fuensalida town hall. No one had heard of her until last week, when she managed to drag Adolf Hitler into the fight against coronavirus.

When there was talk among his generals about invading Spain, Hitler said no. The Spaniards "are the only true brave Mediterranean people and would immediately organise guerillas to our rear. You cannot enter Spain without the permission of the Spanish". It was this quote that Venus used to then add encouragement: "Between us all, we will win and we will expel the enemy from Spain."

As might be imagined, invoking Hitler didn't go down terribly well with everyone. It merely confirmed that Vox are indeed way off to the right of the political spectrum. Nevertheless, Venus got her fifteen minutes of fame, as she was all over the media because of Hitler, although had she wished to - which she presumably wouldn't have - she might have reached for certain other views that Hitler had about Spain: "All of Spain is contained in 'Don Quixote' - a decrepit society unaware that the world has passed it by."

Alas for Vox, Hitler didn't have much time for certain institutions that Vox have plenty of time for - the monarchy, the church, and the aristocracy (and there are one or two aristocrats knocking around in the Vox ranks) - all of which were representative of this decrepit society. Still, Vox might nevertheless share this decrepitude opinion when it comes to the political class with whom they have their differences - most of the political class, and the government in particular.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal, having the previous week called for the resignation of Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias and for the formation of a government of national emergency, reiterated his resignation demand on Thursday. His party would not be "complicit" in the "poor" management of the crisis - the worst on the entire planet, he claimed. The government has been lying about the number of deaths, while Iglesias has been taking advantage of the crisis to impose his "totalitarian and communist delusions" on all Spaniards.

It's one thing being an opposition party and challenging government decisions, but Vox are taking things to extremes. We've had a Vox deputy in Congress, Macarena Olona, who when not sporting a face mask the colour of the Guardia Civil green with a Spanish flag on it, has been referring to Sánchez as a gravedigger.

Although it was described as having been non-partisan, Vox most certainly lent their support to a protest against the government and another demand for Sánchez to resign. This, naturally enough, wasn't an outdoor gathering type of protest. It was online via YouTube. Some 400,000 people, it was claimed, took part, although it has to be said that viewing something on YouTube doesn't automatically equate to supporting it.

Abascal said that this was a "spectacular patriotic reaction, the first online demonstration in history". "Almost half a million people calling for the resignation of Sánchez and Iglesias." Equally as spectacular, though, was the social media clamour to declare Vox illegal. The hashtag #IlegalizacionDeVox emerged after the party posted a photo of the Gran Via in Madrid full of coffins. It was of course a fake. The original photo was posted along with a message telling Vox that they were "idiots" for using a situation like this for propaganda.

Washing hands the Bauzá way

Personal hygiene being uppermost in everyone's mind, we have to thank (who else?) the former president of the Balearics, José Ramón Bauzá, for his hygiene advice.

Having temporarily returned to duties at his pharmacy in Marratxi, J.R. - never knowingly not self-promoting - offered the citizenship his recommendations on how to wash their hands. The video, almost six minutes of it, featured the pharmacist-politician showing how to turn the hot tap on using one's wrist (assuming that the citizens have the kind of tap that allows this), putting some water on the hands, turning the tap off, applying soap from a dispenser and rubbing it on the hands, paying particularly assiduous attention to the palms and between the fingers, turning the tap on again, rinsing the hands, turning the tap off, drying the hands with paper towel, and finally, putting gloves on.

The actual hand washing, he stressed, should take at least twenty seconds (his went on far longer than this), and if the citizens need a means of measuring the length of time, they should try singing "Cumpleaños feliz" (Happy Birthday) twice.

The Ruffian wanting to be useful

While certain political parties (Vox) are using the crisis for all its political worth, the Esquerra Republicana Catalunya is not. The Ruffian of Catalan Republicanism, Gabriel Rufián of the ERC, said in an interview that now was not the time to be talking about "self-determination" for Catalonia. "Everything has changed" because of the pandemic. The ERC isn't giving up its objectives, but its leaders wish to be "useful" at a time of crisis. "I imagine that if someone right now sees me on TV calling for self-determination, they'll be tempted to chuck the remote control at me."

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