New state of play

SPAIN drank its morning coffee as Mariano Rajoy’s State of the Nation speech reminded everyone that he has hauled the country out of recession.

Viewers and listeners lunched and dined to barbs and harangues from the opposition parties as they enumerated their reasons for refusing to be impressed.

It must have been frustrating for Podemos and Ciudadanos not to contribute to the talk-fest. These two parties are so new and captivating that they occupy respective second and fourth places in opinion polls but no seats in the national parliament.

Frustration was tempered with the knowledge that this will be the last State of the Nation debate where a government’s overpowering, overall majority turns criticism or censure into a waste of breath.

Podemos and Ciudadanos might never harvest enough votes to form a government alone but they know things are going to change and will change because of them.


THE Partido Popular bays for the heads of the PSOE miscreants in Andalucia and elsewhere but should examine its own loyalty to high-ranking politicians linked to scandals. Double standards are not convincing at the best of times and are pure self-indulgence in an election year.

Help from afar

PODEMOS could also be accused of double standards. The €425,000 paid to its co-founder, Juan Carlos Monedero, by ALBA – an alliance of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua – for his advisory services is costing him dear. Not because he belatedly gave the Hacienda its cut. Not because he first claimed that he earned it in 2010 and later amended this to 2013. The least savoury aspect of that money is the use it was put to. If Monedero and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias are to be believed, it financed the latter’s chat show, La Tuerka. But was it used illegally to fund Podemos?

Was it earned by the sweat of Monedero’s brow or was it a donation? Before the death of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela was already backsliding into totalitariansm and under Nicolas Maduro it has arrived. Not the best credentials for a party that polls rank as the second most popular in Spain.

Wanted children

NEW laws will soon make it easier to adopt, and not before time. There are 13,400 children currently in care and probably double that number of couples hoping to adopt.

Instead they face a bureaucratic obstacle race that regularly shatters their dreams.

At least Rajoy’s government saw sense and withdrew its Abortion reform bill. Had it not, Spain’s orphanages would soon have been overcrowded with even more unwanted children.

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