Better to go with the flow

JOSE IGNACIO WERT: Wasn’t all that popular even inside his own party.

Learning curve for Wert

FORMER Education minister Jose Ignacio Wert is now Spain’s ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Despite all the perks, life in ministerial Madrid couldn’t have been easy for much-disliked Wert, who wasn’t all that popular even inside his own party. He asked to stand down when his wife Montserrat Gomendio was appointed the OECD’s assistant director general for Education in Paris and the famous revolving door debouched Wert into an enviably cushy job. And now he is disliked even more than before, gossip has it, by career diplomats better qualified for the job.

IT was always a Spanish tendency to assume that what is not banned is compulsory, which is why Rajoy is mistaken in being so inflexible over Catalunya’s independence.  Polls hint that more than half of Catalans do not want it and unless he is careful he will push waverers into the secessionists’ arms.

The carrot…
WILL it wash? Finance minister and Hacienda boss Cristobal Montoro promised to lower income tax if Mariano Rajoy is re-elected in the forthcoming general elections.  It’s a tempting offer but less enticing than either appears to understand.  After all, the promise of an income tax break will mean little to the millions who are still unemployed.

…and the stick
THE present government dangles enticements like Montoro’s on one hand while proffering dire warnings on the other.  
Pacts like those that changed the colour of town halls and regional government after the May elections will bring instability, Mariano Rajoy has warned.
So far neither town halls nor regional governments have imploded even though a lot of the newly-arrived politicians have much to learn.  At least the pacts bring with them the necessity of learning to live together, an exercise for which neither Rajoy nor the Partido Popular has shown much interest or aptitude.
But hang on a minute:  what about the local and regional governments where the PP’s majorities are shored up Ciudadanos?  By Rajoy’s own reckoning, they must be unstable too.

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