Passage of time

Juan Carlos I.

JUAN CARLOS went from hero to zero in 2012 when he broke a hip while elephant shooting in Zimbabwe with his mistress.

The economic crisis was blighting Spanish lives at that time and suddenly Spain’s king -then honorary president of the World Wild Life Fund – was seen as an ageing, florid Borbon.

He became even more of a zero after his 2014 abdication but never let it be forgotten that Juan Carlos was a hero. He cleared the way for democracy after Franco, who appointed him his successor, died in 1975.

He was a superhero when he short-circuited an attempted coup d’état in 1981. But he was omitted from the celebrations that marked the 40th anniversary of the 1977 elections, the first of the Transition.

Sadly, Juan Carlos is now the elderly relative no-one wants at the party.

Going their own way

SEVERAL socialist mayors in Cataluña will vote in the unauthorised independence referendum set for October 1.

Outside the region veins are throbbing visibly on PSOE brows but it would be ingenuous to believe that all Catalan socialists follow the party line.

Meanwhile Oscar Puente, spokesman for the PSOE executive committee, said there was nothing reproachable in the mayors’ attitude, so long as they did not facilitate the referendum.

Cataluña always provided the PSOE socialists with a comforting slab of votes but no longer. That’s not only because Podemos arrived to split the vote or because Republican-leaning socialists drifted to the ERC party, but because they want a referendum.

Ironically there are probably more pro-independence voters in the PSOE-PSC than there are in the old centre-right CiU party now reincarnated as the pro-secession PdeCat.

Bought and sold

A PARLIAMENTARY committee has been questioning the former Partido Popular treasurer Luis Barcenas.

They are probing alleged double accounting and irregular donations from big-name companies that later received juicy government contracts.

Mariano Rajoy, president of the Spanish government, claimed that the committee hearing served no purpose and he was absolutely right.

Barcenas refused to answer questions and after spending 19 months on remand he will never open his mouth again.

The ex-treasurer was bought off in 2009 when Gurtel first came to light, leaving his post but remaining with privileges at PP party headquarters.

He was sold in January 2013 after he blew the whistle when no-one came to his aid once a stash of Swiss money came to light.

Apart from Rajoy and his ‘stay strong Luis’ text message, that is. Since he left prison in January 2015, however, all is sweetness, light and silence between Barcenas and the party whose funds he so deftly amassed.Bought, sold and bought again.

Short memories

PODEMOS spokeswoman Irene Montero’s filibuster during the failed Vote of No Confidence debate fleetingly mentioned the Partido Popular’s Abortion Reform Bill.

This was eventually abandoned when it proved to be a vote-loser even inside the PP, but amazingly the now-forgotten legislation is never thrown in Mariano Rajoy’s face.

The Bill thought up by former Justice minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, and with which Rajoy was allegedly most happy, would have forced desperate women to return to backstreet butchers if they wanted to terminate a pregnancy.

Not that this would have affected the wives and daughters of the affluent, including – or especially – practising Catholics.

As in the Francoist past they would have gone to London, instead. And then to Confession.


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