Spain: Exposed Sewage & A Rose Garden
This morning I was pleased to open El País and find this article by Manuel Vicent. Then this one by Elvira Lindo. El Mundo also had their share of flair, although less poetic, via Pablo Pardo. He says Spain has evolved, but is still a country that functions according to traditional power structures. That’s no surprise in a nation where for decades a dictatorship pushed patriarchy down the throats of the entire population. The government was modelled on a family. The old, traditional sort, that right wingers are always banging on about. In the traditional family, there is a head who is a man. He makes the rules. The rest obey. In the hierarchy his wife comes next. Until, of course, his eldest son is ready to take the reins of power. Unquestionably his. His male credentials make it so. The problem with the traditional family model, whether for society, government or for families themselves, is that it’s based in tradition rather than common sense. When everyone has to acquiesce the will of the leader, just because they’re the leader, the door has been opened to an infinity of mistakes, wrong turns and abuses. The concept of merit(ocracy) becomes worthless. It is replaced by each individual’s ability to please those who hold the power. Do you do your job well as a banker? It hasn’t really mattered in Spain lately. Political appointees helped tank a number of Spanish Cajas. Rodrigo Rato, head of Bankia until its bankruptcy, has just taken a position on the board of Telefonica Latam/Telefonica Europe. I can’t imagine a more obscene system. It’s not just that there’s no consequence for failure. People are actually rewarded no matter what they do. Why? Tradition. The belief that it is the right of certain groups to rule. To lead.
The latest Gürtel/Bárcenas scandal, that has rocked Spanish politics, isn’t really very surprising. Politicians allegedly took ‘gifts’ and money from people with special interests. The prime minister himself, Mariano Rajoy, may be implicated. If you want to know the details, Jorge Martin has done a very straight-forward and detailed outline of the scandal here.