There is a saying in Valencia that I often like to quote in this column: “there is no ceiling down below”. As difficult as it may seem, Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy has effectively raised the bar for self-ridicule when he referred to the entire opposition to his government as radical and racist. “Right and left-wing radicals, xenophobic parties, nationalists and artificial inventions have never solved anything, nor have they ever made a positive contribution in history”. He said so in the beautiful town of Toledo, during a political gathering of the European Popular Party. We do not know how his continental peers reacted, but I can imagine a wave of perplexity flowing from earphone to earphone as his words were translated (do not forget that PM Rajoy is unable to express himself unless an interpreter is nearby, including to translate from Spanish into Spanish).
Rajoys mentions radicalism, but some of his cabinet ministers preach about life imprisonment and even the death penalty, with a number of euphemisms. Rajoys mentions nationalism, but he his the head of a government renowned for inventing the Spain Brand and for its attempt to turn Catalan children into Spaniards, as Education and Culture minister José Ignacio Wert openly admitted. Rajoy mentions xenophobia, but he is the prime minister who has kept and extended the wall crowned with nasty barbed wire that massacres the immigrants who manage to enter Spain via Melilla (northern Africa). Rajoys mentions artificial inventions but, as prime minister, he usually addresses the media from a flat screen TV and he has yet to explain what Mr Luis Bárcenas (1) was up to in his party.
What I have been trying to say is that PM Rajoy is, in short, a fraud and an impostor. He attempts to deny values in the opposition that he and his government and his party have bombarded and eroded at every opportunity. If there is a radical, xenophobic, nationalistic, artificial political party in Spain, that is Mr Rajoy’s PP. Rajoy was trying to denounce the opposition but, instead, he ended up painting a self-portrait.
The current Spanish PM --which, by the way, holds an important office-- is an irresponsible demagogue. Nevertheless, he manages to keep a certain air of moderation because those that follow him --especially his own cabinet ministers-- are actually much worse than he is. No matter how hard he tries to disguise it, we have him sussed out. The subject of who has been the worst PM during Spain’s short, so-called democracy often comes up. Perhaps Aznar, maybe Zapatero (Felipe González, Calvo Sotelo and Adolfo Suárez appear to be off-limits). Well, we have the answer, at last. Mariano Rajoy is not a politician. He is just a despicable product of the state’s machinery who managed to pass the exam to become a property registrar. Perhaps it is true that we have hit our ceiling, way down below.
(1) N.T. Luis Bárcenas is a former PP treasurer who allegedly managed a system of backhanders paid to top party officials, including PM Rajoy.