“Who’s the Daddy?” “I’m the Daddy”

Opposition Popular Party (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy last night underwent an interview with TV hardman Iñaki Gabilondo, who only partially managed to cover up his bemusement at having to deal with such a political muppet.

In previous TV outings, whilst failing to get much across in the way of policy ideas and party direction, the fishing-mad Galician has at least managed to give the impression that he’s a decent sort of bloke. Last night, however, the unforgiving Gabilondo had him on the back foot right from the start with the question, “So, who runs the PP? You, José Maria Aznar, Federico Jiménez Losantos?”. When Rajoy responded that he, of course, was in charge of the party, Gabilondo went on to ask him if was actually sure about that.

Gabilondo’s journalistic objectivity has always been called into question, and there was a hint of a hatchet job about the whole affair last night. As Rajoy complained about the way he had been vilified as “inhuman” for his stance on not legalising the status of immigrants, the image of a dehydrated African crawling up a beach was flashed up on the giant screen behind Rajoy’s head. And a whole gallery of images of Rajoy looking dorkier than normal were shown at opportune moments, along with close-ups of the lisping Galician’s mouth as he flustered his way through tricky questions.

The PP leader tried to set out his stall as a “viable alternative for the Spanish people” early on, but managed to produce nothing in the way of policy ideas. He got stuck into a groove of talking about the 11M terrorist attacks, immigration and ETA, choosing to stay with the Neocon security agenda that has worked up to a point for George Bush and a broad appeal to a united Spain for Iberia’s finest. There was nothing about social or economic policy, let alone public services; Gabilondo happily helped him to dig his own grave as the bumbling politico stuck religiously to the dictum that “cuando hay bronca, el PP gana” and focused solely on areas where he could lay into Zapatero’s government rather than coming up with a set of policy alternatives.

The solidly right-wing paper ABC has today continued where Gabilondo left off, urging the PP to “get over 11M” and criticising the way that the PP is letting the likes of party spokesman Eduardo Zaplana and media showman Federico Jiménez Losantos drag the party over to extreme positions of social conservatism, squeezing out the more libertarian wing of the right.  


~ by Daniel on September 14, 2006.

3 Responses to ““Who’s the Daddy?” “I’m the Daddy””

  1. Were the PP ever a party of the centre-right? I always had the impression under Aznar (the giant flag in Madrid for example) that they were fairly strong right wingers who were gradually feeling more and more confident about flaunting this.

    In the past, I’ve argued that the PP must be encouraged to save itself and I’m still sure that this is the best idea. A break in the PP will be good for lefties but bad for Spain.

  2. In their first term in government, when they had to rely on nationalist support (how easily they forget that!), they presented a very centrist image to try and covince enough voters that it was safe to let them have a majority. Once they got that majority they seemed to assume that they had moved the whole country to the right, so they didn’t need to pretend anymore. There are people in the PP who are centre-right, but at the moment they are completely marginalised in the party. It’s not a party where its exactly easy to express disagreement with the leadership – some of the old traditions are still too strong.

  3. The PP was milder in its first term when it didn’t have an absolute majority, and despite being socially well over to the right, its economic policy would be considered pretty mild by today’s standards.

    The problem it’s facing now is a complete lack of direction and power vacuum at the top. Personally I’d like to see the PP hitting on some economic and public service issues, as I think some more liberal ideas regarding employment law, competition and public-sector efficiency would be a welcome addition to the agenda.

    As it is, the PP is focusing exclusively on perceived attacks against Spain’s traditional values and unity (attacked from outisde by immigrants, attacked from within by ETA & Catalans, religious values under threat from new education law etc.)

    Herein lies the problem: there’s no-one within the PP capable of leading the party in the field of economics and industrial and public-service policy (Rodrigo Rato could have carried it off, but he’s now off the scene) and the business sector, grateful for the recent promise of tax-cuts from ZP, is not sticking its oar in. On top of this the PSOE -with Pedro Solbes, Montilla, Miguel Sebastián etc. – is too coherent in this field to be knocked out of its stride. So the PP is sticking to what it knows.

    Rajoy did handpick a few rising stars to form part of ‘his team’ (Soraya Sáenz and Gabriel Elorriaga spring to mind) a couple of years back but they’ve never quite managed to muscle in on the party machinery.

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