Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Forgotten Kingmaker

You could have written the script. Indeed, many had. The opinion polls had been right except in one respect. The citizens decided that the Citizens' Party, Ciudadanos, was less a panacea for political new-ageism than Podemos. The citizens had thus concluded that collectively they could, as in backing the Podemistic optimism of We Can, as opposed to the Ciudadanos' message of We Might Possibly Be Able To Were It Not For The Fact That We Give The Impression Of Being The PP In Disguise.

No sooner had the first results started coming in, and analysts were rushing to examine various permutations which should have been obvious before the citizens even stepped into the polling stations. The media love of seeking a kingmaker had conveniently ignored the fact that the Warwick of the Spanish war of the election roses was was not going to be the Prickly Rose of Pablo Iglesias and Podemos or the Trailing Rose of Albert Rivera and the C's but rather the Redleaf Rose of Pedro Sánchez and PSOE.

The boy Pedro was being advised left, right and centre by the left, by the right and by the centre. Which way should he go? Which way will he go? Whichever direction he takes, it would appear not to include Mariano Rajoy as a fellow traveller. Making it clear that Mazza would not receive investiture support, the interpretation was that Pedro wouldn't be touching the PP with a pact barge pole, while a different one might be that he would be prepared to, if Mariano is packed off to Galicia, never to darken governmental doors again.

Having seen Pedro assault Mazza with such verbal gusto during their head-to-head TV debate, it was now alarming to find them posing for the media with statesman-like expressions and a handshake. All's fair in love, war and election campaigning, but for Pedro to even give the possibility of taking the hand of the fair Mariano in a tryst of grand coalition some element of houseroom in the stately rooms of the Moncloa Palace appeared to be stretching political opportunism too far. But Pedro would have known, even before agreeing to an appointment with the damsel prime minister in distress, that shacking up with him would incur the interminable wrath of both the Prickly Rose and the Trailing Rose. "Casta," they would shout. The citizens' voices raised against the two-party dominance would have been ignored. The PP and PSOE would walk together hand-in-hand, thumbing noses at the new age of political pluralism.

Pedro thus finds himself between a rock and an even bigger rock, both of which are poised perilously and about to fall on him from a great height. At the back, or more likely at the front of his mind, he'll be thinking about the next election (and not a re-run of last Sunday). For PSOE, having taken a further electoral tumble, it is imperative to regain the lost ground since 2011. Go with the PP, and it risks citizen revulsion, even if it might be the most pragmatic way, and decimation in four years time. Go with Podemos, and it risks being ground into submission. He should ask sweet and friendly Francina what it's like to do business with Podemos. "Don't even go there," she should say, but publicly wouldn't, because as we know - as she and other PSOE-ists in the Balearics say so - the regional government is working well because of the new age of dialogue and consensus, supported by the agreements for governability.

Who'd be Pedro Sánchez?

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