Sunday, January 24, 2016

Turning Portuguese

Some of my correspondents are shrewd analysts. I said Podemos wouldn't shift their stance on Catalonia. Oh yes they will, came the response: The Hairy One's a canny bugger. I'm happy to be told that I was told so, given that I seem to spend a great deal of time doing just this myself. Never let political opportunism get in the way of power-grabbing. The Hairy One has shifted the red line of Catalonia slightly to the right. It is now a pink line which might in due course fade under a burning Catalonian sky. So much depends.

Meanwhile, Mariano was meeting the King. What a time Felipe is having with all of this, having to forego the Fitur travel fair and a chance to sample some Mallorcan ensaimada at the Balearic stand, needing instead to attempt to knock some sense into the blockheads. I want first dibs at becoming premier, said Mariano. Or something along those lines. The King must have been sorely tempted. And how exactly do you think you will manage this? Where exactly do you think the support will come from?

Mazza's mouthpiece, Rafael Hernando, ahead of Rajoy going off to ask for royal first refusal, said that the citizens had had enough of confrontation, implying that the citizens would immediately realise how foolish they had been in voting for anyone other than Mazza and ignoring the fact that the PP had been instrumental in bringing about confrontation. The King, meanwhile, would have been fully apprised of the fact that the boy Pedro of PSOE was in the process of cobbling together the Portuguese option, one which, on the face of it, sounds quite attractive, what with that nice Portuguese clam soup thing you get, various outstanding golf courses and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pedro's Portuguese alternative doesn't appear to embrace such delights, however. If Heath Robinson had designed governments, then he would have come up with Portugal's - and now possibly Spain's - bits of only vaguely related political parts hammered together with some enormous valve contraption to be attached to the roof of the Cortes in order to allow all the hot air and steam to be evacuated from the building.

With The Hairy One kindly offering to become Vice-President (sorry, but it does need pointing out that the Spanish don't refer to prime ministers and deputy prime ministers, only the aloof British on account of a superior knowledge of how monarchical democracies work), Pedro now faces the opportunity of presiding over His Majesty's Heath Robinson Government of Spain. This, it is beginning to appear, may well involve a rag-tag of waif and stray parties, ranging from the only somewhat weird to the very weird. The United Left are to the right of this weirdness, but who on earth are Compromís or En Marea? Frankly, even I've given up trying to figure them all out. And then we have En Comú Podem, which is sort of Podemos but isn't. This Catalonian conglomeration of ever more rag-tag-ability reckons it might be able to sway the boy Pedro back towards the Catalonian referendum red line and so away from The Hairy One's recently discovered referendum pinkness. 

Confused? Not as much as the King must be.

The odd thing is of course that they've all arrived at the Cortes to take their seats. In the absence of an actual government, what do they do with themselves? Take selfies and play Candy Crush? Well, if they are the Podemos member, Carolina Bescansa, they take their baby to Congress. The joyous family scene on the Podemos benches featured a beaming Pablo Iglesias, reaching out and then rocking the baby as Carolina passed her young offspring in front of the infant Íñigo Errejón, who is achieving the seemingly impossible of getting younger by the moment. Íñigo, it has to be said, looked as if he was about to throw an infant strop on account of being squeezed between The Hairy One in full cooing mode and the proud mother. In other words, he had a right arse on and didn't appear to relish the moment when he too was to be subject to the baby dribbling on him. Some wag Photoshopped his face onto the baby's. He's unlikely to ever live it down but must be hoping to God that the first act that Podemos pass in the Cortes is to establish a creche. For the record, Íñigo is 32.

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