Monday, May 16, 2016

Damned United: Podemos and the United Left

Alberto Garzón wasn't happy. There was a photo of him and a friend clasping bottles of beer. Whichever owner of the brand this was - it could not be determined from the photo - would also have been unhappy. Here was a perfect product placement opportunity. "Beer X. The choice of the hard left. When you've had a hard night's negotiating over the Marxist dialectic and its application to the Spanish proletariat, what better way to celebrate than with Beer X: a brew you can trust."

Alberto, if you have no idea, is the leader of the United Left, a euphemism for communist. His beer-drinking pal was Sr. Churches, Pablo of the Podemos parish. They are united in more than just leftness and beer. Together, united, they'll never be defeated. Not that they've won anything yet. But Unidos Podemos, We Can United, is marching on the Moncloa. The revolution is timed for 26 June.

Why Alberto was unhappy was hard to ascertain, other than the fact that the photo appeared in "El Mundo", the publishing arm of the Partido Popular (some might suggest but not myself), which has been going around making people redundant of late. In Alberto-land, such things will not happen when he and Pablo storm the Moncloa Palace. Newspapers will not happen either. Or not in their current form. Pablo has after all suggested that they should be under state control.

Not everyone in the United Left is happy. There is talk of "humiliation" in having joined forces with Podemos. As with all alliances created by the Podemistas, there is only one winner, and that is Podemos. Will it all end in tears? Quite probably. But for now, it affords Pablo an increased opportunity of usurping PSOE as number two in the land and so confronting the devil of the PP. Iglesias is a sort of Brian Clough of the political new age, informing his new charges at Leeds that they had only got to where they were by cheating. And by corruption: the PP, the Leeds United of Spain's political system. But it all went wrong for Cloughie very rapidly. Damned United. He'll hope that he has found his true Peter Taylor in Alberto and that together they do a political Forest.

Yet even this seems a remote possibility. Pablo admitted during the week that in order to govern he needs PSOE. There has to be an agreement with Sánchez. Just as there had to have been one over the weeks and months of negotiating after the December election. And did they ever get near to an agreement? Did they heck. What's more, Pedro alluded to the "extremist left" last week, that of Podemos and the United Left. There is no reason to believe that 26 June will, where PSOE and the further left are concerned, prove to be any less of a waste of time than the last election.

Pedro, meanwhile, was extolling the virtues of his buddy in the C's, Al Rivera. Ant and Dec may well survive the election, reunite and restate their vows of pact for government. Dec, said Ant last week, is a reconstructed right-winger "with whom there can be dialogue to arrive at positive agreements for Spain". Which is all very well, but it won't change the fact that Pablo (and now Alberto) won't go anywhere near a government with Dec in it. And he, Dec, might think it time to remove himself from the shadow of his taller partner and discover a new best friend: Mariano. Honestly, it just gets worse. United? None of them.

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