Well done, Mariano. Bravo, Pedro. Congratulations, Albert. Hats off, Pablo. The boys done great. Here's to Election Number Three. The Guinness Book of World Records awaits. The most consecutive elections to not return a government. Democracy doesn't get any better.
At least you can say that Mariano got closer than Pedro did. The 180 that beat his 170 was vastly more impressive than the stuffing that Sánchez had incurred after Election Number One. And we were, as previously, rewarded with the rich entertainment that are the investiture debate(s) and voting. Given that the results are known before both votes in the space of two days, the only point to these exercises is that they give lesser-known politicos the chance to shine (?) in the public's full and nonplussed glare.
Thus we were regaled once more by the likes of Gabriel Rufián, of whom one would never say that he can bore for Spain because The Ruffian is as Catalonia independentist as it gets. He instead bores, at great length, for Catalonia. Drone, we almost fell asleep. Amidst his (two) tedious monotone monologues delivered to a less than enthralled Congress and public gallery (they did all fall asleep), The Ruffian mooted that Sánchez might wish to be "brave" and support an independence referendum, thus implying that next time round his band of republican commies would give Pedro the impetus to cross the investiture finishing-line (assuming, that is, the King ever invites him again; "experts" are in something of a tiz as to how repeat attempts at investiture work).
Pigs, as they didn't say in Congress, might fly. Poor, poor Pedro. Stuck between a rock and a rockier place, never sure which is the rockier. Is it Mariano or is it Iglesias (with The Ruffian hanging onto Podemos's coat tails)? Pablo upbraided Sánchez for his indecisiveness, thereby insisting that the rock of Podemos is softer than that of the PP. The softest spot of all would be Albert and his citizens Ciudadanos. But what does the future now hold for Rivera? Who can he now turn to and offer a "pact". PSOE - failed. PP - failed. Podemos? Not bloody likely, and the feeling would be entirely mutual.
We can all look forward to more sessions like this week's. They will be some time in March next year, just as they were in March this year. "Experts" are looking at ways of avoiding having to go to the polls on Christmas Day, and the same "experts" are acutely aware that there are the small matters of the regional elections in Galicia and the Basque Country looming on the autumnal horizon that will complicate matters (both on 25 September).
To return, though, to Congress and the sterile debates and even less fertile votes, these gargantuan displays of democratic self-indulgence afford those who would otherwise never utter a word to do just that. One word and one word only, albeit that it is the same one word in the space of two days. Sí or no. No or sí. All 350 of them are called one by one, up they pop like jacks in their boxes, announce their sí or no and sit down again. The experienced ones, like for example the PP's Dolly Cospedal, achieve this feat with the minimum of fuss and not a single betrayal of embarrassed or self-congratulatory body language. Up, sí, down. Seamless.
The anonymous inhabitants of Congress, recognising their one second of fame, do this with, variously, a flourish, a strident boom of sí or no (mainly those in the no camp), an awkward smile when they resume their seats, an expelling of air that betrays their stage fright, or a turn to a mate and a slap on the back and the sharing of a "well done, Juan, you got the right word out".
Congress is arranged like an enormous fairground attraction, the heads of its members barely visible above the terraced banks of seating. Like coconuts on shies, perhaps there is an alternative means of deciding investiture votes. Taking pot shots and seeing how many heads can be hit. Alas, this will not be so, meaning that they will reconvene to go through the same meaningless procedure in six or so months time, the main question being who they might not vote for then. In pursuit of real democracy, there should be a rotation of party leaders seeking investiture. Let Albert have a go next time, then Pablo, even The Ruffian. It won't make any difference who it is.