Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Vogue For Bloodletting

Given all the shenanigans involving what one tires of being told are "anti-austerity newcomers" Podemos, it has been easy to overlook that pro-austerity oldsters, the Partido Popular, are lurking in the murky political undergrowth ready to pounce on the next unsuspecting electorate - in the Balearics, that is.

Away from the islands, and in the safety of The Land That Time Forgot, the PP's national hierarchy lumbers on, a giant staggering through a forest of political half-light, never turning the torches on the corpses that are strewn across its path or are buried in a court's archives. Seemingly immune to the convulsions and eruptions everywhere else, there is a serenity for the PP, capable as they are of closeting themselves within the contentment of another electoral job done (if only just) and of pulling down the shutters to avoid the inward glares into their Jurassic lair.

The PP were forgotten at the weekend. This was not how Pablo Iglesias had intended it. The Podemos knockout to decide a winner was duly timed to coincide with the PP who were gathering only a short distance away. But because everyone was interested only in the left and even more left hooks being delivered by Errejón and Iglesias, no one took any notice of the PP. Podemos were a show, a spectacular, a political prime-time reality broadcast played out in the real-time of up-to-the second voting intentions. Time had indeed forgotten the PP. Their dullness in this post-modern political world of citizen online councils, speakers with piercings and a long mane of hair tied up in a sort of bun, and election brochures stolen from Ikea is the very thing which sustains them. They seem otherworldly, of another and former time.

Iglesias had hoped that having the two congresses at the same time would enable the citizens to draw comparisons. If the citizens did do this, then the comparison would have been between a tetchy bunch of upstart Herberts and the grim familiarity of Mariano Rajoy. In a world of convulsions there is something to be said for a leader who sports a tie, is attended to by a barber with a certain degree of frequency and can at least attempt to converse with Trump.

The cosiness of the PP's gathering was such that controversy was a distant cousin, one for the sentencing of "caso Gürtel" and for the machinations across the sea in the Balearics. And it is here in the Balearics that the national hierarchy would much prefer that a son, who at one time - now long ago - had been looked upon with benevolent, austere goodwill, would quietly disappear. But the hierarchy is not alone in having been confounded, nay startled by the sheer persistence of he who refuses to lie down - José Ramón Bauzá.

We did all rather chortle when Bauzá made it known that he was intending to attempt to once more become president of the party. There is still some chortling, but as the time moves nearer for a regional congress at least a year overdue, there is Bauzá, steadfast in his belief that he can return as the re-conquering hero of the Balearic PP. Never mind that he did his best, and mainly succeeded, in delivering a sharp instrument into the heart of Balearic society and much of his own party; he seems convinced that all that will be forgiven.

The show that the Balearic PP are planning will be bloodletting on a scale that is biblical in its abundance compared with the streams that washed across the feet of Errejón and Iglesias in Madrid last weekend. The long-time favourite to become the party's new president, Biel Company, should win in the kind of canter suited to a man with his agricultural leanings. But Bauzá has pulled two agrarians out of the hat who are his latest cheerleaders. One says that Bauzá was the best president that the Balearics has had. Both are one-time friends of Company but they no longer share company.

Company was once a friend of Bauzá's, too. It was Bauzá who made him environment and agriculture minister, but it was Company who helped to deliver the knife. Hauling in agrarians is Bauzá's way of showing he's every bit a man of conservative, farming sod as Company is. 

Bauzá was aghast to see that Company had surrounded himself with members of the hierarchy at the PP congress in Madrid. Here was affirmation of what Madrid hopes for and which the temporary leader of the PP in the Balearics, Miquel Vidal, also hopes for - a single candidate who can pull the factions together. There is little chance, not while Bauzá continues along a path that may result in a humiliation greater than the defeat of the PP he presided over two years ago.

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