Tag Archives: spain

Opinion: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez drops a few truth bombs on political parties

I’m currently studying abroad in Salamanca, where, as in the rest of the country, there are municipal elections on 24th May. (Yes, polling day is on a Sunday.) My bedroom floor is covered in a variety of different party propaganda (yes, that is the word they use in Spain for it) that I’ve gathered for academic reasons, obviously.

So, I was really excited to read Miriam’s article in El País recently. It most certainly did not disappoint – if you want a lesson in how to drop truth bombs on political parties, look no further.

Just to give a little bit of context – the Partido Popular is currently governing. It’s got “Working, Making, Growing” posters up around half the city, shouting from the rooftops about its economic success. Miriam notes that although progress has been made, it’s rather odd to be making that a central campaign plank while overall unemployment rests around 20% and youth unemployment around 50%.

She also attacks them for their failure to confront the ‘crisis of values’ facing the Spanish political system, talking of a ‘radical disconnect between the political class and citizens.’ She refers to Chris Huhne briefly, stating that the levels of corruption in the Spanish system could never occur in a country where a politician can go to jail for exchanging points on their driving licence.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

Gibraltar: Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson calls on EU Commission President to intervene

GibraltarSelf-determination — the right of nations to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or interference — is a pretty fundamental principle of international law.

It’s the basis on which British sovereignty in the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar is founded. 11 years ago, the people of Gibraltar were asked in a referendum if sovereignty of the territory should be shared between the UK and Spain: 98% said no.

So it’s little surprise that the past weeks’ sabre-rattling by a Spanish government desperate to distract …

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LDVideo: Watch Spanish premier Rajoy’s “fin de la cita” cock-up

Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy has been having a tough summer. The country’s economy continues to contract, unemployment has soared, and — most personally damaging of all — he and his (very) right-wing Partido Popular have been embroiled in a slush fund corruption scandal.

A recent speech to the Spanish parliament was intended to draw a line under the affair. But Rajoy seemed not to have read his text in advance: after each quote, he also read out loud the words in parentheses, ‘(fin de la cita)’ — ‘(end of quote)’. He did this nine times, with varying intonations of intensity, triggering confusion among his peers in parliament and prompting guffaws among the public at home.


(Watch here on YouTube.)

It brings to mind the classic “As I look out over this magnificent vista” clip from The West Wing. It’s Sunday, so why not enjoy those four minutes once again…

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A letter from……Catalonia

As the UK plans a referendum on Scottish independence, those of us watching from Spain can only look on in envy at the orderly and civilised process led by the Secretary of State for Scotland. Here in Catalonia, Northern Spain, similar demand exists for an independent state, but the two sides have chosen indignation and confrontation instead of a serious debate.

The last two years have been tough for all EU governing parties and Spain has unique problems, with its sky-high unemployment levels, corruption and a rickety banking system. But this month Catalans will go to the polls in a general

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LDV poll: 83% of Lib Dems say break-up of Eurozone will be bad for Britain’s economy

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 560 party members responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

This weekend saw eurozone ministers agreed to lend Spain’s banks up to 100bn euros (£80bn) in the latest attempt to stave off economic collapse. We asked our sample of Lib Dem members for their views…

LDV asked: Thinking about the current problems facing the European single currency, the Euro, do you think it would be good or bad for Britain’s economy if the

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A postcard from… Valladolid

It seems that this idea is catching on, as Liberal Democrat Voice has received its first unsolicited postcard. So, without further ado…

It is generally assumed that the Mediterranean countries do not have a strong liberal, democratic strand to their politics. Indeed, the two members of the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) Group in the European Parliament are the nationalist parties of two Regions, Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (Catalonia) and Partido Nacionalista Vasco (the Basque Country).

However, there are liberal democrats in Spanish politics, awaiting discovery by …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Spain turns to the right – but are the voters rejecting ‘the left’ or incumbents?

As the polls had predicted, Spain has a new government: Rajoy’s right-wing Partido Popular (PP) defeated Zapatero’s left-of-centre Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE). The only surprise was the large margin of victory, 16%, the worst defeat for Spain’s socialists in their electoral history.

So yet another right-wing government takes power in a European nation. On the face of it, it seems almost perverse that at a time when confidence in the deregulated capitalist system associated with the right is at its lowest ebb that those parties which champion it are winning elections. As I noted here on LibDemVoice back in …

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What caused the riots? It’s more than just the economy, stupid.

Aditya Chakrabortty has a pretty compelling article in today’s Guardian scrutinising the political responses to the past few days’ rioting under the concise headline, UK riots: political classes see what they want to see. He summarises the binary analysis that has dominated:

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How Clegg switched sides at half-time

No, not more revelations from the memoirs of New Labour’s svengali, Lord (Peter) Mandelson – rather a diary piece by Hugh Muir in the Guardian.

LDV readers may recall Nick Clegg’s conflicted loyalties in deciding whether to support Holland or Spain in Sunday’s World Cup final. It appears he found out a way to resolve them:

… at a cross-party reception for the Lib Dem thinktank Centre Forum, the deputy prime minister admitted that while he began watching the World Cup final supporting Holland, as the Diary said he would, he switched sides halfway through and began rooting for

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Miriam Gonzalez blows whistle on sexist media: “treat women for who they are and not simply for what their male partners do”

Hat-tip to Lib Dem Welsh assembly member Peter Black for blogging the letter by Miriam Gonzalez (or Mrs Nick Clegg as she’s known to right-wing tabloids) published in today’s paywall-protected Times, in which she directs a well-aimed shot at the paper for its shabby treatment of a woman who happened to have fallen in love with a man in the public eye:

Sir, now that Spain has won the World Cup and Iker Casillas demonstrated on Sunday that he is an outstanding goalkeeper regardless of whether his girlfriend, Sara Carbonero, watches him from the touchline or not, it may be time for you to eat a bit of humble pie. Trying to blame Sara for Spain’s initial lacklustre performance while she was simply doing her job was not worthy of a newspaper that should treat women for who they are and not simply for what their male partners do.

Miriam Gonzalez
London SW15

You can read the background to the story, and The Times’s reaction to Miriam’s letter, in the Telegraph.

And for those who missed it, here is the rather touching video of Sr. Casillas meeting his girlfriend, Srta. Carbonero, for the first time after Spain’s World Cup triumph:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Nick Clegg’s budget trip to Spain

Nick Clegg in Madrid
Giles Paxman, British ambassador to Spain, has blogged about Nick Clegg’s visit to Spain last week.

While emphasising Britain’s interest in the Eurozone’s economic success, the Deputy Prime Minister showed he’s economising too:

The top priority, obviously, is tackling the problems with our public finances. Nick Clegg made the point strongly, in his long meeting with Prime Minister Zapatero and his speech to a packed audience of top Spanish movers and shakers, that this was a duty that we owe to future generations and that

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , , and | 9 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAndrew 7th Jul - 1:19am
    As a slightly different pesrpective on the way forward I recommend the new pamphlet by David Howarth and Mark Pack. This says that campaigning on...
  • User AvatarAndrew 7th Jul - 1:10am
    I agree with Eddie actually that STV is quite hard to explain, and the ERS website by talking about "the quota" and a "single vote...
  • User Avatarkevin 7th Jul - 12:35am
    Best option would be to make the BBC a subscription channel and finally end the broadcasting poll tax. Free over 75's TV license issue solved...
  • User Avatarkevin 7th Jul - 12:28am
    'Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael applied for the session claiming the government had abused parliamentary process' Pot & kettle, clearly Carmichael doesn't do self awareness.
  • User AvatarKevin Manley 6th Jul - 11:59pm
    Good article -gets the scale of the problem. Kind of agree with theakes though -we just need to move on. The problem with talking about...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 6th Jul - 11:42pm
    Hi John, I don't think it makes clear whether it is a second preference or multi voting system. I had to find other websites in...
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