Tag Archives: podemos

Postcard from Madrid: Podemos has done up its top button, now it needs to put on a tie

Jeremy Corbyn has, since being elected Leader of the Opposition, experienced a crisis in reconciling his radical politics with the wider want of the general public. He’s been reluctant to dissociate himself from perceived radicals such as the Stop the War Coalition (just as Podemos have with the likes of Syriza and President of Ecuador Raffael Correa), has refused an invitation to the CBI conference (citing prior engagements, despite him being invited the day he was elected party leader), has had to relent to party pressure on a free vote on Syria bombing and so on and so forth.

He has repeatedly been asked to compromise on his radical politics, and he has had great difficult in doing so.
Podemos need to better prepare themselves for opposition, by being able to answer the difficult questions that Corbyn has struggled with. Four years of a PP and Ciudadanos government poses a tremendous opportunity for Podemos to become Spain´s second party, however in order to do so they need to tweak their approach, without losing the impassioned support that they’ve already acquired.

They’ve already embarked on this journey by abandoning two of the more radical proposals from their European elections manifesto, as well as reassessing a debating system which gives the same worth to a proposal from one individual member as one from a “circle” of 30 or 50 people.

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Postcard from Madrid: Spanish forgiveness presents unique opportunity for Podemos

I have noticed during my time in Spain, and research prior, that equivocation and outright policy reversals are not met with the same scorn and derision by the media and general public here that they are in UK politics.

Mariano Rajoy, Pedro Sanchez and Pablo Iglesias have all, at some point in recent years, reneged, retracted, backtracked or outright refuted stances or statements they once held or pronounced, with very little cost to their wider popularity. In the United Kingdom at least, this is a cardinal sin; pure sacrilege. An example of how overt Spanish politicians are when backpedalling can be seen in Rajoy´s response to hiking VAT in 2012 after pledging not to, “I said I would lower taxes and I am raising them. I haven´t changed my way of thinking but circumstances have changed”. Who, in the run up to this year´s election, has mentioned this as a reason for rebuke against Rajoy?

The Liberal Democrats suffered a complete collapse partly because of such a manoeuvre (losing 48 seats in the 2015 UK general election), whilst just recently John McDonnell and then David Cameron were the subjects of much ridicule for making statements which they then failed to act upon (McDonnell’s U-turn on George Osbourne´s fiscal charter proposal, and Cameron failing to come to a decision on Heathrow by the end of this year). There’s been no such reprimand for Iglesias and his abandoning of “basic universal income” and a “citizen’s audit of Spanish public debt” – both policies he included in his European election manifesto, but which are absent from this year’s, “An economic plan for the people”. This is great news for him, as he’s being granted license to remould his and his party’s image.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments
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