Friday, 13 July 2012

Elected Lackeys Right and Left

Day before yesterday, Mariano Rajoy, prime minister of Spain, appeared in parliament to announce he would do everything he had solemnly sworn would never take place on his watch. Claiming that there was no other choice and no other way, he listed the greatest government spending reduction that Spain has ever seen, budget cuts and tax increases to the tune of 65 billion €uros over 18 months.

The list reads like the ludicrous exaggeration in a comic novel. VAT will be increased from 18 to 21 % in the top rate, and from 8 to 10 % in the ‘low’ rate. Unemployment benefits – never exactly lavish in Spain – will be drastically reduced after 6 months. The salaries of civil servants, who work little for scant money, will be cut, starting with their Christmas bonuses (i.e. a fourteenth part of their income or 7 %). Interest on mortgages will no longer be tax deductible (which really ought to help the prostrate real estate market get back on its feet…) Sin tax on tobacco and alcohol – surprise, surprise - will go up some 10 to 20 %, ‘in the interest of health’ (of course, that’s what it is all about…) And, more poignant still: the very lean compensation given to housewives who – after the children have left home – get to take care, day in day out 24/7 and 365 days a year, of invalid elderly relatives (one of the VERY few laudable measures of lame-brained Mr Zapatero) will be severely limited and reduced. They had become, Mr Rajoy said, ‘too general’; which is small surprise, since Spain has no old-age homes, except for the filthy rich…

An untranslatable cartoon starring the minister of economics

What strikes ye, reader, in all these measures of ‘reform’? Yes, indeed: they all fall on the poor and the middle classes. Those who had nothing to do with causing the crisis, but are now supposed to pay for the damage, so that the rich and the unscrupulous, the developers and the bankers who did cause the mess, may receive their 100 billion European slush fund and the fiscal amnesty over their tax-evading fortunes. For this is the linguistic irony of this whole disreputable Euro-adventure: the word Reform – like the word Drugs - has now acquired two distinct, even contradictory, meanings, depending entirely on the context and who is getting Reformed. Reform of the fiscal- and banking system means that billions of Euros are tossed into the plutocrats’ bottomless pockets; while Reform of the working classes means they get robbed. The Robin Hoodlums who pretend to be our leaders steal from the poor to give to the rich. It is sufficiently nauseating to become a communist again, in spite of our better judgement and the lessons of the past.

Robin Hood Reversed

Let me be clear about something: as Spanish politicians go, I kind of like Mr Rajoy. He has a wry, undercooled sense of humour, he seems to be an earnest man, and I never caught him committing cheap innuendo about the Other Party to save his own face, as most other Spanish politicians, of both camps, are wont to do and fond of doing. But, this I must also say: more and more Mr Rajoy reveals himself as the elected lackey of the Brussels Beurocracy, something like a cowardly, comic manservant in a Moli√®re farce, who scores a few cheap victories by cheating and hustling, but when push comes to shove humbly does the bidding of his masters to the letter since he simply has no balls… Even his language, once so proud, bore witness to his loss of pride. ‘We Spanish no longer have the choice whether or not to make sacrifices,’ Don Mariano whined on the rostrum. ‘We no longer have such liberty.’ A long way has he come from the triumphant figure who last week boasted of having made Mrs Merkel blink…

And Don Mariano is not alone in this. He is not the only one to drag his pride and principles through the dust. Here is another mystery which I fail to solve no matter how hard I try: why in the world is it that Socialists all over the continent are so very much in favour of the continuing European Project? No matter where you look – Britain, Holland, Spain, Germany… - it is they who are the most enthusiastic supporters of fast-track further integration and heaving over ever more say and sovereignty to the unelected Beurocrats in Brussels. It is as if they think that Brussels is a left wing project… Which it obviously is not at all.

Is it so hard, I ask, to see whom Brussels serves? Whom Brussels hurts? Is it such a well-kept secret that Banks and Big Business are all in favour of the Divine Euro and its Eurogue High Priests? Frankly, I cannot blame our plutocrats for that stand. A single currency saves them tons of money in their commercial dealings; open borders and free trade stimulate their sales; the shiploads of European regulation, which big companies with their staff of lawyers easily know how to deal with, elbows the competition by small family firms out of the arena… All of them things that large companies profit by. Small wonder they love the federal project so ardently…

But to the poor and the humble? To the poor and the humble, the European Union has now simply revealed itself as a machine that produces poverty, unemployment and Dickensian conditions. Strange bedfellows are the European socialists and the Brussels’ beurocrats therefore! And small wonder that those pseudo-socialists are losing ever more votes to genuine pro-worker parties who tend to be ‘euro-critical’! These elected lackeys on the left deserve everything they lose!

Mayhem Now: Yesterday's miners protest in Madrid

Ah, there is much mayhem to come this summer before the whole house of cards tumbles in next October, dear reader! People are beginning to stir in most unpleasant ways. Even those you least expect it from. Here you have one which I overheard yesterday in a bar on the Portuguese side of the valley, from a normally calm middle-aged farmer only slightly tipsy:

‘Nuke Brussels; guillotine Barroso and his lot; lock up all our politicians in the madhouse, and let’s just start all over again…’

I am sorry. Much as I try, and much as I know I should, I cannot say I disagree with him.

[PS If after the above you wish to read some more informed background which is enough to make you shudder for things to come, read this article from old Ambrose.]

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