It’s been 2655 days since March 14th 2004. That fateful day saw ZP rise to power in this benighted country called Spain. A guy without any intellectual or political merit saw himself in charge of the by then eighth world economy. Somehow, Forrest Gump style, he managed to rise to power in his party and then elected president. His career should be worth a deep analysis by cleverer minds than mine. I still can’t find any logical explanation for this practical joke fate has played on my country. I will try to explain where we were when he rose to power and where we are now, condensing the seven years in between in as few words as possible. I will also try to use as few expletives as possible, but I’m afraid I’m doomed to failure on both intents.
In 2004 Spain was at an all time high economically speaking in terms of not only GDP but also in terms of economy health, after several years of rising employment rates, public deficit reduction and general, if timid, liberalization of markets. Socially the situation was curious, with most people not giving a damn about anything but their new car and a very vocal minority making lots of noise against Aznar’s government due to the Irak issue. All in all, noone was overtly worried about anything really serious, specially with the ETA reduced to an inoperative husk after eight years of constant police pressure. When the socialists came into office, they appointed Pedro Solbes to guide Spain’s economy, which the markets received with glee, as he was a reputed (I cannot imagine why) a serious economist.
During the following two years, Spain’s economy flourished even more, due to a constant rise in public expenditure. It was a golden age for anyone wanting to invest in Spain, with business blooming all around, specially in the real estate sector, even though Zapatero had already promised that he was going to change Spain’s economy to move out of the real estate model we’d all been living on for the previous decade or more, mostly due to a Ley del Suelo which dated from 1956 with only minor reforms in almost fifty years. One other curious economic measure they introduced was the “Baby Check” by virtue of which every woman giving birth to a baby would get 2500 euros, regardless of personal or family rent (this check was withdrawn at the beginning of 2011).
On the foreign front, ZP appointed Miguel Angel Moratinos as head of Spain’s Foreign Office (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores). This guy is still a moron, even though he’s no longer in his post. His career had been a grey one, always in secondary positions mostly having to do with the middle east, and he had always had boasted of a great friendship with Yasir Arafat. During Moratinos’ stint in the ministry Spain moved from having a great relationship with Great Britain and the USA to being best friends with the likes of Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales, and reviving that magnificent concept that virtuous democrat Mahmud Ahmadineyad launched named the “Civilizations Alliance”, also gleefully supported by Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan and other great leaders of comparable democracies.
Regarding the Home Office, José Antonio Alonso was appointed as head of the Ministry. This guy’s main merit is that he was best mates with ZP when they were in school. He is now official PSOE spokesman in Parliament, after being replaced by Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba as head of Home Office, and is now convalescing from an ictus. I sincerely doubt we will notice any impairment on his faculties.
Rubalcaba will merit several paragraphs of his own in subsequent entries, but for now I’ll stick to a brief introduction: He is now head of Home Office, First Vice-president and Official Spokesman for Spain’s Government. This guy is probably the government member with the longest political career, and surely one of the most intelligent politicians that Spain has seen in the last thirty years. I, and many other people, still wonder how this guy isn’t either imprisoned for life or summarily kicked out of the country. He is now PSOE’s candidate for the next general election, to be held at an undisclosed date, no later than March 2012. Papers recovered from ETA operatives arrested in France have proved that he was appointed as Minister by ZP because the basque terrorists wanted him there to negotiate with Spain’s Government. He has openly admitted to these negotiations before ETA bombed the parking at Barajas Airport Terminal 4, and it’s been proved that these negotiations kept happening after said bombing. He has also maneuvered to have Bildu (ETA’s latest political front) present in the last municipal elections, in which they’ve scored a magnificent result, against judicial decisions on the contrary.
After seven years of ZP Spain is now the fourteenth economic power, unemployment is at an all time high even after shamelessly changing the way the official figures are calculated (real figure is estimated at close to 25%), national debt keeps rising, rating agencies keep lowering Spanish debt’s quality and Spain is going to be the last country in the Euro zone to emerge from the global recession. The economic side of things is bad, but the social and moral sides are even worse, with terrorists having access to public funds and information.
In the latest regional elections PSOE achieved a resounding defeat, their worst result since 1982, but they still won’t let themselves be affected by that and refuse to call the country to a general election. Tomorrow it’ll be 2656 days of this and still no end in sight.