From independence, freedom and truth


Going downhill

Fernando del Pino Calvo Sotelo

June 4, 2015

“Oh, men! Oh people! Oh republics! Oh, kingdoms! How come your well-being and happiness depend on the ambition and whims of a few!” In spite of four centuries having passed since the diplomat and writer Diego de Saavedra Fajardo (1584-1648) wrote these words, how forcefully his lamentation resonates with today’s Spain.

At a time when our country badly needs a very profound regeneration, it is frustrating and deeply disheartening to watch the pettiness and short-sightedness of Spanish politics, the extremely low intellectual level of public debate, the sole obsession being getting into and remaining in power in complete emotional detachment of the country’s situation. Who cares!

Enough is enough. We must wake up and react, because we are facing some very important threats. The first of them, and by far the most serious, is the access to institutions of the new Leninist party, such a sinister imposter hidden under a rudimentary, smiling populist disguise. It is so obvious that its leaders´ ideas pose a serious threat to our system of civil liberties that anyone who denies it is either deaf, blind or a fool (or maybe a politician willing to sell his soul to the devil to satisfy his lust for power). The Leninists, currently stuck at around 15% of the votes, will possibly occupy third position in the general elections. However, the threat is very serious: never in our democracy has there been a political party with such political weight with ideas rooted in the worst totalitarianisms from the past century, which we thought were happily overcome, and with leaders who, until very recently, proclaimed their admiration for bloodthirsty dictators like Lenin or Mao or for the guillotine (“that instrument of democratic justice”), while rendering fawning homage to South American chieftains (such as Venezuela’s Chavez), specialists in perpetuating themselves in power in the most corrupt and poorest regimes in their region. Don’t forget that, in history, Leninism has always been a treacherous ambush: when they get into power and propaganda is no longer necessary the smile is immediately replaced by violence.

The second threat that we are faced with, and which feeds the previous one, is the maintenance of the status quo by the two major political parties, spoiled for too long by a system focused on the happiness of the ruling oligarchy, wallowing in all sort of corruptions and accustomed to gathering all power in all institutions, including Justice, and then partitioning that power among themselves. They don’t want to change anything, because any change would mean shrinking their business. A clear example of this is the inaction bordering on lethargic apathy in the current ever-absent president. His strange comments on the election’s results show a total loss of reality or a surprising lack of respect for the citizenship, and give the impression that, unconcerned with the country’s interests and even those of his party, he is only interested in avoiding the fate of becoming the first president to not repeat the term of office.

The third threat is not new: it is the independence of the insurgent regions or at least the festering of this deep-seated, four decade exhausting issue, which has fruitlessly distracted so much time, money and energy from this nation.

Finally, as a consequence of the political turn of events, there is an economic threat which may perpetuate the crisis, preventing a reduction in our outrageous and intolerable unemployment rate and exacerbating episodes of financial panic that we could experience again. We cannot afford to repeat inept outdated economic policies, which have always failed and that will impoverish us, and get us deeper into debt – and maybe into bankruptcy. In an environment of extraordinary fragility, with a high level of debt and low growth in the West, what Spain needs in the first place to get over this Great Depression is institutional stability and legal certainty, more freedom and less State, lower taxes for everyone, more adaptability and less rigid rules, more market unity and less burden of absurd and tyrannical regulations, more free competition and less difficulty for the creation and development of business.

The reality is that the party currently sipping the juices of power in such a laid-back attitude has lost an excellent opportunity to change this country for the better and prepare it for a much more demanding future, strengthening its institutions and eradicating corruption, always caused by excessive and arbitrary political power. Unable to understand the depth of a crisis which is not only economic, but political and institutional as well, they have not learned how to stay out of the mediocrity that, with very few exceptions, characterizes our political class. Therefore there is an urgent need for the ruling party to radically change players, obviously starting with their leader and lieutenants. We need new faces, clean and truthful leaders, serene yet determined to take action when necessary. The socialist party, so far in the opposition, needs a strong sensible leadership, which it is currently lacking, but while searching for it they should hinder the Leninists’ access to the institutions. A proposal must be made for a profound institutional reform, in order to eliminate the root causes of corruption and strengthen transparency and the rule of law, based on an effective separation of powers, with an independent, efficient judiciary that assures law is equal for all.

Bipartisanship has abused its dominant position and absolute majorities have proved to be counter-productive for the national interest, the excess of power and lack of alternation being almost always bad. In a democracy, action (and guilty inaction) must have consequences and should not go unpunished. In other countries, those responsible have to resign; here they cling to their office. Thus, it is only logical that voters react; what is illogical is the collective suicide of voting for a political party which, I must insist, is clearly a threat to our system of freedom and social harmony.

Despite all this, our current president, a slave of his self-indulgence, immobility and self-centeredness, is relying on the unacceptable blackmail of the vote of fear, which I do not think will work (nor should it), and desperately clinging on to his power. His deputies hover in circles without realising that they are as ineligible as their leader to take over after him. The insecure leader of the other majority party, with a lack of depth and ideas nothing short of remarkable, is mad about getting some power at any price, damn the country. We cannot go on like this any longer.

It is time for statesmen, not opportunists. Spain is at the crossroads.


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