‘THE world is not seeing it enough and that is why I wanted to come, because it’s not getting the coverage it deserves’ – Tucker Carlson’s comment on events in Spain during the recent protest when he was pictured with Vox leader Santiago Abascal.
Tens of thousands of people of all ages have taken to the streets around the country over the last week to protest about the acting government’s plans to offer an amnesty to those who took part in the illegal and failed attempt at Catalan independence six years ago and thus secure, with the Catalan party’s support, another term in office.
Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the hard left Spanish Socialist Workers’ (PSOE) party and caretaker prime minister, is clinging on despite losing June’s inconclusive general election, which did not give a majority to any party. He tried and failed to cobble together a coalition with minor left wing parties and promised a December election, but that has now stalled.
The mainstream conservative Popular Party (PP), led by Alberto Nunez Feijoo, had succeeded in forming an alliance with Vox, the patriotic (not ‘far right’, as the MSM labels it) national conservative party led by Santiago Abascal but again this does give the majority required. A promised (re) election in December appears to have been stalled.
But now Sanchez is ‘buying’ his way back into office. In exchange for the amnesty, he plans to bring into coalition the separatist deputies of Catalonia (ERC) and Basque (PNV). Hence the eruption of outrage. Neither PP or Vox would countenance an alliance with them.
Worse, his ‘dirty’ deal rests on his removing the crime of sedition from the statute books as well as declaring amnesty for Catalan separatists accused of sedition and embezzlement. He has already pardoned their leader Carles Puigdemont who fled Spanish justice and was sentenced in his absence to 12 years in jail.
Spaniards are incensed by this brazen attempt to hang on to power.
Although ETA, the Basque separatist group who terrorised the country with bombs for years, dissolved all its structures in 2018, the new Basque party, the PNV, brings back distressing memories for many people.
If that was not enough Sanchez has also promised the Catalan separatists a ‘consultation’ on a new referendum – the 2017 poll on independence, controlled by thugs who prevented many from voting against it, was not sanctioned by the Spanish Government in Madrid. Demonstrators are sceptical about the ‘consultation’. They fear disguises a referendum promise of a referendum which would likely result in a close vote. A large number of businesses and more than 20,000 jobs that have shut down or moved out of the area since 2017, as reported here and here.
At the heart of the matter is proportional representation (PR) itself. This is what it does. It holds back the right. Coalitions inevitably form to give a party enough votes to govern, but in the end the small parties act as the tail wagging the dog. When an election throws them out, the smaller parties become king-makers and demand unpopular policies to suit their causes, or coalesce once more simply to keep a hated party out, as we have just seen in Poland. It always leads to fractious government. This is the situation that Richard Tice and his ‘ardent for PR’ Reform party would find themselves in.
Apart from the UK, France is the only other European democracy not to use some form of proportional representation for its state-wide elections. There we have witnessed the rise of Le Pen. Likewise in Germany, which uses a mix of first-past-the-post constituencies and party lists, the AFD (Alternative for Deutschland) party, similarly vilified by the press as ‘far right’, has become a significant force.
The Netherlands which runs a party list system did see the rise of a new conservative Farmers Party. Now that is reported to have fallen far behind a new ‘radical centrist’ party, which has surged ahead in polling with less than a fortnight to go before the general election. In Italy, Giorgia Meloni is beset by Italy’s leftist parties vowing to take down her government. Arguably all over Europe we see the ‘right’ held back by PR. Spanish voters on all sides are sick of it and that is why they have taken to the streets in disgust.