Adéu Mariano Rajoy, Catalonia won’t miss you

So it’s adéu Mariano Rajoy. Catalonia, and the rest of Spain for that matter, won’t miss you. The Spanish Prime Minister, whose sole political talent is to make Theresa May seem like she’s listening, has lost a vote of no-confidence in the Cortes, the Spanish parliament. The vote came after the conclusion of a long running corruption scandal in which Rajoy’s party, the Partido Popular, was mired up to its neck. Earlier this week a judge ruled that the Partido Popular had financially benefited from the scandal, involving kickbacks for government contracts. Rajoy himself had been called to give evidence in the case, and the judge later described his evidence as unconvincing. Which is about as close as a Spanish judge is going to get to calling the Prime Minister a liar liar pants on fire.

In Scotland we complain – quite rightly – about corruption in local authorities, but corruption in Scotland is amateur small beer stuff compared to the blatant fraud that goes on in Spain. The so-called Gürtel case is the biggest corruption scandal since Spain was restored to democracy. The name comes from the code name given to the case by the investigating officers. At the centre of the case is businessman Francisco Correa, whose surname means belt in Spanish. Gürtel means belt in German. Correa and his associates were accused of bribing Partido Popular politicians in order to secure government contracts. One assessment of the case in the left leaning Público newspaper claimed that up to € 120 million (£105 million) in public money was lost due to the fraud. On 8 May this year Correa was sentenced to 51 years in prison for his part in the scandal.

Also sentenced earlier this month was Luis Barcenas, the former treasurer of the Partido Popular and a close political friend and ally of Mariano Rajoy. Barcenas was sentenced to 33 years in jail. It was after Rajoy had been called as a witness in Barcena’s defence that a judge remarked that the Prime Minister’s evidence was unconvincing. Barcenas held some € 48 million in secret Swiss bank accounts, and operated the Partido Popular’s system of double book keeping in order to hide illegal donations, money from bribes, and kickbacks from business people for whom PP politicians had done favours. Barcenas made regular payments from a slush fund to PP politicians, including eleven annual payments of € 25,000 directly to Mariano Rajoy. Rajoy has always denied taking illegal funds.

One reason for Rajoy’s intransigence over Catalonia was in order to distract public attention from the Gürtel Case. It suited Rajoy to turn the political problem of Catalonia into a full-blown crisis. It meant that people were talking about the independence movement in Catalonia and the threat to the unity of the Spanish state and were not talking about the stench of corruption which enveloped the ruling Spanish party. This week however, the corruption scandals finally caught up with Rajoy, and the opposition Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) was able to secure sufficient votes in the Cortes in order to pass a motion of no-confidence in Rajoy’s minority government. The PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez will now be sworn in as Prime Minister, heading a minority government of his own.

The pro-independence Basque and Catalan parties and the anti-austerity Podemos party all backed the PSOE motion. Notably the right wing Spanish nationalist and populist Ciudadanos party, which has campaigned on a platform of opposing corruption, voted with the Partido Popular. The leader of Ciudadanos released a statement saying that his party was not in the business of supporting nationalists and populists, except Spanish nationalists and populists naturally.

Pedro Sánchez has promised that unlike Rajoy he will engage in dialogue with the Catalan independence parties. Some in the English language media have hailed this as a potential breakthrough in the Catalan crisis, however the reaction from Catalonia itself has been rather more muted. For the Catalans, the PSOE is simply the lesser of two evils. The PSOE is every bit as much committed to the unity of the Spanish state as the PP is. Its Catalan branch, the PSC, has allied itself with the rightists in the PP and Ciutadans (the Catalan branch of Ciudadanos) to oppose independence and a referendum.  There may be a difference in tone from the new government in Madrid, there may be a difference in tactics, but many in Catalonia suspect that there will be no change in its determination to resist Catalan independence.

In a statement on Twitter, exiled president Carles Puigdemont said:

Si nosaltres fóssim de venjança, avui ja ens podríem donar per satisfets. Però com que som de justícia, avui encara no podem celebrar res. Ens queda una llarga lluita i un llarg camí per vèncer les injustícies, que són moltes i persistents.

“If we were seeking vengeance, then today we could be satisfied. But as we are for justice, then today there is nothing to celebrate. We are still left with a long struggle and a long path in order to defeat injustices, which are many and persistent.”

The radical pro-independence CUP party has signalled that the investiture of Pedro Sánchez means that nothing significant has changed. The Catalan political prisoners remain in prison. Those in exile still face extradition proceedings. The party released a brief statement saying that “The actors change, the problem remains the same.” Meanwhile an editorial in the pro-independence Catalan newspaper Vilaweb notes that the problems of the Spanish state which pushed the Catalans into the referendum and declaration of independence in October last year have not magically disappeared.

The reality for the new Spanish government is that very little is likely to change. Pedro Sánchez now leads a minority government with just 84 deputies out of 350, half of the parliamentary support enjoyed by the last PSOE Prime Minister, Luis Zapatero. Sánchez has promised elections later in the year, but intends to govern as a minority government for the coming months. Given the electoral arithmetic, his freedom of movement is limited, and parties like Ciudadanos, which hopes to benefit from right wing votes following the fall from grace of the Partido Popular, will be pressing for an early election. The new Spanish government will be fragile, and pressures from the Spanish right and opponents of Catalan independence within its own ranks mean that it is unlikely that there will be significant concessions on the main issue for Catalonia, allowing the Catalans a legal referendum on independence. The pressure from the Spanish right has already started.

It is however interesting to note that two years ago, after the last Spanish elections, Pedro Sánchez failed to become Prime Minister because he was unwilling to engage with the anti-austerity party Podemos, and because he refused to accept the support of pro-independence parties. And yet here we are now, with Sánchez in power and counting on the support of Podemos and the Catalan independence parties. Nothing huge might change, but the election of Pedro Sánchez at least cracks open the door to negotiations and dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona, a door which was firmly locked and bolted by an instransigent Mariano Rajoy.

I’m off to Spain this weekend for a week to visit with friends. So I won’t be posting anything until I get back. If Sam (Macart) has the time and inclination he may treat you to some of his words of wisdom.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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23 comments on “Adéu Mariano Rajoy, Catalonia won’t miss you

  1. markrussell20085017 says:

    Schadenfreude is wonderful, let the celebrations begin..

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug Adéu Mariano Rajoy, Catalonia won’t miss you So it’s adéu Mariano Rajoy. Catalonia, and the rest of Spain for that matter, […]

  3. Jason Smoothpiece says:

    Still avoiding Spanish goods services and holidays until the state is normalised.

    I hope we dont forget our Catalan friends just because the news is well managed.

  4. Andrew Gallacher says:

    Everything you’ve written about the PP is absolutely true. Corrupt to the core. Now for some balance, why not do a piece on the corruption within the Catalan independence parties? There are plenty of examples.
    I still believe the Yes movement should be distancing itself from this mess.

    • mogabee says:

      Why does he have to balance out his piece? He aint the BBC. 😀 😀

      The yes movement has many strands and who are we to tell folk where and who to give their sympathy.

      • Andrew Gallacher says:

        I would never expect balance from the BBC. It could teach the North Korean state TV a thing or two. I just think there might not be so much sympathy for Catalan independence from fellow Scottish indy supporters if they knew about everything that is going on over there. Too many of us support Catalonia without knowing the full story. I worry that this association between our causes will be used by the British nationalist msm against us, and it’s not as if we don’t have enough battles to fight with that bunch of reprobates.
        This is just my opinion on this, which I express in the hope that fellow Yessers will maybe take some time to find out about the corruption and hypocrisy that exists within the Catalan independence movement, and to ask themselves if this is a movement with which we really want to be associated.
        Unfortunately I am quite often attacked by other indy supporters for expressing this opinion.

  5. Excellent breakdown of events, Paul. Have a wonderful week.

  6. Aikenheed says:

    Deflection politics eh?
    What’s the Spanish for’Oh look, a squirrel!’?
    Have a great holiday, you deserve it.
    (A throwback to the old Calvanistic ye cannae enjoy it unless ye deserve it!

  7. mogabee says:

    Have a good break. We’ll be kind(as usual) to Sam!

  8. Illy says:

    Yeah…

    Until the arrests and warrants go away nothing has changed.

  9. Az says:

    That’s really interesting, thanks for this great detail.

    I fnd myself wondering how on earth a country that gives brutal sentences like 51 years for corruption/embezzlement whatever charge like this, can possibly be in the EU?

    I find that baffling. That is really, really brutal. I had always assumed that EU and most European countries had fairly similar crimes and sentencing to here – and the ones I’d had cause to check actually do. That was, until sedition and rebellion charges were banging about and 33 years imprisonment etc, but 51? The guy might be a total **** and a crook, but I’m genuinely blown away by a 51 year sentence. Shocked.

  10. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    £ to a pinch of something smelly the money was laundered through London and Gibraltar

  11. Sarah Mackintosh says:

    Enjoy your break!

  12. Robert Graham says:

    By the looks of it the expendable ones have been thrown under the proverbial bus to deflect any further questions being asked , as someone else pointed out until the vendetta against the Catalan people is finally dropped it’s business as usual .

  13. It’s Grim(sby) Up North.
    Rev Su is ripping the lungs out of the Evening Times and the Scotsman over on WoS right now.
    Lies and omissions from the pathetic hacks who are determined to preserve Scotland as a barren waste, a grouse moor colony, BrigadoonLand for the rich English tourists, under orders from their English Imperial masters.
    The wife of a wealthy pop star fronts the Times in a Rich Madonna and Child pose berating the Scottish Government and the New SNP led Glasgow Council for upping her child minding fees.
    It is reported that this poor family are down to their last £16 million; but that doesn’t stop the vile little hacks working for a Yankee Billionaire.

    Scotland is shite. Contrive any old lie.

    Glasgow’s SNP Shite after 50 bounteous New Labour years.

    The Scotsman blames the Bad SNP for closing Young’s Fish Processing Factory, in the certain knowledge that it is Ruth Davidson’s Party, in doing their ‘day job’ raping Scotland, sacking workers, and laughing their fucking heads off at every opportunity because starvation and early death of their fellow Scots citizens by their Cuts Agenda is so fucking hilarious, have bunged Young’s £1.3 million to beef up their Plant in Grimsby, and hire 100’s more English citizens as they sack hundreds of Scots colonial slaves.
    I have had it up to the back teeth.
    We are at war.

    They are killing and impoverishing their fellow Scots citizens for money.
    By ‘they’ I mean the liars and propagandists in our bought and paid for Brit Nat MSM.

    • Shagpile says:

      Indeed Jack, but remember, Labour and Lib Dems have form on this too.

      Viasystems was also paid UK subsidies to relocate sotb from Galashiels. This provably broke the rules, however, as the beneficiary was another Lib Dem constituency, Moore suddenly shut up and Labour also swept it under the carpet for their coalition partners.

      • Carpetman,

        the Red Blue and Yellow Tories all filed into the yea lobby to vote through George Osborne’s Budget of Fiscal Responsibility ‘Austerity Cuts’ in 2014, or in the real world, supported £32 billion in cuts to welfare and disability payments, half a million public servants sacked, and Public Service cuts to Health, LA funding, Police, and so on.
        So Curran, Murphy, Davidson (of ‘bayonet the wounded’ infamy) the Alexander Brothers, Dougie and Danny, Liar Carmichael, and the sorry treacherous gang of ProudScotButs consigned 260, 000 of our children, and 500,000 of our Scots citizens to English State engineered poverty and penury.

        And JK Rowling and Lord Flipper Darling got a 5% tax cut.

        The ‘fucking useless’ 41 Red Tory Scots MPs voted with Osborne ‘you can’t keep the pound’ in punishing the Many to reward the Few..

        I see Iain Macwhirter has been well and truly knobbled. He has joined the BritNat fan club touting Ruth Davidson as leadership material.

        He elevates Ruth Davidson to the same level of significance as our FM Nicola Sturgeon in a nonsense piece of Brit Nat drivel in the Sunday Herald today.
        They actually have a cropped photo of the two ladies dressed in red outfits in an attempt to brainwash us all into believing that Davidson is on a par with Sturgeon in the political and leadership stakes.
        Macwhirter: Ruth Davidson as star material? Really?
        Take a good look at yourself in the mirror, Iain.

        NEXT are advertising in the Herald; won’t be shopping there again; I urge all free thinkers to consider doing likewise.
        The is nothing on Young’s evacuation from the DMZ that is Scotland. Hundreds of scots jobs lost, so no news there.
        I hope Grimsby is considered as a location for their nuclear subs when we kick them out of Faslane.

        No follow up from Paul Hutcheon on the scandal of the BAD SNP Council hiking child minding fees to pop stars down to their last few millions?
        Thought not.

        I will not buy any product from firms who prop up our hostile US owned Brit Nat Press with advertising revenue.
        How long can their US bosses subsidise the Scottish Editions of these blatantly English Imperialist Propaganda pamphlets?
        Advertise on any of them, I stop buying your products.
        We are at war.

  14. ‘Rev Su’?
    A North Korean Puppet methinks.

    • astytaylor says:

      Ha, we’ll forgive you the odd typo, Jack. Thanks for keeping us updated.
      The Rev. Stu Campbell at https://wingsoverscotland.com is indeed doing a fantastic job of investigative journalism.
      The so-called mainstream newspapers in Scotland are a damned disgrace.
      (With the exception of the National).
      However, the truth shall prevail, and the young tech-savvy generation know that the newspaper moguls are corrupt. People know that the British Broadcasting Corporation will never support Scottish independence., Jackie Bird and co are on the wrong side of history, despite the nice pay cheque.
      Thanks for keeping the flame alive, Jack, Stu, Paul, Sam, Wendy, Hetty, Jason, Mogabee, Shagpile, and everyone else that contributes here.
      The message goes around the world.

  15. grafter says:

    LET’S ALL GO TO BANNOCKBURN !! Saturday 23rd June !!

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