Political problems in Spain and the UK

Hands typing on vintage typewriter on wooden table.

November 14
Anna, Valencia

Unlike the UK, Spain has a proportional representation system so whoever you vote for, your vote counts.

In the last few years, Pedro Sánchez of the centre left Socialist Party has been both the Prime Minister of Spain and the dominant politician in Spain. He has represented Spain nationally and internationally very impressively. However, he was only able to govern Spain in coalition with the ultra left Podemos party. But the wheels fell off about 18 months ago. And in recent regional elections it was clear that Pedro Sánchez and his Socialist party were struggling for support.

In the national elections called in July the opposition centre right Popular Party won the most votes, but could not form a government because their only allies were Vox, (a populist right wing party, pro Spanish traditions, pro bullfighting, pro hunting, a bit sceptical EU etc). Together these two right of centre parties could not muster enough votes to form a viable government.

That brings us to the core of the current Spanish political problem. In order to assemble a sufficient majority for continued governance, Pedro Sánchez’s party PSOE (Spanish Socialist workers’ party) has had to offer the Catalan separatists a full amnesty for holding a separatist referendum a few years ago which was deemed illegal by the national government in Madrid (some Catalan separatist leaders have subsequently passed time in prison and some separatist leaders fled the country and are still in exile in Brussels).

This has divided Spain profoundly and not just along political lines… a matter of serious, deep, polemical constitutional significance is being used as a bargaining tool for a now minority left-wing political party to continue in governance. It may or may not succeed this or next week. But if it does succeed, it will cause a deep, enduring and festering schism in Spanish society which will relentlessly and fundamentally affect the future of Spain.

In the UK, elections will take place within about 12 months. British voters will be offered a choice between two cheeks of the same bum (OK, ‘backside’ if you prefer). You can vote for a useless, pathetic, woke, centrist party headed by Rishi Sunak… or you can vote for a useless, pathetic, dangerously super woke, centrist party headed by Keir Starmer. Our electoral system of first past will ensure it will be one of them.

The Labour Party long ago ceased to represent working people, and the Tories frankly don’t even know who or what they represent or stand for. Seriously, is there one current UK politician from whom you could confidently buy a second hand car?

Although both Spain and the UK are doing OK economically at the macro level (both countries are still in the top 15 in the world for overall wealth, income and quality of life), both countries are in difficult times politically. As regards the UK, I cannot remember in recent decades when politically and socially our home country has been in such a deplorable state.


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