Well, last night I met up with Franco Aleman over in Sant Gervasi. He's a very nice guy, intelligent, articulate, and well-informed. We had a good long conversation over a couple of beers. One thing he said, and I don't think I'm betraying a confidence, is that sooner or later there is going to be a major shakeup at the Vanguardia. There is too much just plain lying in that newspaper and they are going to be exposed.
We discussed the political circus still going on in the Madrid region; so far, the situation is that they are going to hold new regional elections sometime during the fall. The Socialists are still screaming corruption without the slightest real evidence; their lawsuit over the whole mess got thrown out by the Supreme Court yesterday.
Franco's theory is that the two Socialist turncoats, Tamayo and Saez, had been promised posts of prominence in the regional cabinet in exchange for their support of Rafael Simancas as the Socialist candidate for the presidency of the Madrid region. Unfortunately for the scheme, the PSOE and Simancas reneged on their promises to these two on order to give said posts of prominence to the Communists, whom they made a post-electoral coalition with. Tamayo and Saez took their revenge by bolting the party.
My theory is that Jose Bono, the Baron of Castile-La Mancha, who was barely defeated by Zap in the last vote on who would be the Socialist party leader (and Zap had the support of Tamayo and Saez and their faction within the party, that's what put him in power), is cynically taking revenge on Zap in order to force him out now and put Bono in as the candidate for Prime Minister for the 2004 general elections. Bono got to those two and promised them a lot more than Simancas and Zap had promised them in order to make Sim and Zap's faction of the party look even stupider than they do already.
I imagine there is some truth in both theories.
See, Zap is a moron. We translated an interview with him a few weeks ago, and he is simply not very smart. There are plenty of smart leftists, leftists are mostly not stupid (a little misguided, maybe), but Zap is just not one of them. Zap also just got creamed by Aznar in the annual State of the Nation parliamentary debate held earlier last week. Aznar slaughtered him. Zap was not prepared. Aznar can be unpleasantly arrogant, and boy, did he show it. He despises Zap, and his scorn drips from every word. I think Aznar would increase his percentage of the vote by five points if he'd just be a little nicer. On the other hand, if he were a little nicer, maybe he wouldn't be where he is today.
The Socialists have been reduced to whining that Aznar was mean to Zap. That's about the only spin they can put on the aftermath of the debate, since their man lost and lost badly.
The hot news is that the Madrid serial killer, the Playing Card Murderer, so-called because he left a playing card by the bodies of his six victims between January 24 and March 16, turned himself in in Ciudad Real. They're sure it's him because he gave details of the crimes which only the killer could have known. He is an ex-corporal in the Army and served in Bosnia. Prepare for various columns by Maruja Torres on how his military service brutalized him and made him a psychopath. Watch for articles by Vicente Verdu on how these killings are a manifestation of the Americanization of Spanish society.
We can't let a day go by without transmitting the wisdom of the Vanguardia: here's an article by Rafael Ramos from yesterday's news section, not marked as analysis or opinion. I sort of condensed it.
American Blackhawk helicopters...White House...paternalist...impotence...unequal war...losers of the postwar...Indochina...Vietnam...propaganda..."we will impose our will"...pseudo-colonial governor of a rebel province...myopic...triumphalism...where are the arms of mass destruction...lies or half-truths...how many more British soldiers will be sacrificed on the altar of Bush's imperial ambitions...the improving organization of the Resistence...Vietnam.
Oh, yeah, David Beckham. Talk about media feeding frenzies. My guess is that the Spanish media is going to hate Becks and that they are especially going to hate Posh. These two are the apotheosis of working-class Englishness and that doesn't go over well outside England (my theory is that the working class is the most authentically English or Spanish or French group of people in England or Spain and France, and since nationalisms automatically dislike one another, the more working-class a foreign phenomenon is, the more it will be disliked, if that makes sense).
Posh is a ho. She showed up at the official media feeding frenzy press conference wearing a faux leopard top showing off enormous quantities of silicone. Becks showed up with his shirt unbuttoned all the way down the front. This is not going to go over well. Lots of soccer players are married to models here in Spain--Figo, Karembeu, Raul, Guti, Ronaldo--but they're all fairly discreet, though undoubtedly tacky in a flashy working-class sort of way. In Spain they'll leave you alone if you make it clear that you're not going to do anything newsworthy--if you're a fairly normal, non-obnoxious person who doesn't get drunk and punch out photographers and spend every night at the exclusive discos. Not that Becks does that kind of thing, but he does keep getting himself in the gossip magazines. Figo and Raul and company are reasonably discreet. Becks and Posh are not and they're going to be the most hated people in Spain. I hope I'm wrong, I wish them no ill will, but I bet I'm right.