Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Political bombshell in the PP. Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, the leader of the PP's moderate wing, announced that he may retire from politics after the March 9 election. He's stepped back from the position he took last night, when he said, "I have been defeated," and said he would certainly retire. Now he's saying that he will "reflect" after the election on what he'll do.

His motive was that PP leader Mariano Rajoy left him off the PP's Madrid list of candidates for the Congress of Deputies. Gallardon did make it clear that he was not bolting the party, as he encouraged his listeners to vote for Rajoy in March.

What this means: 1) The conservatives, led by Esperanza Aguirre, premier of the Madrid region, have won the power struggle within the PP. Piqué and Gallardón have been defenestrated. 2) This is the first open schism in the PP since the Aznar days; Aznar was always very good at keeping everyone in line and on message. 3) If Rajoy gets beat, he'll have to step down as leader, and Aguirre is now on top of the list to replace him. 4) This might cost the PP some votes among Gallardon supporters in Madrid. 5) The PP has moved strongly toward the traditional Catholic right and away from the center.

I keep saying that Spain needs a real liberal (in the European sense), moderate party, led by people like Gallardon and Pique, along with Miquel Roca, Rodrigo Rato, Rosa Diez, Fernando Savater, and Jose Bono. A party like that would win at least 15% of the vote and might just be the swing vote in the Congress.

I still hope Rajoy wins the election, because if he doesn't, it's four more years of Zap.

Get this: Catalan foo-foo green commie idiotarian Interior counselor Joan Saura, who is in charge of the police and crime and security and stuff like that, has had the main office redecorated along the principles of feng shui. I couldn't make this stuff up.

The Spaniah Olympic Committee has decided it doesn't like the new words for the national anthem, and won't use them in Beijing at the next Olympics. That effectively puts an end to that, since the new lyrics won't be submitted to the Congress of Deputies for approval. Bummer.

More hospital incompetence: Some crazy old guy in a long-stay hospital in Lleida beat his roommate to death with a hatchet. Jesus. He'd had the hatchet sneaked in to him six months ago, and had been planning to use it on somebody, he just wasn't quite sure who. He had also attacked somebody else in the past with a pair of scissors. Meanwhile, the private clinics in Barcelona are piling up with patients, too, due to the flu epidemic; this particular virus affects both the respiratory system and the digestive tract, and is very nasty.

Barça drew 0-0 against Sevilla last night in the second leg of their Cup tie, and qualified for the quarterfinals since they had drawn 1-1 in the first leg in Sevilla. Without Messi, Eto'o, and Ronaldinho, and Deco starting the game on the bench, it was a conservative, defensive, and non-speculative Barça team. Sevilla is very good; they're much better than their League record. Giovani and Bojan both got to play, and showed why they are future stars. One of the big English clubs should sign up Gudjohnsen, who is playing well but just doesn't fit in. Thuram is finished and should retire, and there are rumors that Zambrotta wants to go back to Italy next season. Milito has taken Puyol's job at center-back, and Puyol has moved over to right fullback in most games, replacing Zambrotta. Marquez is playing very well, sometimes at center-back and sometimes in the midfield, as is Abidal at left fullback. For someone who's 34, Sylvinho is doing a good job; he's still in very good shape, better than some of the younger players. I honestly think they have a chance to come back in the second half of the season, since Madrid isn't as good as its League record.

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