Archive for the ‘Spanish conservatives (PP)’ Category

Well! who would have thought so, I’m in shock, I’m in disbelief! Our very own Jose Maria Aznar, the rock star politician, is rumoured to be the father of the child expected by French Justice Minister Rachida Dati. The world is gone crazy: that’s a fact.

Those years playing squash are really starting to show Mr. President…


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As promised yesterday I would like to throw out there a couple of ideas for a new political message for Labour. Now that Brown is finally taking some time out (and hopefully getting some good sleep to clear his head) I hope No. 10 staffers are working hard on the new message and calendar to plan a proper (and final) comeback in September.

Here are my two contributions to the debate:

– Firstly, emphasise difference between the Tories and Labour on the economy. They are the party of the rich and powerful, Labour that of the middle and working classes, let’s remind voters of that. In Spain the Zapatero government is dealing with a serious economic crisis of similar proportions to that of the UK. Of course Zapatero, four months after his reelection, is taking a toll on his popularity because of the crisis. But he’s holding up by emphasising the differences in the way he and a Conservative government would handle the crisis. No government is going to have the silver bullet to finish off the crisis at once. It’s an international crisis, and for the UK economy, highly dependent on financial services, the global trend will mark the national trend. So the government should focus on alleviating the crisis for those that are more vulnerable to it. Zapatero has promised in Spain to guarantee social spending during the crisis no matter what, pensions, dependency law, minimum wage, work safety, they won’t be affected by the crisis and at the same time helping people restructure their mortgages to ease their economic circumstances (true, Spain had healthier public savings than the UK but there are ways around it, that’s the challenge for Labour economists). Moreover Zapatero has announced that no public money will be used to save private companies that are in trouble by their own mistakes, pure liberal orthodoxy. At the same time long term measures are being taken to guarantee a switch to a more sustainable economic model (energy saving, investment in railways, higher productivity, less construction and more manufacturing). These announcements give working people the feeling that the government is on their side, not using their taxes to pump up the same economic model that has caused the crisis. Sure, they still feel the pain, but in the long term until the crisis passes this is the only way to get through it. Moreover, Zapatero keeps reminding voters of what the Aznar government did during the 2000 crisis, freezing public sector salaries for years, reduction in public services investment and privatisations without a plan that turned public monopolies into private ones with no promotion of competition (think Telefonica). When voters see the differences between the two approaches they do come around to more progressive ways of doing politics. And this is what Brown needs to do in Britain. Alleviate the pain of the vulnerable and make sure to reform the supervision mechanisms to guarantee enough solvency in the financial sector for the future. Around these ideas should be Labour’s economic message.

– A second idea is that Labour needs to go on the offensive. Find wedge issues, remember the Tory revolt on comprehensive schools?, to stir the Tory backbenches. There are plenty of issues that Cameron is embracing that old Tories are simply uncomfortable with, on social issues, civil liberties, environment. Let’s put those divisive issues out there. Voters are only seeing the nice face of the Tories because Cameron is doing well, let’s show their nasty side by bringing up those issues where their leadership and backbenchers disagree. There are plenty and some of them long overdue to be taken into consideration.

These are my two contributions to the debate on a new message for Labour. They need to emphasise what are the differences between the parties, what makes Labour a better choice, and that should be that it cares about people and it supports them better through difficult times than the Tories would ever do.

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Spanish conservatives like to boast about great unity within the party. Discipline is the key see, in the spirit of those dictatorships of the like of Mugabe or Castro, PP leaders are elected with 99% of the vote as the party apparatus makes sure only one candidate at a time runs.

But as we saw in the national convention a couple of weeks ago two electoral defeats in a row are starting to foster a bit of a grassroots revolt from within. Ana Mato was chosen by PP Madrid HQ as the next party leader in Catalonia. The party apparatus made a couple of calls and asked the three other contenders for the post to step down so Mato could run unopposed and win under the unity banner as they like to see in PP. But the move backfired monumentally, as Mato was delivering her victory speech to the party regional convention and spoke of unity (fake, but unity) she got this…have a look at the video.

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Charlie Black probably wishes he didn’t get out of bed yesterday morning. One of McCain closest aides fed a quote on the record to Forbes magazine saying that another 9/11 style attack would help McCain get elected.

This is a classic political moment. When ‘not for public consumption’ real political manouvreing emerges. Like that politicos’ favourite quote goes, noone likes to know how the sausage is made, they just like to eat it. Everyone with a bit of a political brain will know that Black is absolutely right. George Lakoff has said how the American electorate prefers Republicans when they prioritise security and Democrats when it comes to¬† personal welfare. There’s a reason why Bush focused the 2004 campaign on security issues, Republicans have an electoral edge there. However once it gets published it doesn’t look as good as it is smart.

Probably one of the most damaging quotes in modern politics was that of Labour’s Jo Moore who on the day of the World Trade Centre attacks sent an email around advising that it was a good day to bury bad news as the media would be focusing on the attacks. Now, this is again true, it’s not just Moore, everyone does it, it’s modern news management. The problem is that when her quote was published she lost her job and framed Labour as the party of nasty spin.

Another interesting case was that of Spanish conservative campaign manager, Gabriel Elorriaga. Elorriaga in an interview with the FT right before the May 9 election fed them a quote claiming that the party’s electoral strategy was to promote abstention because that hurt the Socialist Party. Again, great thinking, anything below 70% turnout would have hurt Zapatero, but once he said it out loud it had the opposite effect.

Mistakes like these of Black, Moore and Elorriaga can cost an election easily.

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The Spanish Conservative Party (PP) today started its party convention in Valencia.

After his crashing defeat in the May 9 general election Rajoy has been openly criticised by several high-profile party leaders within PP. The party leaders in Madrid and the Basque Country, Esperanza Aguirre and Maria San Gil, as well as MEPs’ leader Jaime Mayor Oreja have been his most vocal opponents. But they were unable to challenge him with an alternative leadership campaign. However in the last month it’s believed that the ultimate party boss, and former Spanish PM, Jose Maria Aznar was starting to plot against Rajoy after the latter moved Aznar’s speech to the convention to Saturday rather from the closing day, Sunday, to avoid Aznar stealing the limelight.

Well have a close loo at the video. Aznar arrives late to interrupt the convention. Like a rockstar he walks up to take his seat and effusively kisses Madrid President Esperanza Aguirre and shakes hands with everyone, however when he gets to Rajoy he shakes hand very quickly without even making eye contact (don’t even think of a hug to the party leader to show one’s support).

That’s gotta hurt! Rajoy needs to come out of the convention as a strong leader to take on the economic crisis and battle with Zapatero for four long years in Congress. Aznar today has just blown the first day, two more to go and Aznar’s speech is tomorrow!

Have a look at the video, notice Aznar in second 41 kissing Aguirre and then in second 51blowing Rajoy away with all the camera flashes on them. Ouch!

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