In Spain, Mr Rajoy and his team are slowly and laboriously edging their country back to sanity and a more stable economy, though the process will be long and tedious. Hercules cleaning up those Augean stables was child’s play compared with Spain’s newly elected government’s tasks.
One spectacular change that the General Election of late 2011 brought was that the public was at last relieved of the obligatory daily vision of at least three of Mr Zapatero’s lady ministers, appointed by him without much imagination or investigation of their possibly faulty skills in management. A Government Minister in a democratic country wields very great power. No-one in their department wishes to gainsay them. In the case of the last socialist Minister of Health – Leire Pajín – ZP pushed a mere girl without qualifications of any kind, who had ‘worked’ for the socialist party since her teens, into a job that most qualified doctors would avoid like then plague – the Ministry of Health. Pajín is the daughter of another socialist politician, a woman who would certainly enjoy to be knitting beneath a guillotine while conservative heads topple into a basket. Both these Eumenides are from Valencia. Zapatero chose for his Minster of Health a girl who didn’t know the difference between a bandage and scalpel, and probably thought Band Aid was a charitable act towards aged pop singers. We do not have to see or hear this women any more – or at least until the Spanish people once again elect a socialist government, say, in six years time. It was said about her that her overwhelming support for massively increased legalized abortion had little or nothing to do with what she had been told about a popular movement in China, the selling of aborted foetus to restaurant chains to make soup.
We must now learn to do without the privilege of seeing Trinidad Jiménez. She used to be Minister of Health too, replacing Bernat Soria in 2009. Trinidad is the lady who despite the strong support of the President of the Government and others of less seniority within the PSOE, got herself thrashed by Tomás Gómez in the campaign to choose a new leader of the socialists in Madrid. While she was Mistress of Health, Trinidad launched an all-out attack on the filthy habit of smoking, forcing restaurants to close their newly-built smoking areas without paying for the cost of the reform.
Come to think of it, there was also a lady in ZP’s Cabinet who sudenly thouhght it would be a good idea to knock down all buildings next to any beach anywhere on Spanish coasts. It is said that when some expert quietly told her this would mean the removal of all front line hotels and apartment blocks from Sitges to Playa de las Américas she expressed surprise.
As Zapatero’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Trinidad managed to keep Spain out of trouble, though one doubts she knows the difference between Georgia and Georgia, or, for that matter, Galicia and Galicia. She is a qualified lawyer, with a degree from a Madrid University, but from the age of nineteen she has only worked for the PSOE. This is a shared similarity with Leire Pajín; one doubts she would like the comparison to be made.
By far the funniest card in the packful of jokers was Bibaina Aido, the Minister who kept on handing out enormous sums of money to failures such as RTVE or (worse, much worse) the Spanish film industry and its pornographically-minded producers. At one time she was Minister for Equality, as if such a ministry existed. Oh, wait a moment, it did exist! And Bibaina Aido was its Minister. This was the ministry responsible for encouraging women to take most of the jobs going, leaving their partners at home to change the nappies, make the Greaseburgers and maintain the high percentage of unemployed citizens. She was also the minister responsible for financing Associations of Gays and Lesbian in their Special Shows and Demonstrations of Gay Pride – something to which they have every right to – except that such goings on do not need public money to pay for them, as not every taxpayer is obliged to sympathise with their point of view. Not yet anyway.
I have not forgotten another of these puissant ladies, forced out of office some time before Zapatero himself was forced out of office. I refer to María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, about whom little needs to be said except that she alone must have kept Spain’s haute couture industry afloat because she never appeared twice in the same outfit. Nor have I forgotten the lady who without knowing anything about soldiering was made Minister of Defence. Besides, she has every intention of staying well in the public eye, as she wants to be President of Cataluña, that prickly part of Spain where they play such good football; you know, that large area (of Spain) near the South of France, where politicians speak to the Spanish Nation in Catalan instead of Castilian, meaning seventy percent of their listeners do not understand a word. I judge we will be hearing a lot about her. Probably in Catalan.