Scandals involving the political class in Spain, bloated by extensive media coverage, convey the wrong impression this revolting practice stands as the major problem. But you cannot blame people confronted with mounting difficulties in their day to day life for casting a merciless judgement on those in power over the last decades. It seems outrageous that while most of the population is facing rough times, a bunch of rogues might be engaged in such indecent practices.
The risk is that angry citizens might end up wrecking the democratic system. While proving far from flawless, it is undoubtedly the better option. The prospect that outraged voters might dwarf the main parties, replacing the current orderly power sharing by a set of minority factions, sends shivers down the spine. While a huge growth gap plus sky-high unemployment stand as the real hurdles that Spain faces, no impartial observer would bet these challenges to be better served by an unmanageable Parliament.
Yet, lack of willingness to address this obvious shortcoming is undermining confidence in the political sphere. No party is ready to redress its record and acknowledge any wrongdoing, protecting till the very end those indulging in malpractices or blatant abuses.
For all their much heralded pledges to weed out corruption, their main concern lies in concealing it, no matter the price to be paid later on for behaving in such ominous way. Mind you, electoral cost has up now proved irrelevant, but leniency towards corruption in dwindling away.
While wiping out corruption stands as a must, acknowledging this problem stems from weakened power leverage, seems the best course of action. The real scandal lies in the fact that political parties have managed to take control over institutions, supposedly meant to act on an independent basis in checking abuses and privileges amount to muzzling civil society. Public TV is becoming government master’s voice, while the all-in-one competition new body seems aimed at providing a tamed body incapable to enforce an even playing field. Parliamentary life is confined to acrimonious rifts while no balanced enquiry is launched on citizens’ problems.
Spain has a lot to learn from political life in Britain or the US, where bipartisan broad agreement to engage into an objective and transparent way of working gives rise to thorough reviews and sensible proposals for improvement. How far away from the daily wrangles witnessed here. Unless a deep change in democratic behaviour is achieved, Spain will always navigate in shallow waters.