One of these two is a dreadful spiv and crook. The other is Arthur Daley.
That’s Luis Barcenas, former Treasurer of the ruling Francoist successor Popular Party in Spain and long time confidante of Prime Minister Rajoy, happily now in prison for his part in a corruption scandal in which, over twenty years, hundreds of millions of euros in kickbacks from taxpayer-funded projects were channelled into the Popular Party coffers, and then doled out in secret payments to party leaders. Rajoy himself had to give evidence in court and the judgement made plain he was not believed.
This is the obvious cause of the no confidence motion that may lead to the Popular Party being removed from power tomorrow. The power of the brown envelope may yet save Rajoy, and the constitutional role of a monarchy which is itself financially corrupt will also come into play.
It says everything about the state of Spanish politics, that in responding in Parliament to the charge of corruption in the no-confidence debate today, Rajoy should turn to the leader of the opposition and declaim “And who do you think you are, Mother Theresa? Your hands are not so clean”. It says even more about Spain that this has not caused shock and “you are corrupt too” is not seen as a wildly inappropriate defence. It is true that the Socialist Party has no shortage of its own skeletons.
What may bring down Rajoy is the fact that the Basque parties, whose support Rajoy had bought with subsidies even more obvious than those lavished by May on the DUP, cannot be seen to prop up Rajoy after his enthusiastic policy of clubbing Catalan grandmothers over the head and imprisoning Catalan leaders. Only the neo-con fake opposition Ciudadanos, originally sponsored and financed by the German BND security service to head off Podemos’ perceived threat to the Euro, is doing its utmost to maintain Merkel’s close ally in power.
If Rajoy finally pays a political price for his appalling persecution of the Catalans it will be a moment of joy, even though the Socialists who would replace him have themselves been shamefully playing to Spanish Nationalist opinion throughout the crisis. But the downfall of one of the nastiest and most vicious and corrupt politicians in power that Europe has seen in decades is nevertheless devoutly to be wished.