The flashlight’s beam stabbing the dark corridors of Westminster caught not just sticky-fingered politicians; it caught the public imagination too. It brought some relief to beleaguered Spanish politicians who had temporarily scuttled from view.
The equally reprehensible activities of Spain’s Costa Nostra and their inland co-conspirators might be considered those of the godfathers of the brown envelope. Out of sight isn’t necessarily out of find: In the past 36-months 18 mayors; a dozen either PSOE or PP, have had their collars felt.
Charges range from bribery, misuse of public funds, perverting the course of justice, and money laundering. No murder, amigo? The Marina Baja mayor of Polop, Sr. Juan Cano, has been arrested by Guardia Civil investigating the assassination of his predecessor. His party membership has been suspended; let us hope his body isn’t.
British citizens may be relieved to learn that their sanctimonious hypocrites are not the only maggots in the apple barrel of government. Journalist Daniel Montero, has unearthed a fascinating treasure trove of parasites in Spain.
NO WORRIES: CORRUPTION IS LEGAL
His findings will stain the escutcheon of Spain. He reveals that many of the Spanish establishment’s fiscal injustices are actually legal. As in Britain they are ‘within the rules’.
Spain might be regarded as the greatest dumbocracy of all: It seems governance requires the services of 65,896 councillors, 8,112 mayors, 1,206 regional parliamentarians, 1,031 provincial deputies and 650 deputies and senators.
Add the Socialist Prime Minister; three deputy prime ministers plus 530 high-ranking state officers. This adds up to 77,429 professional politicians vacuuming salaries and perks from the tax-laden coffers of the hoi polloi.
ORWELL WAS RIGHT
Many years a hamster on the wheel releases the Spanish state pension of 757€ a month. A Spanish deputy or senator need serve only seven years to get their paws on their pension. George Orwell was right. ‘All are equal but some are more equal than others.’
Spanish ex-ministers collect 80 percent of their salary after 24-months service: that is about 5,400€ a month irrespective of other incomes. It sure beats robbing train and banks.
If you take a family holiday you pay for it. If Prime Minister, Jose Luis Zapatero takes a family holiday, you pay for it. When Sr. Zapatero is not actually ensconced but is pressing the flesh he is accompanied by an entourage of 100 political advisors and heavies. In wages this averages out at 8,000€ a day plus overheads and we are not talking sombreros.
No wonder they’re happy that El Caudillo is kicking up the cacti. It reminds me of the joke once doing the rounds in the old USSR. Premier Nikita Khrushchev was bursting with pride as he showed his mum around his state dacha overlooking the Black Sea panoramas. Her mind reeled as she took in the sumptuous furnishings; the extravagant cars; paintings that might be seen in the Louvre. “It is all so wonderful, Nikita,” she murmured: “But what will we do if the Communists come back?”
A BUSTED FLUSH
The Spanish economy isn’t doing too well but a good start on housekeeping might begin by sorting out their own parties’ accounts.
According to the Tribunal de Cuentas the sums owed by the combined parties represented in the Spanish Congress amount to 144.08 million euros. This is despite political parties receiving on average 184 million euros each year in grants. You can’t run a business if you are bankrupt but it seems running a country isn’t a problem.
This is probably not a good time to reveal that last year alone 60,000 tax-paying Spaniards lost their homes due to their being unable to meet their mortgage payments. One can only imagine their feelings on learning that of seventeen regional presidents fourteen of them chose German-made Audi cars to travel in.
The Mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon is often seen cruising in his Audi 08. It cost a tad over half a million euros. At least the Russian Zivs monopolised by Soviet placemen were made in the Soviet Union.
All in a day’s work one supposes, or is it? Daniel Montero has calculated that only 33 percent of the Spanish Congress’s 350 deputies devote all of their working lives to parliamentary duties. Most are moon lighting other jobs. Nice work if you can get it. The vote’s on you, taxpayer.
The book by David Montero, ‘La Casta. El increíble chollo de ser político en España’, is published by La Esfera de los Libros at 22