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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Crisis Over, President Sánchez to Remain
Monday, April 29, 2024 @ 7:22 PM

At Business over Tapas, the subject of fake-news, media manipulation, lawfare and assorted bulos is often raised. The perpetrators are always the same. The target is always the same. Only the methods vary.

They can’t attack the Government on the economy – it’s the second highest growth in the Western world – so they must attack with invention, insults and calumny. Knife in the back stuff.

José María Aznar said in November last year in reaction to the new government: ‘"What can be done? Well, he who can speak, let him speak. He who can do, let him do. He who can contribute, let him contribute. He who can move, let him move. He who can try..." Just like that Aznar spoke directly and without a shadow of shame just after declaring Sánchez "a danger to Spanish democracy", with Feijóo sitting just next to him’.

One wonders what they want. Could they maybe do better and make Spain the strongest economy in the world? The last PP president Mariano Rajoy certainly couldn’t.

So we come to Pedro Sánchez and his bombshell last Wednesday evening: Sick of the attacks against him – and more importantly, against his wife, he threatened to quit come Monday.

Monday rolling around after a nail-biting five-day wait, with large demos calling on Pedro to stay, the president announced that he would follow the wishes of the electorate (well, slightly over half of it anyway), and stay on.

The straw that almost broke the donkey’s back had been the unfounded attack on his wife by Manos Limpias, a far-right organisation remembered without pleasure as being the creators of the fake PISA scandal (Pablo Iglesias and his supposed fortune in a Venezuelan bank).

Over the weekend, the PSOE allies in the Government had come out to back Pedro Sánchez, with the general coordinator of EH Bildu, Arnaldo Otegi, denouncing the “permanent lawfare” within the Spanish judicial system and the attempt to turn Pedro Sánchez into “little less than a criminal and a traitor who makes agreements with people of all kinds”.

The drama also coincided with the first few days of the Catalonian political campaign, leaving that important subject to an inner page.

There are a lot of dodgy journalists, scriveners and hacks, plus any number of bloggers and youtubers who will invent fake news, post inflammatory opinion or who simply write what they are told to. For example, the Tweet seen by 110,000 (Saturday) from one Alberto Caliu: ‘Pedro Sánchez should be arrested along with his wife and all of his government and partners and imprisoned, preferably without a trial’.

We remember how hostile invention got the better of both President Lula in Brazil, and President Silva in Portugal. In France, Macron is suing some ‘conservative commentator’ who claims that his wife is really a man. We certainly have seen the effect of these scurrilous attacks from the right and far-right in Spain with a number of honest politicians forced to resign through judiciously inserted false and misleading news.

Or are the Russians ultimately behind all of this deception?

At the same time, most reporters are honourable and working to find the news where and how it may come out; and several hundreds of them, plus many others, signed a letter on Friday calling for the end of ‘The Mud Machine’. Meanwhile, without backing down, Manos Limpias admitted on Friday that their complaint against Begoña Gómez ‘may be based on false information’.

The Corner, a conservative Spanish web-site, says ‘The PSOE denies the evidence and backs Pedro Sánchez, who, surrounded by corruption, speaks of “harassment” and lashes out against the right, the ultra-right, the judges, the press…’

And of course we believe what we want to believe, without allowing facts or common sense to get in the way.

In the days to come, the upset over this past weekend will be measured against its impact on both the Catalonian and the European elections – both by proper journalists and observers and also, inevitably, by the fantasists and the flat-earthers. 

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