There was an interesting programme on Spanish TV on Monday night. Three journalists, from leading newspapers in France, Germany and the United States, were discussing the current political climate in Spain.
All three of them pointed out one aspect which particularly surprised them. After years of austerity and cuts in social spending, to date no right wing xenophobic party has emerged (unlike in France, Greece, UK…).
That this should catch their attention shows how little they understand the Spanish electorate.
The party in power, Partido Poular, is right wing enough for most Spaniards, nostalgic as it is for other, now discredited regimes. It embraces not only the moderate right, but also the far right, those who would happily bring back authoritarianism and recreate a centralised, Catholic nation. So there is no need for another, extreme right wing party, as the poor response to Vox has so clearly underlined.
But more than that, the fact that Spanish politicians have under achieved does not mean that the Spanish electorate is undemocratic or tired of the format. The famous Transition was left unfinished, that is undeniable now. Perhaps the politicians believed that with left wing/right wing rotation real democracy would be achieved. Unfortunately they now realise it takes a lot more than that. Eradicating corruption is only possible with stricter control, and that means breaking down the oligarchies and corporate interests that riddle the Spanish state.
The irruption of alternative parties such as Podemos or Cuidadnos proves that the voter is mature, unafraid to do away with bipartisanship if necessary and embrace alternative politics.
There is a desire to have a modern, truly democratic state, honest and efficient. Because democracy is not about political leanings, but about how a government can best serve its people.
It would be simpler to blame immigrants for the current situation, but it would not ring true. The problem with Spain lies in its political leaders. So they will be changed.