In his days of implacable opposition, Mariano Rajoy used to proclaim that when he became prime minister he would tell us the truth. This was seen as a precondition for inspiring confidence, and as the cornerstone of the new approach he would bring. This is why his failure to keep this promise, sweeping facts under the rug, denying the pressure he has been under, presenting the bailout as if it had no strings attached, and so many other lies, add up to the first and worst of his failures. And in his self-proclaimed role of fireman, all he seems able to do is find the fire escape and scuttle away down it, without showing his face to journalists.
Yet a politician who has lost face has no alternative but to step down. This axiom was once again confirmed after the bomb attack of March 11, 2004. Then it was seen that misfortune can bring people together, drawing the best out of them. It was seen, too, that when you try to deal with disaster by impudent, interested lying, people get angry and rebel. For this reason the general elections, three days later, overturned the predictions of opinion polls. To vote against the Popular Party was to give a lesson to the liars: Aznar and several of his ministers, who seemed to think they were in a situation propitious for manipulating the truth, and were perhaps unaware of the consequences.
No direct responsibility for that massacre could be attributed to the acting government, or to the PP. And the instinctive reaction of the public under such an impact is always to join ranks with the holders of power. This had earlier been proven on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Tower attacks occurred. Nobody in the United States questioned George W. Bush, though there might have been reasons for doing so. On the contrary, all Americans closed ranks, placing themselves at the disposition of the authorities. Catastrophe, by way of fear, leads to submission. The upsurge of popular ire is due not so much to massacre or the imposition of sacrifices, as to the feeling of injustice, to the failure to show a good example - and above all, to the intolerable perception of manifest lying.
As for our present government, it presents itself in Congress as a mere agent of necessity, with no margin of freedom to decide; defines itself as the mechanical executor of conditions imposed from without; admits its incapacity to come up with any alternative to relieve the suffering of the disadvantaged or to collect more money from the privileged (for whom it is benign and complacent). And besides, for no reason it sees fit to explain, it takes direct control of public television, to turn it into a propaganda service. In the face of this ugly self-portrait, one's first impulse is to clamor for the "men in black" to come to town, preferably Frenchmen with a program made-in-Hollande - if only to upstage these clowns, who have sold our national sovereignty without bothering to ask its owners or even explain to them, and who now appear incapable of stopping the spiral of degradation we are falling into.
Not even at this stage have we heard from the government the least admission of any mistake within its ranks. Not a single reproach to those who wear the same PP t-shirt, and have blown a colossal amount of money - Fabra, Camps, Rato, Blesa, El Bigotes, Barcenas, the regional politicos of Valencia and Murcia. The only one suspended from the party has been Juan Morano, senator for León, who dared to vote for the continuance of subsidies for the coal mines.
Meanwhile, our weakness emboldens those around us. The suggested auction of Treasury bonds draws noxious statements by Merkel and Draghi. We have lost our footing in Europe, and are discovering that no political system can survive without giving hope to the public.