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The Spanish government seems to think that people who are suffering hardship are lazy or just plain dumb

The actions of the present PP government are such a caricature, that I wonder if they spend their time watching the classic film It's a Wonderful Life. Not to emulate the good characters — James Stewart, Gary Cooper — but the bad ones in this ingenuous but still oddly moving film, a regular in Christmas programming, which I always lap up whenever it comes on. Profound truth is enclosed in its fantasy plot about an angel who comes to Bedford Falls, the small town where James Stewart lives, and shows him what would have happened if he had never been born, as he contemplates suicide after his archenemy Henry Potter — played by Lionel Barrymore — has driven him to bankruptcy and the shadow of prison. Potter, a bitter, ruthless old man in a wheelchair, lives for his greed and his speculations, indifferent to the hardships they cause.

Why do voters, who in the fiction follow James Stewart to the last man, in fact support the villain Henry Potter?

Well, the present government of Mariano Rajoy is busy dumping so many evils on us that we have lost count. In the film, Henry Potter is a caricature villain, but so are they. Their line is that people who are suffering hardship have been asking for it or are lazy or just dumb. Evicted from your home? You should never have signed the mortgage (after decades of prohibitive rents, and the hard selling of mortgages by the banks). Lost your job, have no income? You must have done something wrong to lose it. Cutbacks in healthcare, education, culture, research, science? Well, the last three are dispensable, and as for the first two, you can pay them from your pocket (as if your taxes hadn't already paid for schools and hospitals, that are now being privatized). Semi-literate old peasants have been swindled out of their savings with preferred shares? They should have read the small print, and not trusted their village bank managers. People are going to have to go to property registrars (a small professional guild, already bloated with money), instead of to the public Civil Registry, and pay them more money for a variety of obligatory bureaucratic proceedings? They should grin and bear it as we have to fatten the guild Rajoy belongs to since perhaps he may go back to working as a registrar one day. The landscape and the coastline have been degraded with sprawl development, and the real estate bubble fomented by Aznar is the chief reason why the crisis is hitting Spain harder than other countries? Well, there's still some good land to be spoiled, so we're going to allow the local authorities to leave only 20 meters, instead of the previous 100, of beach front protected from aggressive construction. As for the coastal buildings condemned to demolition, we are going to afford these invasive and illegal structures a reprieve of 75 years. People aren't satisfied with judicial rulings that seem unjust to them? Let's jack up court filing fees, so only the rich can seeks recourse in the law. Everything is being hit with taxes, except the Church? Sorry, the Church deserves privileged treatment; since it is being persecuted and hounded by a pack of reds, it should at least go on being tax-exempt.

In It's a Wonderful Life, Bedford Falls would have ended up being called Pottersville if James Stewart had not been born. It would be a town of usury and gambling (like Sheldon Adelson's Eurovegas, I suppose), of misfortune and a lack of solidarity, with no welfare net, in the hands of a racketeer; abounding in derelicts, drunks, hoodlums and speculators. In which, needless to say, everything would be private, or rather a monopoly, and individuals only numbers, with few rights and endless obligations and debts. This government, beyond doubt, has Pottersville as its model; all its ministers have a look of Barrymore about them. What I fail to understand is why the voters, who in the fiction would follow James Stewart to the last man, in fact have voted for the villain Henry Potter, and keep him in power giving orders and dictating laws.

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