What a photo - the one of the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, flanked by a cohort of the Galician Popular Party (PP), from the premier down to the local mayor, and by the public works minister, Ana Pastor, on a summer walk in the woods, crossing a little bridge over a brook, in the August vacations. It resembled one of those Chinese Socialist Realist tableaux where the great helmsman, Mao, is seen walking a step ahead of the others.
What docility - that of our fellow journalists behind the cameras, summoned for what is called a silent photo. A silence that spreads to the national headquarters of the PP in Madrid, where the other day no member of the party leadership was ready to speak to the press. The more these people preach transparency, the more opacity they practice.
What an inauguration of the political season - an event on Saturday August 31, at the feet of the castle of Soutomaior at Pontevedra in Galicia, where the prime minister said the Gürtel-Bárcenas-illegal financing scandal would not distract him in the least from attending to the problems of economic recovery and creating employment. But such proclamations of wishful thinking never stand up to the test of reality. At the castle we again heard the inevitable cry voiced by all politicians who are facing charges in court. They all tell their voters how they are going to hang on to their posts, to honor the confidence the public invested in them, and that the vicissitudes of the corruption case are in no way going to prejudice their attention to public duty.
In other countries there is parliamentary debate on the Syrian regime's breaking of the UN convention
What a sad doom - that of Rajoy, who can be in Madrid, St Petersburg, Buenos Aires, Brussels, New York, Astana (the capital of Kazakhstan), or anywhere else in the wide world, and a journalist, Spanish, Russian, Kazakh or Chinese, will always come along, appearing on the internet in Spain, interested in knowing the latest dirt on Bárcenas. A scandal he can never keep at arm's length, as long as he refuses to give the explanations demanded by the parliament and the press.
What a brushoff - the one at the G20 summit in St Petersburg, with the photo of Jorge Moragas, Mariano Rajoy and Barack Obama, caught walking in proximity along a corridor, which the prime minister's office has tried to present in the light of a cordial encounter with the American president. To the American administration's least hint we respond in our most obsequious style of servility, without receiving, after almost two years, a single seated photo of the usual type - a mark of favor that so many have received, without giving the White House any free offering on the scale of the extended air base in Rota. We know that our last prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, suffered Washington ostracism for the offense of remaining seated while the stars and stripes went by at a parade, together with the banners of the other allies in the invasion of Iraq. But poor Rajoy, who has never thus slighted Old Glory, is still not on the White House invitation list.
What humiliation for the Spanish media - to languish starved of news as to our government's line on the question of Syria and the looming military sanction for the use of chemical weapons. An enigma deciphered only by a White House communiqué that listed our country among those backing Washington. In other countries there is parliamentary debate on the Syrian regime's breaking of the UN convention and on what punishment it ought to receive, and on how, when and from whom. Here, for our consumption, we get a ministerial appearance before a committee, on a priority foreign-policy issue: Gibraltar.
But Rajoy knows that the PP majority in parliament renders such window-dressing irrelevant. Keeping it that way is the only priority on his agenda.