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opinion
Text in which the author defends ideas and reaches conclusions based on his / her interpretation of facts and data

The crisis as a pretext

The worst thing about the economic situation that our country is going through is that it serves to subjugate the Spanish people

In his diaries, Victor Klemperer holds that the worst thing about the persecution of the Jews perpetrated by the Nazis was that it served as a pretext for subjugating the German people. In much the same sense it may be said that the worst thing about the economic crisis that our country is now going through is that it serves as a pretext for subjugating the Spanish people.

It is certainly impossible to establish a causal link between the difficulties of the crisis and the first decision made by Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party government - that of taking over direct control of the public radio and television system, thus cutting short the nascent attempt, undertaken by his predecessor José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to liberate RTVE from its chronic condition as a domestic servant to the government of the moment.

It is also hard to see what contribution toward solving the crisis might be represented in the bill for the Citizen Safety Law, which will give the employees of private security firms many of the current powers of public order officers, and sets heavy fines for such acts as photographing riot police batoning demonstrators.

There is no crisis-related aspect apparent in the bill setting new conditions for the voluntary termination of pregnancy

Nor is any crisis-related aspect apparent in the bill setting new conditions for the voluntary termination of pregnancy, a remarkably regressive piece of legislation that goes so far as to set limitations to the abortion of fetuses with serious deformations. The Cabinet member who is promoting this bill, Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, has carried the dishonest twisting of language to a new extreme in remarking that the left is refusing to participate in a debate on abortion - when it was the PP's vote in Congress that prevented Gallardón's appearance before the house. This appearance had been unanimously demanded by all of the opposition parties.

The minister's calumny went even further, when he claimed that his bill represents the doctrine of the Constitutional Court. In fact the bill has been launched without even waiting for the Constitutional Court to rule on the appeal that the PP filed against the existing law, which was passed in 2010 by the previous Socialist government under Zapatero.

The height of cynicism, however, has to be the memorandum issued by the ministry, according to which the new abortion law will be "good for the economy." We are also beginning to notice how Rajoy's gray hairs are turning into unwieldy offensive weapons, and how all the demagogic attitudes he used in winning the elections are now turning into obstacles that prevent him from governing smoothly. Such is the case, for example, with his obsequious flattery and cultivation of certain groups on the rabid right, notably the victims of terrorism associations, who were systematically cheered and egged on as a battering ram against the Socialists, or his collusion with the Episcopal Conference and the news media at its service.

Meanwhile, as if this were a surprise to anyone, the new poor are surfacing here and there. But, as Enrique Tierno Galván - a veteran figure of the Spanish left, republican combatant in the Civil War and, after Franco's death, mayor of Madrid in the 1980s, when he was known as "the old professor" - once put it, this ought to be accepted as a perfectly predictable case of "reality as a result" of certain policies.

In any case we ought to remember, with Klemperer, that the whole expression of an epoch lies in its language, and that lies appear most transparently in the style of the language in which they are conveyed.

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