Anorak News | Pain In Spain

Pain In Spain

by | 15th, March 2004

‘THE victory of a left-wing party in yesterday’s Spanish election would normally be greeted with joy in the British Labour party.

Spain needs time to heal

But one doubts that Tony Blair was celebrating last night as the anti-war Socialists regained power in what the Times calls “a dramatic reversal of fortune triggered by the bombings last Thursday”.

For one, the outgoing Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, is a close personal friend of Blair; for another, he was one of the prime supporters of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Finally, the Socialists were elected on a promise to withdraw Spain’s 1,500 troops from Iraq – a move that will undermine the coalition and surely make other countries that have contributed troops yet more vulnerable to terrorist attack.

The Telegraph takes up this last point, saying that the election will be remembered as heralding the rise of “euro isolationism”.

“Large numbers of Spanish voters,” it says, “succumbed to the delusion that if Mr Aznar had not lent support to the Anglo-American coalition, then their homeland would be safer.

“The fact that many Islamists believe in reversing the reconquista of the Iberian peninsula appears to have made little difference.

“The desire not to take our enemies at face value, in word and deed, is the hallmark of much of contemporary Europe.”

Even the anti-war Guardian has doubts about the resolution Spain’s new PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will bring to the cause of fighting terrorism.

In a recent interview, he was asked what he would do if he was confronted by the leader of Basque terrorist group Eta, still a prime suspect in Thursday’s bombings, in the street.

“I would not look him in the face,” responded Snr Zapatero.

One rather doubts whether such a response will succeed in deterring the madmen of al Qaeda, whose statement (if genuine) claiming responsibility for the bombings read: “You love life and we love death.”

One might disagree with the actions of President Bush and Tony Blair, but surely we cannot disagree with what they say.

Hoping something isn’t so is not going to make it not so. Or, as Barbara Amiel says in today’s Telegraph, “Let us pray by all means – and then pass the ammunition”.’

Posted: 15th, March 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink