domingo, septiembre 19, 2004

"EL ZEN de Zapatero. El nuevo presidente del gobierno español dice que lidera haciendo lo que quiere el pueblo; le funcionará cuando las cosas se compliquen?"

Es el título y subtítulo del reportaje de la revista Time que estará mañana en los kioscos, pero hoy ya en la red.

El artículo es un tanto oscilante: en ciertos momentos el autor parece que se traga entre pan y pan lo del buen rollito; en otros da la impresión de que es escéptico, sobre todo en cuestiones de política exterior; y casi siempre deja traslucir que quizás no domine demasiado a fondo la muy particular vida política española. Por ejemplo, ¿cómo puede alguien que conozca el país escribir sin pestañear que "muchos creen que el PSOE intervendrá menos en la economía que el gobierno Aznar"?. Ciertamente, Aznar intervino, y demasiado, en la economía. Pero de ahí a creer que el gobierno Zapatero va a ser más liberal es simplemente no enterarse de nada y tomar a valor facial lo que le dicen, haciendo caso omiso no ya de experiencias anteriores (Felipe González no era precisamente Hayek) sino de cosas muy reveladoras como las recientes declaraciones sobre cómo tienen que ser los gestores de empresas públicas.

Hay muchas más cosas, pero se me ocurre un experimento a ver qué tal sale: ¿qué os parece hacer un fisking colectivo? La idea consistitía en abordar un punto concreto por comentario, para que no se líe demasiado la cosa, y apoyar siempre que sea posible cualquier contraargumentación por lo menos con un link. Si sale bien y tengo tiempo, igual traduzco el resultado y lo posteo en Barcepundit in English.

Así pues, preparados, listos... ¡ya!

ACTUALIZACIÓN. David Sharrock, el corresponsal del londinense The Times en Madrid, ve la situación de manera, digamos, algo distinta:
IT SEEMED like a good idea at the time, but suddenly José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s hasty promise to “save your shipyard jobs” made to an audience of Basque Socialists and trade unionists has landed the Spanish Prime Minister in his first crisis in office.

Throughout this week television news has brought pictures of burning cars and riot police firing rubber bullets at masked demonstrators armed with catapults.

The violence and industrial unrest has been fuelled by bitter talk of “treachery” after the Socialist Prime Minister went back on his word within days by saying that he supported a privatisation plan for the troubled state-owned Izar shipbuilding group.

It will inevitably involve closures and thousands of redundancies, given recent losses of more than €1 billion (£700 million).

Such images do not square with the buen talante — the “good mood” — that has been Señor Zapatero’s trademark in the six months since he won a surprise general election victory, three days after Islamist terrorists blew up 191 commuters in Madrid’s morning rush hour.

His style runs entirely counter to the confrontational and, at times, plain bad-tempered persona favoured by his predecessor, José María Aznar.

Not for nothing has Señor Zapatero’s nickname of “Bambi”, with its insinuation of bright-eyed naivety, been replaced with a new one: the Quiet Man.

But with more confrontations in Seville yesterday and the promise of further strike action next week when the 10,800 Izar workers threaten to down tools across the country, it could be that the honeymoon which “ZP” — or “zeta pé” as the Prime Minister’s public relations gurus have crowned him — has enjoyed until now is officially over.

Even the harsh Iberian autumn seems to be a commentary on the progress of the 43-year-old Prime Minister who never stops smiling.

[...] According to senior figures in the PSOE, the Prime Minister’s Socialist party, only Señor Zapatero believed that he could win in March.

How much the terrorist attack influenced the result, which gave the Socialists a victory without a majority in Parliament, will remain an unanswered question. But Señor Aznar continues to believe that his People’s Party (PP), under its new leader, Mariano Rajoy, would have won a third term but for al-Qaeda’s intervention.

But what cannot be denied is that the new Prime Minister’s swift decision to withdraw the 1,300-strong contingent of Spanish troops from Iraq, in fulfilment of his campaign pledge, only hours after taking office was well received and propelled his party to victory in the May elections for the European Parliament, confirming a seven-point lead — albeit on a low turnout — over the conservatives. The gap between Government and Opposition remains steady at that figure in the polls.

Since then, Señor Zapatero’s image has been damaged by a succession of gaffes and mishaps that have been seized with glee by the Opposition.

[...] Señor Zapatero’s attempt to be all things to all people has left economists wringing their hands in despair as Cabinet ministers promise higher pensions, more government-sponsored housing for low-income families and increased industrial wages. A fraught round of bargaining is now in prospect before the budget, due in November, as Spain’s regional governments demand greater fiscal freedom.

“They felt safe playing Father Christmas while on the campaign trail,” Miguel Corral, a political commentator, said. “They were unprepared to take office and after their surprise victory felt obliged to be true to their word, to keep the voters happy, even though long term it will dent the Spanish economy.”

Last month Señor Zapatero explained to El País that he was a happy leader “because I have demystified power . . . Every night I say to my wife, ‘Sonsoles, you can’t imagine the hundreds of thousands of Spaniards who are capable of running a government!’ ”

But as the political honeymoon is consigned to the photo album and the happy days of never having to say no come to an end, the Quiet Man of Castille may soon have to learn some new lines.