Thoughts on Partido Popular

23rd May 2007, Comments 0 comments

I had a vision last week of Mr. Mariano Rajoy scurrying around the supermarket and scribbling down the prices of a kilo of merluza, a bag of potatoes and a loaf of bread.

I had a vision last week of Mr. Mariano Rajoy scurrying around the supermarket and scribbling down the prices of a kilo of merluza, a bag of potatoes and a loaf of bread.

Of him tearing straight out to Bar Manolo to check on what you have to pay for a ración of tortilla and a caña of beer, then waiting patiently at the stop and fiddling with the coins in his wallet to pay the driver of the No 27 bus.

For those of you who are not residents and wondering who Mr. MR is, he happens to be the leader of the Opposition in Parliament, a group known as the Partido Popular.

They’re the ones often referred to simply as the PP – the ‘Pay Pay’ as it’s pronounced in Spanish or, if you insist on saying it the British way, the ‘Pee Pee’.

In reality, Mr. MR and his Pee Pee pals are not so popular as their name would suggest. He can regularly be seen gazing jealously at the man who did him out of the job of prime minister three years ago - Mr. José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero, henceforth known as El Zap.

Now I may be underrating Mr. MR here, but I’ve never regarded him as the personification of modern, egalitarian European man, one who’s as au fait with getting in the groceries as he is washing the dishes.

But to be a politician you need to have that Boy Scout instinct – and Mr. MR made sure last week he was prepared. That he wasn’t going to slip on the same banana skin as El Zap had done on the same TV programme a couple of weeks earlier.  

It wasn’t exactly a tricky question that the PM had to answer. But he blew it.

Beaming back at the man who asked if he knew the price of a cup of coffee – doesn’t El Zap remind you so much of Mr Bean at times? – the PM told him: 70 cents.  Something to the effect of  “That was in the days of my Great Uncle Paco” came the reply.  

I doubt the Pee Pee leader would agree, but sometimes there is an advantage in coming second.

As for the much self-lauded format of  TVE’s ‘I have a question’ ,  I was left feeling that an interview with a dead cat would have been about as exciting.

However, a recently arrived French friend became an instant fan on the strength of the PM’s performance.  “That’s the first time I’ve been able to follow a conversation nearly all the way through,” she said.

 So now you know where to go for a free Spanish lesson.

Humphrey Blogart

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Subject: Spanish news

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