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Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Some 25 years ago I knew a man who was a Conservative councillor. The slight problem was he was a socialist and probably still is. He knew that in the area in which he lived a Labour candidate would never be elected so he joined the Tories, became local branch chairman, then a District councillor and then a County Councillor.

As he may still hold that post I will say no more as I do not want to embarrass him. In truth I have to say that the people he represented have not done badly by him. He lives in the heart of his ward, has defended their interests and has only abandoned them to tow the party line when it was wise to do so.

All this came to mind because the mayor of the inland Málaga town of Ronda is a member of the Partido Andalucista. I was going to say he was a leading light in the party but as it was decimated at last year’s local and regional government elections that might be overstating his role.

Now the Partido Andalucista, as its name suggests, is dedicated to promoting the interests of the people of Andalucía. Hence when those same people totally reject the PA at the polls leaving it with no MPs in the Andalucía parliament then the game is up.

Recently the party elected a new leader and is thinking deeply about its future. The mayor of Ronda, Antonio Marín Lara, has another solution. He has suggested that he, along with some of his PA councillors, might quit the party, become a ‘mixed group’ on the council, before joining with the socialists of PSOE.

Now it so happens that Marín has recently formed a coalition in Ronda between his party and PSOE, so they jointly govern with the socialists holding some of the top posts. That came about after he surprised one and all, and especially the councillors of the centre-right Partido Popular, by breaking his coalition with them. They had been in coalition with Marín both before the local elections and after - they also had held some of the key positions.

Before those elections Marín had suggested that perhaps he and his councillors might quit the PA and join the Partido Popular. However the prospect was not warmly welcomed by the PP. As it happens the PA are probably more ideologically aligned with PSOE rather than the PP, a party that is a staunch defender of a centralised Spain.

Of course coalitions are formed so that a party can keep power and other smaller parties can attain power, which they’d never achieve in their own right. In politics power is everything. Politicians will jump in to bed with some unlikely partners to achieve it or retain it. They will explain this by saying they are acting in the interests of the local electors. Of course, they are acting solely in their own interest. They know that, we know that, but being politicians – they wouldn’t dare say it.

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