I have not written about this for some time but now is the time and this is something that really annoys me about living here in Spain, there are not many things but it’s only right to point them out. Next week I will be writing an article entitled 7 things that do my head in about Spain and then the week after an article entitled 10 things I love about living in Spain of course, because the good must always outweigh the bad if you want to stay in a place right?
Today’s rant is about one thing that totally irritates me though and as usual it involves the political class, the business elite and the rich and famous in Spain.
There is a long list of people in Spain who this refers to, Urdangarin, Conde, Camps, Aznar, Zapatero, Muñoz, Preysler, Iglesias, Aguirre, Roig, el Bigotes, the riot police caught on camera breaking the laws they are supposed to enforce, the head of the Spanish judiciary… Honestly we could write pages and pages just naming names. But let’s cut it short there for a bit and get to the point and if you want to know more just do a search for their names. (There is one exception who you can read about later)
The point is the lack of personal responsibility in Spain. It is never “my fault”. It is always someone else’s fault or “I haven’t done anything wrong”. Never have I heard anyone say “yeah, I messed up”.
Correct me if I am wrong but in other countries that isn’t the case right? I know there are some idiots like ex Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire police Norman Bettison and Jack Straw who will not admit any incompetence or lying but for every one of them there is someone who is either a whistleblower or says “yep you got me.”
I have three theories about why this should be so, the language, the education system and ingrained Catholicism
From a point of view of language, I have written before about the fact that you didn’t just drop the glass, the glass dropped itself. You didn’t break the window, it somehow managed to break itself, you didn’t knock it over, it fell and a long etcetera. This tendency to blame “the ether” for things people have done is repeated throughout day to day life in Spain.
From an education perspective the collective is always the safe place to be. You must never stick out, tall poppy syndrome to the extreme, so the collective is seen as a safe place. Therefore, white collar criminals, (doesn’t that make them sound cuddly and harmless) haven’t done anything that everyone else wasn’t doing and so therefore there was nothing wrong with it, even if it is against the law. Money laundering, hiding money in Switzerland (Boss of the Santander bank of all people), bribery and more is not frowned upon in the same way as murder or rape for example.
From a Catholicism point of view there are people who take it to heart that it is ok to screw someone as long as you confess at the weekend and recant on your deathbed. There is such a deep current of guilt embedded in the catholic upbringing and psyche here in Spain that I am sure a few more repressed guilt feelings aren’t going to make that much difference.
A good example is of course that the property speculators and developers never did anything wrong. Although the litany of court cases against Mayors and politicians for accepting bribes would suggest otherwise as somebody, somewhere was bribing them to give planning permission on illegal building land. Surely we cannot put two and who together and even suggest that our whiter than white property developers were the culprits can we? (He said in his most sarcastic voice)
Nevertheless maybe there is a chink of light as last week, for the first time ever, someone resigned over something he had said. The 71 year old head of Spanish Expats abroad (a sinecure created for an ex politician if ever there was one) said at his inauguration speech on taking the job, and I quote:
“Laws and women are just there for one purpose, to violate them”
Even an ex PP politician, as he is, regular churchgoer and supposedly educated man, he must think this is beyond the pale. And funnily enough after word got out about the scandal he did the right thing, he resigned. However he still couldn’t bring himself to admit that it was his fault, his responsibility and that was the reason that he was resigning. He claimed family issues made him resign (Maybe all the women he knows were giving him an illegal kicking whilst simultaneously shoving something pointed up his nether regions).
All of those mentioned above and a whole lot more have one thing in common in their defence, none of them did anything wrong (They said). Even when their criminality, corruption, rule breaking, illegal payments, bribery, lying and a whole host of other things were brought into the public eye through what was previously a benign and complicit press, none of them said “Hands up, it’s a fair cop, you caught me out”. They all claim innocence and fight the battle in court even when their hands are redder than a clumsy painter of communist party flags during a fiesta in Bolshevik Russia.
There is one exception, the King. He apologized in front of the TV cameras and said he wouldn’t be doing it again. “Fair cop”.
Then again going around shooting elephants on safari with your mistress on an all expenses paid royal junket in the depths of the most chilling economic recession in the modern history of your country is probably not something that even a Spanish public figure could get away with is it?
What do you think?