The reconquest of Spain

Natalie Solent has just the right take on yesterday’s elections in Spain:
“Believe me, I don’t like saying this. I don’t like doing this. Once the line that ‘A vote for party X is a vote for the terrorists’ gets into the political process it makes things much more vituperative. It breaks down the mutual assumption of good intentions that keeps peaceful discourse peaceful. It also puts people who want to vote for party X on the grounds of economic policy or some other respectable reason in an extremely difficult position. Yet helping to put that line into the political process is exactly what I am doing (within my tiny sphere) as I write this post.
“Why am I doing it then? Because, unfortunately, my dislike of the message does not change its truth: Al-Qaeda are happy today. Terrorism worked. Clearly, obviously, educationally, it worked. The Spanish electorate let it work on them. My everlasting sympathy for the victims of the mass murder does not change that truth. My sympathy for the people who may have wanted to vote against the Popular Party for all sorts of decent reasons does not change that truth.
“How many times in history has the same pattern repeated itself? While the enemy mass at the borders the small countries cower and dodge. In public they talk of alliances, of standing together, but in at the same time each nation tries to hint to Khan or Sultan that, as your Highness surely knows, we are not the leaders… we are just small fry… perhaps we can work together… you don’t want to go for us…
“Pained but relieved each little nation watches as the next blow of the enemy falls not on them but on their neighbour. Until their turn comes. It’s the same story now, except that the notion of borders has become irrelevant.
“Keep safe, as they are fond of saying on the TV. Keep safe now! A good way of doing that might be to stay off the trains in the week before your country’s next election.”

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