There wasn’t much excitement about the European elections in Spain. A couple of vans with loudspeakers came round my district advertising the main parties, the PSOE (left) and the PP (right), but they caused far less interest than others announcing vegetables, wine by the litre and cheap trousers.
I went down to the local polling station at eight, when it was supposed to open. It was indeed open but the police informed me that no one could vote before nine. At nine I was leaving town with a party of friends from my mineral club. And so I spent most of election day en route for the tiny mountain village of Navajun, in the Rioja region.
I once saw two pensioners, one of them disabled, get into an undignified physical fight in a village bar over a general election. Local elections, too, can cause feelings to run high. Europe is a different matter. Politicians are widely perceived as corrupt in Spain. European MPs, in particular, are thought of as having nice little sinecures with their snouts well tucked into the trough.
The city I live in, Cartagena, is hi-tech. The local shipyard builds submarines. The museums are state of the art and there are many free wi-fi spots. Navajun’s only concession to modernity is electricity and a few TV sets. A tattered notice on the closed town hall showed that there had been a meeting about organising the polling station. It wouldn’t have been a big affair even if all eight inhabitants had turned up. They are vastly outnumbered by the cats and a flock of sheep that lives in the bottom storey of one of the old houses.
Spain swung to the right in this election but I’m not sure that it signifies much or is an indicator of how the next local and general elections will go. Whether you live in Navajun or Cartagena, local issues are a much greater concern than the European Parliament.