Thursday, April 02, 2009

I KNOW DANIEL HANNAN is popular, and I loved what he did to Gordon Brown the other day, but it's nonsense to say that Spaniards never speak of the Civil War that ended 70 years ago. Not only it's always been a regular topic in conversations, with hundreds of books exploring the subject -- it's not just Hugh Thomas, no --, but it has actually increased since Zapatero is in power. To begin with, Spain's prime minister always insists that he felt the call for politics from his grandfather, who was killed by the Franco regime. He's been quoting all the time the farewell letter he wrote on the eve of his execution; he even did so in his inauguration speech, and says he always carries it in his wallet.

One thing is true, though: while everyone brags about their, and their family's, 'fight against the Franco regime', few discuss the fact that many present politicians and public figures are descendants of powerful elements in the dictatorship. And, unlike what could be expected, it's not just on the right. For example, Zapatero's other grandfather, his grandfather in law, or the grandfather of the deputy prime minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, several ministers, the Parliament's chairman, and so forth (to his credit, the latter has never hidden it). It's much like in post-war France, where suddenly many post-fact anti-Nazis appeared.