ON June 2, I posted on my Facebook page the following message: ‘Yay! Spain’s handsome new PM is a Socialist and an atheist!’
Jesús Carmelo Padrón Gordillo, a Facebook friend who lives in Gran Canaria, responded by saying: ‘Handsome? He is so stupid!!!’
Gordillo, when asked to explain just why he thought Pedro Sánchez was stupid, never responded, so I began trawling the Internet to see what evidence, if any, there was to suggest that Spain’s Prime Minister might be in the same league as established imbeciles in Western politics, such as Donald Trump, his VP Mike Pence and hard-line Brexiteers like Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Nothing came to light.
Indeed, everything I’ve read about Sánchez suggests that he is a man who stands a very good chance of propelling Spain into a new era of economic growth and social stability, despite the fact he is leading a minority Socialist government.
Sánchez immediately won me over when he exercised his right to be inaugurated without a Bible and a crucifix.
He was the first Spanish Prime Minister to do so. He has made it abundantly clear in the past that he believes that religion belongs in churches and not in schools.
That’s certainly not a sign of stupidity. He then delivered on a promise to pick a socialist, feminist and pro-European cabinet.
Spain now has a centre-left administration with a record number of women. With 11 women and six men, Sánchez’s cabinet is 65 per cent female.
He also made it clear that he is absolutely committed to the EU. Polico magazine quoted him as saying: “This is a decisively pro-European government. Europe is our new homeland.”
Add to that the fact that he has voiced his determination to introduce new environmental protection policies and has promised to help pensioners, the unemployed and those with insecure jobs.
He also vowed to fight child poverty. What raised my spirits too was the calibre of the people Sánchez has chosen for his team.
The new government features a number of high-profile technocratic appointments such as astronaut Pedro Duque, who will be Spain’s new Science Minister.
Duque is a vocal supporter of science. “If we keep failing to invest in our future, this country will sink forever,” he said in 2013, during protests against cuts to science effected by the government of Mariano Rajoy.
The new minister is also an outspoken critic of pseudoscience, homeopathy in particular, which he described as “candy”.
He insists: “It doesn’t work. It doesn’t do anything.” There’s good news too for Spain’s gay communities.
The new Interior Minister is Fernando Grande-Marlaska, an openly gay former judge at Spain’s top-level National Court.
Each year the daily newspaper El Mundo reveals the top 50 most influential Spanish homosexuals. In 2016 Grande-Marlaska headed that list.
In 2010 he made public his homosexuality and encourages all gay individuals ‘to help others.’
All the new ministers broke with tradition by taking their oaths on the constitution rather than the Bible, following Sánchez’s example.
On the day Sánchez took over from Mariano Rajoy, he received a congratulatory call from the UK’s utterly inept Prime Minister Theresa May, who could give masterclasses on how NOT to govern a country.
When her fool of a Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson recently referred to the EU as ‘the enemy’ and said he believes that Trump would make a better job of handling Brexit, she should have instantly sacked him.
But May is utterly incapable of imposing discipline and just stands around wearing a frightened bunny face as her team members fight one another like cats in a sack over the catastrophe that’s Brexit.
While Sánchez has chosen ministers who are all experts in their respective fields, Tory top guns are mainly mega-wealthy self-serving toffs who aren’t even qualified to push a shopping trolley.
Oh, they wouldn’t, even if they could. They’re far too posh to push anything other than policies guaranteed to make themselves richer and everyone else a damn side poorer.