[This article was first published in the Edinburgh Evening News newspaper on the 30th of April 2019]
Over in Spain there was some mixed electoral developments. The Socialist Workers Party won 123 seats but fell short of securing an overall majority.
What is concerning is the 24 seats gained by the far-right Vox party, the first far-right grouping to win more than a single seat in congress since the death of Dictator General Franco in 1975.
While the result is not the political earthquake Vox were hoping for, it is still a worrying development. Something we are seeing spread across Europe.
Vox promised to “make Spain great again” – a reworking of President Trumps slogan, and talks tough on Islam and immigration, similar to France’s Le Pen. The Vox Party leader, Santiago Abascal, says he wants “a reconquest of Spain” referencing the Moorish control of Spain, which ended in 1492. Someone should really let him know that.
The populist and nationalist Vox Party was helped by the recent push for Catalan independence, when many believed Spain’s traditional parties did not handle the situation well. The separatist movement in Catalan has opened up another political fissure in Spain, one that far-right groups are only to happy to exploit.
We are not in a position to judge these divisions too harshly as we are engulfed in our own with Brexit and the prospect of another Scottish Independence vote. What is important is that all politicians act responsibly, refrain from indulging in dog whistle politics and reject wholeheartedly, the type of views peddled by parties like Vox.