Friday, October 17, 2008


It has not been a good week for opposition Partido Popular leader Mariano Rajoy. He has been embarrassed twice, both times at the hands of the media.

In the first instance last Saturday he told a party colleague that on Sunday he had to go to a “damn parade” not realising that the microphone was open. The “damn parade” was the annual national celebration for Spain’s military on October 12 where the hapless Rajoy would have to stand alongside both the king and prime minister in Madrid.

It was even more embarrassing for him as a year earlier, as the election season neared, he urged his countrymen to fly the flag with pride on that special day. Damn parade! Damn microphones!

Now the embattled party leader has been called a clown on the channel La Sexta’s news. The station has apologized saying it was a technical and human fault and not an attempt to humiliate Rajoy.

The unfortunate incident happened during the showing of a clip concerning racism amongst soccer supporters at Atlético Madrid who have been disciplined by UEFA. The voice over referred to trouble breaking out as a banner showing the Nazi symbol of a skull was removed. At the moment the commentator said “la imagen de un payaso” – “the image of a clown” Mariano Rajoy appeared.

It appears that the clip of Rajoy entering the State parliament was started early by a technician and hence coincided with the offending “clown” phrase.

La Sexta says it was just bad luck that Rajoy appeared at that moment.

The PP’s vice secretary of communication and spokesperson, Estaban González Pons, called on La Sexta to be held to account for “a serious error”.

The fact is that few people would have seen La Sexta’s gaffe. Now thanks to the PP’s outrage everybody knows about it, including you.

No word to date from Rajoy. He probably doesn’t dare speak in case a microphone picks up his angry words but he may well have sobbed in private – the tears of a clown.

(See Tuesday’s blog – “It’s Not What You Say, It’s What The Microphone Picks Up”)

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