I feel very fortunate in having made my home in Andalucía. I am aware that it is a region of great history and tradition but for me, as a foreign resident, it is essentially Spanish – a part of a wider Spain.
I know that Andalucía has a president and a parliament. I understand that the concept of the “modern Andalucía” did not arrive in the post-Franco years but before the Franco era with the “Padre de la Patria andaluza” –Blas Infante and did not die with him in 1936.
Spaniards have always identified themselves to me as of their village or town – jimenato, rodeño – or the wider Gaditano, Malagueño – but never as Andaluz other than as the language that some are proud to speak.
Blas Infante stated: “Mi nacionalismo, antes que andaluz, es humano. Creo que, por el nacimiento, la naturaleza señala a los soldados de la Vida el lugar en donde han de luchar por ella. Yo quiero trabajar por la Causa del espíritu en Andalucía porque en ella nací. Si en otra parte me encontrare, me esforzaría por esta Causa con igual fervor.”
Being part-Irish I understand the concept of nationhood very well. ‘A Nation Once Again’ is a favourite Republican anthem but I am unsure whether Andalucía is a nation or a state – of mind.
Politically the majority people of Andalucía vote for the PP, PSOE and IU – national parties, parties without any specific feeling of what it is to be of Andalucía.
Which brings me to the Partido Andalucista.
I have supported the PA in Jimena over the years because it was the one voice in opposition to the previous PSOE administrations at the town hall. Now it is arguable that although it has no elected councillors the IU is the more vociferous counter balance.
Whilst in Jimena the PA may have been the answer in neighbouring Gaucín it has been the problem. With the conviction in the courts of the corrupt PA mayor Francisco Corbacho, with other members of the party under a cloud, it now remains to be seen whether there will be a change for the better. Don’t hold your breath on that one.
In Ronda, where in 1918 was celebrated the first regional Andaluz assembly, a PA mayor is in power. Antonio Marín presides over a divided party, has previous talked of abandoning the PA for the PP and now says he would like to join PSOE – who apparently have an ideology very similar to his own party.
However the real test for a party that is of Andalucía has to be how many MPs it has in the Andalucía Parliament. Since the last election the PA has had none, zero, zilch - which must be as a resounding death knell as has ever been tolled. If the people of Andalucía will not support the Partido Andalucista – what is the point of the Partido Andalucista?
The last regional elections saw the Partido Andalucista abandon its independence to stand in a coalition with the PSA of Pedro Pacheco. Even though Pacheco had been a past candidate for the PA for the presidency of Andalucía he along with his PSA and the PA were roundly rejected by the voters of the region. This marked a dark day for Pacheco who had also previously lost his post as the PSA mayor of Jerez to PSOE’s Pilar Sánchez Muñoz.
So what now for the Partido Andalucista?
Marín, who had stood for the Andalucía Parliament for the PA talks of fleeing to the PP, PSOE – in fact any party that will have him - and keep him in power in Ronda.
Pacheco has withdrawn from politics but rumours have spread that he intends to form yet another party to try and win back Jerez – whilst he pledges that his loyalty to the PSA remains intact but makes no mention of the PA.
The doctors of the PA have huddled round and talked a lot but this body politic still appears to be dead, at least to me.
If Andalucía is to have a party – un Partido Andalucista – then it needs to be of the people of Andalucía. It has to encapsulate their dreams and ambitions, it has to confront their fears, it has to capture their hearts and their minds, it has to be their voice, their soul.
Tragically the Partido Andalucista has failed miserably in the task and perhaps should now be laid to rest.