Rotten apples of all colours

February 27, 2009

rotten apple

I’m not sure why my friend Prospero at JimenaPulse posted an item about corruption in the Axarquía region of Málaga, given that his blog is about the Campo de Gibraltar. The only connection I can think of is that similar charges are rife all over the area in which I live, too. Indeed, my other blogging friend, Sancho at Tilting at Windmills, has written extensively on the subject as well.

In any case, it is a fact that corruption charges are at the height of fashion right now. On the national scene, there is an ongoing scandal that has the Partido Popular (PP) and the PSOE (Socialists) flinging accusations at each other all over the media. The PP is under investigation by former PSOE minister Judge Baltasar Garzón, about which I wrote at length in the previous item. On a more local scale, there are several cases in various courts involving not only these two parties, but also the Partido Andalucista (PA); Ronda, Gaucín, Jimena, La Línea, Los Barrios and Algeciras are merely those that come immediately to mind.

Perhaps the re-resurgence of these cases has to do with the present global financial crisis. Or with the habit of all political parties of pointing fingers at each other as a way to avoid dealing with what really concerns the voters: unemployment (Spain has the highest in the EU at 14.8%), immigration (boatfulls of sub-Saharan refugees, many dead, keep turning up in the Canary Islands), etc. etc.

The trouble is that corruption affects each and every one of us, unlike those issues above that tend to be more selective. Corruption is present, in larger or smaller measure, in all aspects of our lives, in all countries and throughout history. Like prostitution, it is one of those things we tend to ignore until it touches us personally, as it were. But corruption is also a form of prostitution: in one of its definitions, the Oxford English dictionary says that a prostitute is “a person who debases himself or herself for personal gain.”

Prostitution in Spain is illegal but ignored to a large extent (Prospero posted an item that said that the sex industry has lost 20,000 direct or indirect jobs thanks to the crisis). Not so corruption, lately anyway. But then, smokescreens are useful political tools and there are rotten apples in every barrel. Somehow, I would almost say that prostitution is ‘cleaner’.

(c) Alexander Bewick 2009


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