Is it any wonder Spain and the UK are in the state they’re in right now economically? Zapatero, in Spain, and Brown, in the UK – two socialist prime ministers in the middle of a recession – have been accused by their political colleagues of making it all up as they go along.
Zapatero in Spain was accused of hoofing it on December 15 in Libertad Digital, which cited the leaders of all of Spain’s political parties criticising the Spanish PM for ‘improvising‘ during a meeting of regional first ministers:
All parliamentary groups, and especially the Popular Party, have strongly criticised the government’s ‘improvisation’ during the failed meeting of regional first ministers. In Rajoy’s opinion, Zapatero must ‘stop throwing his teddy out of the cot’, ‘drop the nervous authoritarian tics’ and ‘start reading up on his responsibilities’.
And an opinion article in Periodista Digital on December 8 alluded to what many Spanish politicians had been saying for some time about Zapatero, or improvisation as a leadership theory:
This problem gets to the very heart of the Prime Minister’s personality: he doesn’t believe in teamwork, nor is he a fan of sharing his thoughts and arrangements for working out agreements.
His method, in the words of current and former colleagues is ‘radical’: he radiates instructions which must then be executed by ministers who, as Carlos Solchaga said, are treated as secretaries.
Only the leader is right and whoever disagrees offends him.
Doesn’t this sound familiar to British readers? Gordon Brown in the UK has been accused of exactly the same failings this week, in two separate attacks.
The Independent, writing about this week’s failed coup attempt in Downing Street, tells us that even Brown’s current senior ministers have no idea about what his plans are for the upcoming 2010 UK general election:
In their meeting at 4pm, Mr Straw and Ms Harman impressed on the Prime Minister that senior people with experience should be given more of a role in the election campaign. Ministers wanted to know that he had “a plan” for the election.
And news came in late last night via Twitter (@charonqc and @torybear) of a series of new articles in the Mail on Sunday about former Labour Party General Secretary Peter Watts’s views on his time working with Gordon Brown:
Mr Watts says Mr Alexander complained: ‘You’d imagine that after ten years of waiting, and ten years complaining about Tony, we would have some idea of what we are going to do but we don’t seem to have any policies.
Mr Watt paints a withering portrait of Mr Brown’s style of government. ‘Downing Street was a shambles. There was no vision, no strategy, no co-ordination.
‘It was completely dysfunctional. Gordon had been so desperate to become Prime Minister that we all assumed he knew what he was going to do when he got there.
‘I imagined there was some grand plan, tucked away in a drawer. But if any such document existed, nobody seemed to know about it. Gordon was simply making it up as he went along.’
So, that’s good to know then: according to their closest political colleagues, both Brown and Zapatero are control freaks who seem to have no idea of what’s going on or where they’re trying to take us all.