I say tomato, you say bail outo. Why Rajoy refuses the word Bail Out
“To avoid some things from leaking, I don’t even let them cross my mind,” Mariano Rajoy tells his closest aides from time to time. This phrase captures the essence of a man who lives by the political principle of “wait and see” – a man who likes to let things sort themselves out.
Rajoy’s great problem is that he is no longer leader of the opposition — that is to say, someone who can make any speech he likes, or none at all, with hardly any consequences. Since December 21, 2011 Rajoy has been Spain’s prime minister, and his audience is global. He is no longer just talking to his constituency – now, Barack Obama is listening.
Ever since Rodrigo Rato’s “resignation” as chief of Bankia, the recently nationalized bank, the government has been accumulating political errors and communication mistakes, all of which have undermined Rajoy’s image as a capable, efficient leader.
The latest one — refusing to call the bank bailout a bailout — has caused endless hilarity and mockery in the foreign media.
But the real bad news has nothing to do with the war of synonyms. The worst part is the belief that the 100 billion euros to rescue part of the Spanish banking sector will not be enough; that toxic assets, that is to say, the credit that is trapped in the property bust, may require even more money, and even a bailout of the entire country, mirroring events in Greece, Ireland and Portugal. This is the thesis supported by the Financial Times, a bible of global capitalism.
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