Spain

Vox

While the Spanish PSOE Socialists won the most seats in the third general election held in four years, it was the anti-immigration VOX Party which had the biggest percentage gain from 0 seats to 24, (0.2% to 10.3%) of the vote. 2.67mn Spaniards voted for them.

Vox recently won 12 seats in the Andalusian parliament in December 2018, making it the first time a far-right party gained regional representation since Franco’s fascist dictatorship ended in 1975. So populism in Spain is on the rise. Vox was formed in 2013.

While PSOE won an extra 38 seats to 123 (28.7%, +6.1%) it wasn’t a win in its own right. The scandal ridden conservative PP lost 69 seats to finish with 66 (16.7%, -15.9%). The centre-right Ciudadanos Party gained 25 seats to 57 (15.9%, +2.9%). Left wing Podemos lost 29 seats to 42 (14.3%, -6.9%).

No forming of a coalition would conceivably grant PSOE a majority so it looks like Spain will have another hung parliament.

Although PSOE’s Pedro Sánchez has done a commendable job post the no confidence motion which ousted PP leader Rajoy from the top job, perhaps the EU should pay attention to yet another member state starting to show fangs of discord.

Hats off to the Jorges

The performances of Spaniards Jorge Martin (Moto3) and Jorge Lorenzo (MotoGP) at the Austrian Grand Prix yesterday were nothing short of master classes.

Martin may have finished 3rd on the day but he rode with a broken left arm, operated on some 8 days ago. Talk about grit. The acceleration forces may not be huge on a Moto3 bike but the braking and cornering forces are. It must have pushed mind and body to the limit. Such is the will to win that pain took a pillion seat.

His main championship rival in the Moto3 class, Marco Bezzecchi doffed his cap to Martin after qualifying such is the respect he holds for such heroics. How demoralizing for the rest of the field to be trailing a guy with metal plates, stitches, swelling and muscular pain in this left arm?

As for Jorge Lorenzo, he rode as aggressively as CM has ever seen him. Lorenzo has generally been one of the riders everyone loves to hate. Cold with the media, never smiling at the camera, making an excuse for everything and detailing a littany of complaints when he was dusted up on track by the other riders. His 2015 world championship was one full of scandals including trying to weigh in on getting the race stewards to penalize his team mate and main rival Valentino Rossi so he could win it. So bad was the reaction that on winning the 2015 crown in Valencia, Spain an all Spanish crowd booed the Spanish rider as he received his trophy from the Spanish King. Instead of soaking up the accolades Lorenzo ran off the podium as quickly as possible. It was an ugly affair.

His first year at Ducati in 2017 showed he had lost none of those bad habits. His face was full of being shown up for a rider whose talents were not worth the €25 million shelled out for his services. It was eating him up. Then it all came together. His first victory on the Ducati GP18 in Mugello was the sweetest of his career no doubt. Not only did he prove his detractors wrong, he proved to himself that he could overcome all of the odds. All of a sudden he was smiling. Someone who had lost the weight of the world off his shoulders.

He has since lost the chip on his shoulder, often smiles at the camera and CM truly respects the 180 degree change. Three slices of humble pie and deepest apologies for writing Lorenzo off in joining the Bologna factory. He deserves everything he gets.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.