Another Anti-War demonstration on saturday last. This time about one hundred and fifty thousand people turned out. It was only a fraction of the previous demonstration but is was still significant. People know that it will do nothing to change the position of the government but it does at least reaffirm the public sentiment and highlights their voting intentions at the next election.
I went along to the demonstration with a gang of friends. Given the summer weather the city is in complete party mode and if it wasn´t for the banners and t-shirts it would not have been clear to me whether I was meant to be celebrating the winning of a war or protesting against one.
The spanish people are still perplexed by the personal crusade of Jose Maria Aznar and his government. What makes them most baffled is that in their view Tony Blair, who despite being pro-war, pursued for a time "in his own way", a Diplomatic Route and an International Consensus . Aznar on the other hand has done nothing but go out of his way to promote war from the outset. To add to the Spaniards disbelief Aznar has only held one brief informative session in parliament to state his position. At no time has he in any way sought to explain the reasons for his unconditional backing of Bush.
The united opposition parties yesterday called for the resignation of Aznar, stating that the government have placed themselves and the spanish state outside the law, by sending troops to the gulf and allowing full American use of Spanish air bases. The constituiton states that such actions require express authorisation by the government. Aznar has chosen to ignore these laws.
However at least it can be said that the current crisis gave the spanish a reason to laugh when around three weeks ago, Jeb Bush, brother of George visited Spain. In the press conference Bush referred to Aznar as the "President of the Republic of Spain". The meeting between them then took place just outside Madrid at an old Moorish fortress which is now a "state owned heritage site". To add to the laughter of the natives Jeb did it again when he spoke about the beauty of " Aznar's Ranch".