During the present Government (of the Socialist Party, PSOE), the opposition (the Popular Party, PP) has said repeatedly that the Government is “dismantling” the Spanish Nation while empowering multiple nations within the State. The Government denies such accusations, and in turn blames the opposition for “borrowing” the idea of Spain for themselves.
It is true that the PSOE has helped several small nationalisms rise within the State. Such practice, which the PSOE has encouraged and started in Catalonia, Galicia and Andalusia, is a sure source of confrontation and division among people.
When politicians encourage differentiating sentiments in a people with
respect to others, they are motivated by any of these reasons:
- Divert people’s attention from their real needs and problems
- Avoid the hard work of governing
- Assert control over the people (obtain votes) arguing the people are being discriminated against, or attacked/controlled by others
In order to call up the “national” characteristics of a people it is necessary to do it in reference or in comparison to other peoples. I.e., it is required to pinpoint everything that’s different. In this way, a feeling can be created of “unity” before that which is strange. While the ‘strange’ or ‘external’ elements may be friend rather than foe, the more friendly it is, the less chances for differentiation are available to the politician to use as crowd control tool.
Precisely, the Government of Prime Minister RodrÃguez Zapatero is playing a delicate equilibrium stimulating small nationalisms here and there, highlighting differences between different regions in Spain. In other words, they attempt to concede a leading role to the “Nations” in Spain, while making the Spanish Nation disappear. The fact that one nation, two nations or three-hundred nations exist is meaningless: what’s important here is the damage the Government is causing people by bringing out political differentiation among territories.
Nevertheless, in order to silence their critics in the opposition, the Socialist Government of RodrÃguez Zapatero has begun changing the Government’s media publicity campaigns. Lately, advertisements of Government ministries or agencies on TV, radio and press end with a written or spoken signature, saying “Gobierno de EspaÃ±a”.
Why “Gobierno de EspaÃ±a”? There is no room for confusion. Could some other Government be advertised in Spain? Do the French Traffic Authorities show adverts in Spain? Of course
not: Any advertisement of a Ministry or other Government institution in the press is clearly the Spanish Government’s, and there is no need to underline this fact. To point it out is actually pretentious.
Then, why underline “Gobierno de EspaÃ±a”? By doing this, the Government begins to place in the collective subconscious mind the idea that the central Government is face to face with the regional governments (which have been using the same publicity formula since long ago).
Other pro-Spanish tactics of this Government include a series of new official stylish logos displaying the colors of the Spanish flag. On the other hand, the Government does not show willingness to enforce a law on the use of flags, being overlooked at me moment by several city halls and regional governments, by failing to display the Spanish flag in several official buildings.
Therefore, while the Government dodges criticism for not defending the idea of “Spain” with pretentious advertisements and cool little logos, it fails to do its job and focuses on promoting differences among Spanish regions, rather than performing its work of Government.