Rafael Puyol. Vicepresident. IE Foundation

15 November 2011

Political bipolarization in Spain is comparable to that of Real Madrid and Barcelona, and is not in many people’s interest.

According to the Royal Spanish Academy, bipolarity refers to the condition of being bipolar, and bipolar is something that has two opposing poles. And this is what seems to be happening to Spain, in at least two key facets of Spanish life: politics and football.

With regard to politics, the Socialist Party (PSOE) and Popular Party (PP) provide us with a prime example of bipolarity. All the other political parties, nationalist or national, are like supporting bands at a concert, trying to glean whatever crumbs they can when the two main parties disagree, without worrying who they ally themselves with, teaming up with either of the two depending on what’s in it for them. The main parties flirt with the small parties in the interests of forming a majority, but we all pay a high price for these love affairs.

In the world of football, bipolarity comes in the form of longstanding favorites who have become even more exclusive with the current crisis. Real Madrid and Barcelona’s only enemies are each other, which is a source of anguish for those who fear that such bipolarity could be the death of the sport of kings.
Hence politics and football are a two party affair, a simple working model that only gets exciting during episodes of mutual disqualification that sometimes turn nasty. Given that we are dependent on the political actions of so few parties, who are also ill-matched, we should welcome the agreement reached by PSOE and PP to reform the Spanish Constitution. Controlling deficits is, of course, important, but what I like most in this instance is the agreement itself more than why it happened. It may have set a precedent for the future, and may herald further commitments.

Minorities have to be respected and heard, but not all their requests can be granted. Small parties or nationalists only represent a small part of the interests of the Spanish, or of specific communities. And the common good is at stake.


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