The unions in Spain have hailed the general strike yesterday as a great success. They quote figures of millions of workers who took part; the police however, claim far fewer participants. Those who were in favour of the strike tell us that it was largely peaceful but there were reports of widespread violence in cities like Madrid with police firing rubber bullets at the crowds.
The bottom line though is that the President, Mariano Rajoy, has already said that, whilst he respects the views of the strikers, the policies will not change. He fully believes that the only way out of the current situation is to continue to impose increasingly severe austerity measures. Many believe that he is preparing to seek a bailout from Europe and that the measures taken will ensure that this can happen.
To be fair, it wasn’t the government that got Spain into the mess. My understanding is that it was a combination of the banks lending more and more money at cheap interest rates, people demanding wage increases that meant they were no longer competitive, regions and towns spending money like it was going out of fashion and underlying corruption at all levels.