There’s a rather bizarre fight going on in Spanish politics at the moment, after Salvador Illa, the health minister, admitted in a moment of absent mindlessness that a supposed committee of independent experts who were supposed to be advising the government on the lockdown – didn’t exist.
This is a committee that has been cited frequently by the government. It’s supposed to be a committee of independent experts who revised the scientific evidence and gave the politicians their independent feedback on proposed measures. Evidence from the committee was cited as one of the reasons for lifting the lockdown, and for implementing limitations on civil liberties.
Anyway, journalists have been going mad to try to find out who these experts are. And today, Minister Illa admitted that these “committee of independent experts” were actually the same experts who appeared in public telling people what to do. And not an independent review board at all.
Fernando Simón, the rather useless and scruffy lump who was the doctor in charge of the lockdown – the same doctor who went and caught the coronavirus during the first lockdown, and was recently spotted enjoying himself in Portugal without a mask – was the head of the “independent committee”.
So, he was in charge of reviewing his own decisions?
Illa said today, in front of a review board that is investigating the government’s response to the pandemic, that: “There wasn’t an independent committee as such, but technical review mechanisms which the director of public health would send to the ministry”.
The admission has added to demands that Fernando Simon be fired. The tourism industry is furious after he said he was happy that Brits and Belgiums couldn’t come to Spain any more, as it was one less thing for him to worry about. Then the public fuss over him refusing to wear a mask in Portugal, despite him being the person ordering everyone in Spain to wear one all the time. Now this.
The UPN party has been the first political party to break ranks and demand his head today in parliament. It will be interesting to see how long he can remain in charge, now that he has shown to be so incompetent that Spain is heading into a second pandemic under his control. In the last few hours, the PP and VOX have joined in the clamour for his head, and are demanding a fresh, nationally unified approach to the pandemic rather than this piecemeal “each region does what they want” approach.
There’s a joke doing the rounds at the moment. “Solo un gobierno de izquierdas podría dejar Cuba sin azúcar, Venezuela sin petroleo y España sin turistas”. Sounds about right.