“Blair’s hiding something from us”

La Vanguardia invests a lot more in foreign coverage than some other Spanish newspapers but still ends up getting a lot of things wrong, sometimes intentionally. Here, however, is an absolute pearl of paranoid ludicricity from its even more downmarket colleague, El Periódico:

Tony Blair’s government has imposed on its fellow citizens a policy of silence from the moment terrorist bombs shook London on Thursday. This to the extreme that we still do not know the real number of dead, which police–not government–sources leak bit by bit, only creating new questions. This policy of information is intolerable both with respect to public opinion and to the victims’ relatives. This shoddiness is justified by arguments like controlling panic and respecting the victims’ identities which at the end of the day are deceitful and damage democratic transparency.

If we are to draw comparisons between Madrid and London, on March 11 there was neither panic nor chaos. The nature of the tragedy became more apparent minute in minute, sensitising Madrilenians, who did all they could to palliate its effects. This is because people who are informed act correctly. Blair, trying to reinforce state control at the expense of rights, has treated his country like a child, hiding from it what happened and its magnitude. It is another alarm signal of the degeneration of democracy which, if it persists, could undermine the ancient British constitutional order.

El Periódico hates Blair because he’s Anglo-Saxon and uses the word “freedom” too much, and that’s their democratic right. But how can they be so ignorant as to attack him on an made-up issue without resonance in Britain when they could have trampled all over him on the ridiculous ID card scheme? And what to make of those who prefer bizarre conspiracy theory to the commonsense notion that it is actually quite difficult to identify who and how many died in a powerful explosion in space which, in the case of the tube explosions, was considerably more confined than that of the Madrid bombings?

El Gobierno de Tony Blair ha impuesto a sus conciudadanos una política de silencio desde el mismo momento en que, el jueves, las bombas terroristas sacudieron Londres. Hasta el extremo de que aún se desconoce el balance real de muertos, que fuentes policiales –no gubernamentales– desgranan poco a poco para crear sólo nuevas interrogantes. Es una política de información a la opinión pública intolerable, del mismo cariz que la política de comunicación a los familiares de las víctimas. Una chapuza justificada por argumentos como el control del pánico o el respeto a la identidad de las víctimas, que llega al engaño y vulnera la transparencia democrática.

Puestos a trazar una similitud entre Madrid y Londres, en el 11-M no hubo pánico ni se produjo un caos. La realidad de la tragedia creció de minuto en minuto, y sensibilizó a los madrileños, que se volcaron para paliar sus efectos. Porque la gente informada actúa correctamente. Blair, que intenta reforzar el control del Estado a costa de los derechos, ha tratado a su país como menor de edad, escondiéndole tanto lo que pasaba como su magnitud. Es otra señal de alarma de una degeneración democrática que, de persistir, podría llegar a socavar el viejo sistema constitucional británico.

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