If you thought Davie Blunkett was corrupt, then try José Montilla. Montilla is boss of the Catalan socialist party, ex-mayor of Barcelona-fringe ghetto-town Cornellà, and an efficient guy with a previously spotless reputation, so Zapatero must have had few qualms about making him industry minister and general Catalan gofer/hitman.

The bad news is that last year, with Montilla already in office, the powerful regional savings bank, La Caixa, wrote off €6.7M of the €14M debt the Catalan socialists have built up over the last decade and converted the rest into a soft loan. Now, by complete coincidence, the energy regulator, chaired by socialist hack Maite Costa, has okayed a controversial takeover by of electricity utility, Endesa, by Gas Natural, 30% of whose shares are owned by La Caixa.

Endesa has the right of appeal: to Montilla.

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