|Dibujo de Manel Fontdevila en Público|
I've just been reading Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land (click link for NYRB article where he summarizes the argument). He explains what has been happening very clearly, though things have got even worse since his death (6 August 2010)— the lands are faring far more poorly. Spain however, as Manuel Fraga (Franco's minister of tourism) liked to say, is "different": out of phase with the general historical pattern. The "neo-conservative" or, as we would say in Europe, "neo-liberal" offensive against the welfare state in the UK, US and other advanced economies coincided with the late beginnings of public services here, under the Socialist Party governments led by Felipe González (1979-1996).
The dismanteling of the state apparatus that protected citizens began furiously, however, when the so-called "Popular Party" under Aznar came to power (1996-2004). And now, after an ambiguous and largely ineffective social democratic return (Zapatero, 2004-2012), with the return of the PP in the context of the huge European economic débâcle, the offensive had been renewed with greater vigor, meeting furious but so far unconcerted opposition. We've got to get our act together! (See Rx above.)