Vox rules as a kingmaker in Murcia. When the party brought the PP into power last May you could hear a pin drop. However, something it’s doing there is bringing the right-wing group enormous popularity across Spain; indeed, a current poll from one source, SocioMétrica, has Vox at a sharp rise in voter-support (bringing them, as it were, from 52 deputies up to 60). The other main parties are stagnant, or falling.
Vox is a simplistic party, more ‘against’ than ‘for’, and their new strategy in Murcia is to introduce ‘the parental pin’ whereby parents can excuse their children from certain subjects taught in the school system which ‘go against their moral principles’ with a simple note to the teacher.
The first and obvious one being sex education.
In my day, the head master would call you from class (amongst titters from the other boys) and lecture you in a dry voice regarding the wonders of sex, with the never-forgotten opening line ‘you may have noticed a tassel-like thing...’. Well, you know, ¡Ay, los ingleses!...
Indeed, I had noticed the tassel-like thing, and it would become a source of much joy in the years to come.
Now, we have hard and improbable porn on the Internet, and any sex education must first of all remove the exaggerations of this industry as much as inform and take away the fears and the doubts of a child’s future sexuality. Homophobia, the violence or distaste towards other sexual preferences, are also a taboo subject for Vox and other ‘parental pin’ supporters, who often resort to bulos (false news or transplanted videos) to make their point.
Spain nevertheless, and despite old-fashioned viewpoints and ‘mariconadas’, is ‘...among world's best for gender equality...’ (here).
The current Spanish curriculum was introduced by the education minister for the previous government of Mariano Rajoy (Juan Ignacio Wert), and it is no big surprise that Pablo Casado supports the Vox initiative over his own party’s erstwhile education overhaul from 2012. “I don’t believe in a country where parents have to be subject to the whims of what a politician or bureaucrat says,” Casado said on Monday, disparaging the teachers’ sterling efforts for a good education for their students. Spain’s new equalities minister, Irene Montero, described the measure as an attempt at educational censorship (Quotes here are taken from The Guardian). An (apparent) message from The Pope to the effect that children are our responsibility but not our possession has become popular in the social media by lefties. It’s a subject which puts people head to head (and that could well be the foremost policy of Vox).
The government delegate for gender violence, Victoria Rosell, suggested that the introduction of the parental pin could warrant the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution (the one they are always threatening to use against Catalonia – the suspension of regional powers, no less) although she later said it was a joke.
Murcia is not usually noted as a major player in Spanish politics, but the attractions of an old-fashioned education have always been popular in certain circles (‘spare the rod and spoil the child’, or ‘ahorre la vara y mime al niño’ in Spanish) and, despite the Government now ordering Murcia to drop the suppressive rule within a month, calls for a parental pin could find its way to Madrid or other regions with a strong Vox presence in the government or support in the street.