Left-wing totalitarianism! Spain mulls ban on praising former dictator General Franco

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Rod Liddle slammed news that Pedro Sanchez’s socialist administration was mulling introducing a “Law on Democratic Memory”. Last week the government passed a draft of the bill – which is being overseen by minister Félix Bolaños.

Speaking afterwards he said it was Spain’s “first law that expressly condemns and repudiates the coup … and the ensuing dictatorship”.

Should it make it onto the statute books it would also ban organisations that praise the policies and leaders of Spain’s 20th-century dictatorship – which existed from 1939 to 1975.

If convicted, offenders could be fined up to £128,000.

The columnist sarcastically commented on the law – which aims to stamp out growing popularity for Spain’s far-right parties – for curbing freedoms itself.

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General Franco

General Franco ruled Spain for decades (Image: Getty)

Pedro Sanchez

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (Image: Getty)

He wrote in the Sunday Times: “Spain’s socialist government is making it a crime for people to say nice things about General Franco, the somewhat robust chap who led the perpetually fissiparous country for 40 years.

“It will also be against the law for Spaniards to opine that they’re glad the Communists lost the civil war.

“These laws are being overseen by Félix Bolaños, the minister for democratic memory.

“You can have a memory in Spain only if it is democratic, and Félix will decide what is democratic and what is not.


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Rod Liddle

Columnist Rod Liddle (Image: Getty)

“I wonder if it will be illegal to suggest, as many have, that the 1936 election that ushered the Commies into power was rigged.

“Totalitarianism comes in many forms.

“Sometimes it’s a pompous-looking, stiff-necked bloke in a military uniform.

“And then sometimes it’s a nice bespectacled young former law student, like Félix.”

General Franco

General Franco ruled Spain until his death in 1975 (Image: Getty)

The socialist-led coalition has long-sought to outlaw anyone who supports Franco’s rule and demean “the dignity of the victims of the 1936 coup, or of the civil war”.

Last week it approved draft legislation – paving the way for the law being introduced.

The draft bill is another milestone in the government’s aim to heal divisions over Franco’s place in Spanish history.

The 20-century dictatorship was “the darkest period of our contemporary history,” Mr Bolaños added.

General Franco

General Franco during the Spanish Civil War (Image: Gett)

It comes two years after Franco’s remains were exhumed from his mausoleum outside Madrid.

More than 500,000 people died in the civil war between Franco’s nationalist forces and the left-leaning Spanish republic.

Franco declared victory on April 1, 1939, and ruled ruthlessly until his death in 1975.

More than 110,000 victims from the war and his dictatorship remain unidentified.

The draft bill also opens the door to the abolition of the high-profile Francisco Franco Foundation, which promotes the former dictator’s legacy.

The “Law on Democratic Memory” will now go to Spain’s parliament for a vote.

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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