Spun Out of Office

"We have won without lies," chanted the crowd outside the Madrid headquarters of Spain's socialist party, PSOE, which swept to victory in the country's March 14 elections. "Spin was indeed at the centre of PSOE's extraordinary, unexpected triumph," notes reporter David Mathieson. "There is no word in Spanish for 'spin,' but there has been no absence of the practice in Madrid over the last year - and especially in the past few days. The spectacular gains made by PSOE ... were in large part a result of the government's clumsy attempts at media manipulation following the Madrid bombs on Thursday." Anxious to avoid the impression that its support for the war in Iraq had attracted the terrorist attack, Spain's ruling Popular Party attempted to pin the bombings on Basque separatists in the face of mounting evidence that Al Qaeda was actually responsible. "On top of the agony of the bomb, people were furious at government attempts to hide the truth," Mathieson writes. "Yesterday, voters took their revenge."