Portugal’s Iron Lady comes to town

Great excitement in the centre of Portalegre this morning. It is the second day of the election campaign and Manuela Ferreira Leite is in town. She is the leader of the opposition PSD and is type cast as Portugal’s iron lady. If she was to be elected as Prime minister I am sure she would knock a few heads together and solve some of Portugal’s deep-seated problems. But I doubt that she will get the opportunity. The current Prime Minister, ubber-Blairite José Socrates, comes across much better on television and will probably be re-elected. Still it is a lively rally and I manage to chat to the Presidentes de Câmara of Portalegre and Castelo de Vide (both controlled by the PSD). We have local elections coming up in October and the camaras seem to be buying votes at the moment with tarmac suddenly being laid on rural lanes that lead to one or two houses. I don’t have a vote so they still haven’t fixed the wall at the bottom of the quinta, a saga which dates back to March 2007!