Alleged irregularities in the way a Master's degree was awarded to Madrid regional premier Cristina Cifuentes has triggered a debate in Spain about doctored qualifications held by politicians. Is this a hypocritical witch hunt or a necessary purge in a corrupt system?
What can the middle class be proud of now?
Juan Martínez Majo, a politician for the Popular Party, asked publicly why it's such a problem if his colleague Cifuentes doesn't have a Master's degree, pointing out that this has nothing to do with her politics. Ignacio Escolar, who as chief editor of eldiario.es exposed the scandal, replies:
“The problem is that Cristina Cifuentes does have a Master's degree. She acquired the degree half a year ago with the help of an official who also changed her grades illegally. ... The problem is that Cifuentes doesn't deserve the degree because she never attended classes or took exams or wrote a Master's thesis. She received preferential treatment because of who she was. ... The problem is that this public university was the pride of Spain's middle class. That it took a lot of effort to build up its prestige. And that it was supposed to be equal for everyone.”
A democracy of papier maché academics
People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, the conservative daily ABC counters:
“The socialist MP who is now pushing for a motion of no confidence held a fraudulent Master's degree in mathematics for years. And so far no one has been able to gain access to [Socialist leader] Pedro Sánchez's famous doctoral degree. A papier maché democracy with politicians less educated than they claim to be, capable of inflating their careers on the basis of lies and fake qualifications is an indignity. But they should all be scrutinised under the same conditions and treated equally by the media so that the social reproach they receive is identical and not conditioned by their ideology.”