A Smug’s Guide to the Basque Elections | Edward Anderson

Forget the football, the real sport you’ve been missing is showing off your superior knowledge of obscure regional elections.

Like the sports fan who has been reduced to watching YouTube documentaries about a wiffle-ball league (don’t ask), so has the politico been starved of watching elections and spouting off on Twitter or in their obsessive political circles. Well, fear not, for Homeless Ed is here to give you all the hot takes you need to impress your friends and bluff your way through the Basque Regional Election this week.

Before we begin, we’ll be using Football Manager scores for these hot takes (6/10 being an average performance, 7 and above being solid stuff and five or less will be getting you subbed off).


I’ll be keeping my eye on the Basque election this Sunday”

That’s right, the fact that you know the election is happening at all gives you the edge on the competition. Drop this line in conversation, wait for the pause then add a “Didn’t you know? It’s pretty important” for extra smugness. Do not mention that there’s an election in Galicia because no one will be impressed and it doesn’t allow us to build our precious narratives, so keep that one to yourself.

Smug score 7/10: Works well for Remainers who want to brandish their credentials by showing they aren’t some part-time European but it works even better for Brexiters. You get to show that your mantra of ‘Europe, not the EU’ is sound by showing yourself to be more aware of what is going on within the continent then the supposedly ‘pro-Europeans’. For maximum twattery, make sure to lecture Remainers who didn’t know about the election by saying that if they really were Europeans, then they would stop creaming themselves over American politics and actually care about what is happening on the continent for once.


I wonder how Covid will impact the result/ whether Covid has increased support for X”

To be used in cases of emergency only. The first option is lazy and will get you found out by anyone who can read an opinion poll. The reality is this election is more predictable than Bayern Munich winning the league and has been for a long time. If found out, say that you didn’t mean the election result but who PNV will go into coalition with. That might bail you out but you better know your PNV from your Bildu on this one.

Smug score 5/10: Not going to cut it I’m afraid. Best left for people who aren’t as clued up as you are so you can turn on the smug by saying “the election has been sown up well before anything happened.” Or, if you are in a mixed crowd (politicos and football fans), get the subject onto friendly ground by stating with some cheer “Who knows? Maybe the all Basque Copa Del Rey has inspired some Basque national pride.”.


We’re going to see that PSOE is the only real national Party left in Spain.”

Quality and a great one for moderate social democratic politicos. Demonstrates that although you know the election result, we can still extract to show that only PSOE can gain moderate political support across all regions whilst the parties of the right are locked out of governance due to their inability to work with regionalist parties. After explaining this, go for the kill by downing your pint, proclaim “It turns out that it is a party of the left, not the right, who can build a truly national consensus.” then head to the bar to hide your smug grin, you animal.

Smug score 8/10: Getting some praise in the post-match Football Manager press conference for this one.


The only thing this election shows is that Spain is ungovernable”

A more depressed sibling of the above for those of a more conservative disposition. Talk about how the amount of support that Basque and Catalan nationalist parties can obtain has effectively blocked stable government in Spain, with Vox and separatists feeding off each other. Best delivered whilst gloomily staring out of a window on a rainy day for maximum impact, your far away stare showing you are piercing the very soul of Spain’s political future.

Smug score 7/10: Tidy response and if you are more of an Eeyore than a Tigger, all the better.


Of course, it’s the Catalan Election that will be the real one to watch.”

Good stuff. This shows you aren’t just chasing headlines but taking the long view and looking ahead. At the time of writing it isn’t clear when the next election is, so when you drop this line near the end and if people ask you “when is that?”, you can have a quick sigh and say “It was supposed to be at the same time but I’m sure we’ll see hints being dropped in La Vanguardia soon enough.”.

Smug score 6/10: As long as you don’t use it early this is a friendly way to finish off the topic by moving away from Basque elections (which they won’t know about) and onto Catalonia, which they have seen in the news over the last few years so will be able to chip in, which is nice of you. For Brexiters, you can talk about ‘Catexit’ now.

So that’s your lot, folks. Here’s hoping this Smug’s guide gives you the tools you need to do what really matters: Feel the smug sense of superiority from knowing about an election you have neither a stake or a vote in. You’re welcome.

Photo by X on Flickr.

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