Miriam Gonzales Durantez: ‘We’ll Deal With Losing Or Winning As We Always Do – Together’

Miriam Gonzales Durantez: 'We'll Deal With Losing Or Winning As We Always Do - Together'

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by Contributor |
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It’s a sunny morning and a Liberal Democrat aide is crawling along the floor of a Cardiff playgroup trying to distract a toddler who keeps invading his boss’s TV interview. Miriam González Durántez doesn’t seem fazed, however. Informal and open, she mucks in happily with everything from chatting with young mums to stuffing envelopes at campaign HQ with local candidate Jenny Willott. She’s such a natural that everyone asks if she’s considered entering politics herself, but she insists that, as a Spanish citizen, she can’t even vote. ‘I am an immigrant!’ she adds gleefully. It’s a bold thing to say when immigration is such a toxic issue but, as Miriam tells Grazia, she thinks immigrant-bashing rhetoric ‘damages the credibility’ of politicians. ‘I’ve always felt super-welcome here. You have a truly open and tolerant country.

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For all the nasty comments this remains a country that gives opportunities to people – which is why people want to come. ‘It was a revelation when I came. I felt that here it’s more [about] what can you do. I realise you have this class issue, but if you really want to go in a certain direction, the system allows you to. I want this country to continue being open.’ Her husband’s influence on that future is, however, hanging in the balance: he’s fighting not just to keep his Deputy PM role, but to hang on to his Sheffield parliamentary seat. Does she let herself think about the possibility of him losing? ‘I think about every possibility,’ she says. ‘We will deal with losing or winning as we always do – together. But it would be terribly unfair. I doubt there’s any other party that with 56 MPs could have got the country from where the economy was to where it is now, changing what the Tory Party wants to do, ensuring there’s progressive measures when you don’t have money.’ Her personal highlights of the last five years are that ‘I’ve seen politics from the front row, that was a real privilege, and then to have had the chance to launch this campaign [Inspiring Women, where successful women speedmentor teenage girls]. I could never be grateful enough to Nick for having put me in a position to do this.’

Regardless of whether he’s re-elected, she’s keen to expand it internationally. Having come from a political family (her father was mayor of Olmedo) she knows how a political career can encroach on family life. She and Nick decided from the outset that they’d keep their children – Antonio, 13, Alberto, 10, and six-year-old Miguel – out of the limelight. ‘It’s like smoking: in the past politicians didn’t know the effect politics could have on children, but now they do so there’s no excuse,’ she says.

So, had she stayed in Spain, would she have had her own political career? ‘I don’t know,’ she confesses. ‘But I tell you this: I’d have given my right arm to have been able to do for my country what Nick has done for his.’

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