To his supporters he’s calm, considered, strategic and resilient. But to his critics – whose ranks have swelled this year – Spain’s prime minister is hesitant, rigid, poorly advised and uncharismatic. Whatever your view, few will argue that even his previous experience as a government minister and eight years in opposition can have prepared Mariano Rajoy adequately for the torrid 12 months he has just had. Having made few electoral promises other than to fix the economy, his fortunes were always going to mirror those of the country’s credit risk premium and its jobless queue. Both hit dangerously high levels in 2012, belying Rajoy’s apparent belief on taking office that a change of government alone would instil confidence in the economy. He still has a substantial majority in Congress, but the clamour in the street against the austerity he is implementing is growing.