Antoni Puigverd,, 8 February 2022
The Readers’ Debate on politics and politicians in Spain. Web design / La Vanguardia
While, after a few years of bipolar tensions, in many European countries the central currents are being recomposed, in Spain (including Catalonia) the comedies of entanglement and ideological polarisation persist or even increase. The signal sent out by the election of António Costa in Portugal has been received by the Spanish parties with earplugs in their ears and blindfolds on their eyes. Those who know the country of the ‘saudade’ well explain that Costa did win an absolute majority due to a sudden socialist infatuation of the Portuguese. It so happens that, after two coronaviral years, with rising prices and a destabilised economy, the Portuguese have repudiated the polarised shenanigans and government ‘geringonças’. They want stability, solidity, constructive zeal.
Spain, like Portugal, needs a period of political calm. The ocean of reality is stormy enough: with the energy problems caused by the geopolitical crisis in the Maghreb and Ukraine; with the colossal debt left in the public coffers by the health and social response to Covid; with the business fabric punished by uncertainty, inflation, the blocking of markets and speculation in essential materials for industry; with the pockets of unemployment in the big cities; with the peremptory needs of rural areas; with the barbarity of youth unemployment and the impoverishment of the middle classes… And for dessert, the drought!
Will Spanish politics be a car without brakes, as Catalan politics already is?
Governments and parliaments should be able to devote all their energies to weathering the terrible gale that our societies have been enduring since the economic crisis of 2008. Almost 15 years dominated by a hurricane (economic, social, territorial)! We need a time-out. Time to develop the European recovery plan, to strengthen social cohesion, to introduce the reforms that the moment demands, to agree on collective strategies following the example of the labour reform (which, beyond the entanglements of Congress, has been a great success of social concertation).
The artificially inflated political noise, whether in Madrid or Barcelona, or in Lorca, is an additional dose of stress to a situation which, if it is not calmed, will become unbearable. The elections in Castilla y León will lead the way. The anxious Casado’s PP encouraged their advance thinking that they would pave the road to a change of government in Spain. But it could well be that what the Castile and León elections herald is a Portuguese-style change of course. Not in the sense of favouring a very strong majority for this or that party, but in the sense of demonstrating a rejection of permanent conflict, a desire to pacify political life, an invitation to reach major state pacts.
If this desire does not crystallise, if the Castilian-Leonese elections consolidate the thesis of polarisation, Spanish politics will become a car without brakes, as is already the case in Catalonia.