November 28, 2020

My applause for Pablo Casado

I do not expect Pablo Casado to change his ideology, his opinion, his way of understanding the world or his way of thinking. I do not pretend that he becomes a republican, a progressive, or a supporter of the redistribution of wealth or of increasing social spending. I am satisfied with something else: that he builds around him a democratic conservative right, comparable to the European one. That right necessary in any free and prosperous country, and that costs so much here to consolidate. That right that in Spain travels to the center from time to time, and after a while it twitches again.

A right wing is needed to put a foot on the wall against fascism. Let them stop temporizing with a xenophobic, racist, sexist and undemocratic party for fear of their own electors, in a moment of absolute tension. A democratic right, which frontally rejects the extreme right, just as Merkel does in Germany, or Chirac did in France. A right that helps stop civil warfare and polarization.

That is what happened today. Casado’s speech It has not only been formally brilliant, but also forceful and without nuance. It can only be interpreted as a “so far”, which should have more consequences and which ties Casado to a position that will hardly be able to change in this legislature. It is a turning point.

Married has a credibility problem. It is not the first time that his speech about Vox has changed, a “constitutionalist” or “extreme right” party as appropriate. It also has a coherence problem: this same Vox that it has harshly criticized this Thursday in Congress is the same one that supports a large part of its autonomous and municipal governments, and with which they negotiate every measure they take. Its sincerity is debatable; what will happen in the future, if Casado needs the Vox seats to govern.

But all these nuances do not detract from the merit or importance of what has happened today in Congress, with a historical speech, which should have been produced for two years. That is late, but arrives. And it is a change of attitude that, without a doubt, should be applauded.

It was not an easy decision for the PP. Married you know, the polls say itthat the vast majority of his voters wanted something else: that he vote yes to the motion of no confidence; that at least he abstained and distanced himself from Bildu or ERC. He did not have an easy option because taking that route would probably have weighed down Casado for the entire term, in the same way that, at the time, the photo of Colón did.

Married has been smart in this decision. Not because this route will guarantee a good electoral result, which is not certain, but because the other option was probably even worse. Walking on the side of Vox and laughing at the thanks to the extreme right had led the PP to a corner, without any possibility of ruling Spain.

Casado’s harsh speech left Abascal knocked out. The Vox leader, in his reply to the PP, repeated his “perplexity” several times, and it is evident that he was telling the truth. It was not expected. He did not know how to react. He did not measure up in a motion from which he was completely defeated, with the greatest rejection in the history of Congress of a candidate for the presidency of the Government, which is what was basically being voted on today.

Despite this defeat, despite this break, Vox is not going away. The play has not gone well, but in this loop that he had prepared for the PP he comes out with one of the two planned scenarios, and that Vox saw as the winner: with the monopoly of the ultra opposition – the other option was to drag the PP to its position. The question is how far their popular support will go. How much the hatred of the right measures, in a context of economic, health and social crisis, of extreme polarization. The world and history are full of examples of how anti-politics is able to flourish in this context. Even come to power.

Casado’s new speech also leaves the coalition government a space for generosity, for dialogue, for an outstretched hand, to put a stop to that tension that has deteriorated public life to an unprecedented extent. After this turn, and Pedro Sánchez’s offer to withdraw the reform of the law of the JudiciaryIt would not be understood that Casado maintains his blockade on the renewal of the government of the judges. Or that he continues without sitting down with Sánchez to talk about the Budgets and raise his positions, even if his vote is still no.

Maybe it’s a mirage. The anger returned to Congress shortly after, in the clash between Casado and Iglesias where the president of the PP equated United We with Vox. But the same thing is asking too much that a conservative leader does not confront United We Can on the same day that the middle right brands him a traitor.

It was a motion of censure against the PP. There was no escape, and that is why Casado has set foot on the wall. You have done the right thing. Hopefully he won’t change position again.


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