"It may sound presumptuous, but I realize that I grow up in difficult situations." The phrase belongs to the hagiography of Pedro Sánchez, signed by himself and published this week. Presumptuous sounds, of course, but much more still his confession that in returning to Ferraz after his first setback he missed the famous phrase of Fray Luis de León "We said yesterday …". To be known, Sanchez has not suffered jail, nor exile, nor deprivation of any kind in his minimal crossing of the desert before reaching the highest state magistracy. Also wrongly attributed the appointment to San Juan de Cruz, which has caused no small mess in social networks.
Has wanted the chance, or perhaps it is the result of astuteness, that the publication of the work dictated by the president to the head of Global Spain coincide in bookstores with another of Alfonso Guerra titled The Spain in which I believe. It is not a matter of submitting both texts for comparison, although in no small measure they confront similar stories, nor do I have to succumb (only slightly) to the temptation to take them as a pretext to introduce myself to the debate on the merits. Babelia it is a supplement dedicated to literary and artistic criticism, so that issues that affect the universe of governance can and should be left to the opinion pages. But go ahead that while the book of Sanchez has virtually no interest to understand Spain, the War is a valuable contribution, not exceptional, but worthy of attention, to the analysis of the past, the present and perhaps also the future of our country .
The president's book seems only aimed at the socialist militants, the "owners" of the party
In the introduction to your Manual of resistance, the still president of the Council of Ministers thanks the "writer, thinker, politician and friend" Irene Lozano to have given literary form to recordings of long hours of conversation between the two of them. If we talk about literature, we must say that this is certainly not the best work of its author, who I remember some combative articles in the pages of newspapers. The book is a real brick, bored to no avail, despite the interest that arises in advance who signs it and the meaning of the facts to which it refers. The so-called literary form is replaced by a well-ordered grammatical transcription, with no more brilliance or enthusiasm than that which emerges from the feelings of its protagonist. It is an orphan text of everything that resembles a critical, let alone self-critical, thought about the future of social democracy and the reality of our country. It seems rather directed only to the socialist militants, the "true owners" of the party in the opinion of the signatory. Such consideration of the private property of political formations is something new for me, but, as I have never fought in any of them, it is obvious that it is only due to my scarce knowledge about it.
It is, in any case, a somewhat harmful statement for the self-esteem of the millions of voters of the PSOE, who until now had seen in that party the reflection of a wider social bond than that emanating from their device. The parties are essential for democracy and it is necessary to strengthen them, guarantee and protect their activity. But the ferocious endogamy they tend to practice is not only a danger to their survival, but a deception to their constituents. Felipe González was president of the Government for almost 14 years because he governed the party since his appeal to society. Wanting to govern society only from the party, in a pluralistic and diverse democracy like ours, constitutes a narcissistic attempt condemned to failure.
Not everything is negligible in the book, of course. You can appreciate several considerations that affect the course of these same days. The definition of Citizens as a party installed in the conflict and accusations of a liar to Albert Rivera shed additional light on the current discussion between the two leaders. But the most surprising and worthy of attention is the story he makes of his conversations with King Philip VI, revealing the content of them, we do not know if with the permission of the Monarch, with whom he assures that he maintains a relationship beyond the institutional, anything that means.
Alfonso Guerra presumed in public that he had written his book, without specifying who had not done it. On the other hand, he tackles some subjects that are almost identical to those narrated by his current secretary general. His description of the internal vicissitudes that boosted and discarded, before reinvigorating him, Sánchez at the head of his formation, and finally the Government, is more understandable and brilliant than the one that the protagonist himself does. Let's say more honest too. But where the feather of the once feared Vice President of the Government defeats in its fencing the one of the current governor is in the analysis, without hairs in the language as it is said, of the Catalan question. Guerra makes a radical denunciation of xenophobic and coup nationalism represented by the current president of the Generalitat and some of his henchmen. It also proposes very specific reforms, necessary in this country, which contrast with the catalog of good intentions of the president's manual. Among them, the debated electoral reform, about which Sanchez does not say anything, despite having figured in the programs of almost all the parties, and certainly in his.
Finally, the literary genius of Alfonso Guerra is much more seasoned, and his book, without also being an adventure novel, should interest not only the party's militants, but a broader cast of readers, without need to feel or have never felt left. With the sincerity that the years allow, he makes not few critical observations, among which his statement stands out that "the ruling class is sometimes more propitious to create problems than to solve them". To add later that politicians promote or invent complex situations with the sole purpose of guaranteeing their subsistence, under the pretext of wanting to resolve them or to divert attention from the issues that truly affect the citizenry. Well, that.
The Spain in which I believe. Alfonso Guerra. The Sphere of the Books, 2019. 249 pages. 18.90 euros.
Manual of resistance. Pedro Sánchez Peninsula, 2019. 320 pages. 20.50 euros.