The Popular Party has to face an inescapable fact. Alberto Núñez Feijóo is bland. You wouldn't take him to a party so he can shine as the center of attention and make everyone bust their chests with his antics. When he tries to make a joke or a somewhat ironic comment in a game act, he notices that the audience has to make an effort to laugh. Sometimes they just don't get it. You would need a neon sign with the words 'laughs' or 'applause' to react at the right time. Meanwhile, the leader of the Popular Party tries different phrases to capture people's attention with clearly improvable results.
Núñez Feijóo accompanied Isabel Díaz Ayuso on Friday in an act in Alcalá de Henares that served for what journalists and politicians call the beginning of the "political course", which is a fallacy, because the political course never begins or ends. It is a continuum that extends infinitely with greater or lesser intensity depending on the events. A loop in which its protagonists do not stop moving their legs on a wheel that they know will never stop.
The fact is that Feijóo was there before an audience made up of militants and supporters of the Madrid PP and they had to like him. The previous Galician who held the presidency of the PP did not have many supporters in the regional right. Ayuso's usual speech has made them believe that outside of Madrid there is only land to be conquered, populated by people who are not good enough to live in the most important region of the world. From the outset, Feijóo told them that he is already "affiliated and registered" in Madrid. He is already a bit one of their own.
"I have had the honor of being president of Galicia and to have the Apostle of Santiago as a permanent adviser, who never failed me", he said with the clear intention of being funny. The public already knew that a character who died two thousand years ago was not on the Xunta's payroll – and look, there with a good recommendation you get a position for sure–, so it was clear that he had to laugh.
Outside of that captive audience, there will be those who wonder if Feijóo hears voices in his head.
It is possible that the apostle recommended him in Galicia not to take the hammer out for a walk if it was not essential. Now, less experienced advisers seem to believe that in Madrid you have to show the toughest profile to be in tune with the capital's media environment. And there was the hack: "These so-called feminists they alleged a pregnancy to dismiss one of the highest officials of the socialist party". He was referring to the resignation of Adriana Lastra as deputy general secretary of the PSOE.
Lastra left the socialist leadership not very much in agreement with the changes that Pedro Sánchez has planned. It was she who publicly mentioned her state of health. Feijóo made it easy for Lastra to respond on Twitter: "You have to be sexist, twisted and a bad person to use a woman's personal decision and try to hurt the president."
Feijóo –or his advisers– does not have a very measured movement that must be executed with the ax to do damage to the rival. On occasion, he ends up sticking the weapon in his own foot.
The leader of the PP had it easy to put together the speech. He should have started with the gift that Pedro Sánchez has given him this week with the announcement of the reduction of VAT on gas to 5%. It is a decision that the European Commission has expressly rejected due to its foreseeable negative impact on inflation and energy supply problems. It is also something that the PP had claimed, which wants to make the electorate believe that inflation and debt can be reduced at the same time in a magical and painless way.
Feijóo boasted that the Government has copied a measure of the PP. "I've been asking for it for six months," he said. He is not without reason. Another thing is that the PP has also been saying for months that the government is increasing public debt to unsustainable levels and the drop in VAT collection can only worsen that situation. But neither can the apostle be asked to know about financial markets.
On inflation, the saint is also a bit green. Feijóo implored the Government not to "penalize" consumption. If any government manages to increase consumption without raising inflation, they will have to rewrite all the economics textbooks.
The president of the PP was very interested in denying any political difference with Díaz Ayuso only one day after a very clear in a matter as sensitive as abortion. "It makes me laugh that, when the PP is doing well, someone invents discrepancies," he commented. Denying the evidence is a very frequent factor in politics. In this case, not even 24 hours have passed since Ayuso's opinion, which is against women of 16 or 17 years old needing parental consent to have an abortion, for Feijóo to maintain that these differences are inventions.
A few days after the PP ruled out holding a political convention in the coming months, according to El Mundo, Díaz Ayuso had to swallow his disappointment. The Madrid PP really wants to talk about ideology and not just economic management, and neither Feijóo nor the apostle have ever been very interested in those things. But with the Galician that does not touch and the president of Madrid no longer has much desire to move the boat from one side to the other. She already gave a great show in her duel with Pablo Casado and is not in a position to repeat the assassination.
Everything is flowers between Ayuso and Feijóo at the moment and there will be a whole garden until the national elections arrive. At the rally, Ayuso outlined the ideas of his future electoral campaign, which will be a carbon copy of the previous one. This time, the hook will be the energy saving measures that are talked about throughout Europe, but that in Madrid will become a new example of the fight of freedom against the Government and other weeds.
Now the lights of the shop windows are the symbol of the attack of evil. "They get mad at the stores and their windows," he said. "Imposing darkness on the streets" is one of the "examples of authoritarianism" that characterizes the government. Only light will stop the creatures of hell. Darkness or freedom. That's a slogan Putin would enthusiastically approve of.