In May 2012, the deputy of the Canary Islands Coalition (CC), Ana Oramas, revealed from the Congressional platform that the then Minister of Finance, Cristobal Montoro, of the PP, had pressured her to vote against the package of cuts presented in May 2010 by the former president, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, knowing that Spain would be intervened if the adjustment measures were not approved. “Let Spain fall, and we will raise it up,” she said that she snapped at him.
The cuts of 2010 represented the largest adjustment in social spending of the democracy and were approved by a single vote thanks to the abstention of CiU and CC, for which reason the Canarian nationalists, with only one deputy in that legislature, had in their hands the voting key. “We abstained despite the pressure,” Oramas revealed two years later, while recalling that, in just 24 hours, Parliament had to approve a decree that, if it had lapsed, would have been the ruin of Spain.
Those words, never denied by Montoro, called into question the sense of State of a PP that, between the interests of the country and its irrepressible desire for the fall of the socialist government, opted for the latter. At that time, the mantra was installed in the collective imagination that when the right governs, it generates wealth and when the left does, it only distributes it. This was the simplest and most direct way of contrasting two economic models: the neoliberal and the social democratic. And a myth that, given the evidence of the data, seems to have fallen into this crisis.
This time the Socialists have achieved, unlike on other occasions, squaring the circle, that is, in times of crisis such as the war in Ukraine, the Spanish economy grows above the European average and that it does so, in addition , with social justice, a principle that beyond the boutades de Ayuso, is based on equal opportunities and a fair and equitable distribution of wealth.
With the help of the rain of millions of Next Generation funds, true. With a paradigm shift from the austerity orthodoxy imposed in the previous EU crisis, too. But having been the Government of Spain, the Socialists argue, “an active part in the design of the elimination of the old austericidal corsets, the implementation of Keynesian policies to combat the crisis through public investments that feed private investment.”
Indeed, far from an economic tsunami sweeping away the government coalition, the rise in the SMI or the labor reform destroying thousands of jobs or taxes on banking and wealth weighing down economic prospects, The Bank of Spain has just raised its growth forecasts this week to 2% for 2023, above those of the IMF and the OECD. And all because of the drop in inflation, the strength of the labor market –with more than 20 million contributors– the foreign sector and the unblocking of global supply chains.
84% of wage earners have stable employment
A piece of information that the left has skillfully handled in these weeks is that in 2018, when they came to government, only 60% of wage earners had a stable job, while in 2023 they are 84% of Spanish workers -out of every ten, 8.5- those who have a permanent position.
None of the seven plagues announced by the right-wing on the economy has fallen on Spain, despite the intensive spending policies. And this, of course, greatly complicates the story of the PP in an electoral campaign in which it has not yet found a story beyond “repealing ‘sanchismo'” and has had to resort, for the umpteenth time, to the wild card of ETA.
The inclusion in EH Bildu’s lists of 44 candidates convicted of belonging to ETA, 7 of them for the crime of murder, have served for the PP to charge, not against the Abertzale coalition for its obvious contempt for the victims of terrorism, but against Sánchez and the Socialists as if the very same terrorist band were sitting today at the table of the Council of Ministers.
ETA stopped killing more than 10 years ago, it dissolved 5 years ago, but it has always been an argument for partisan use at its convenience for the right. In his distorted account, he equates the PSOE with Bildu, Sánchez with Otegi, and the government as a whole with the accomplices of the extinct terrorist group. Nothing new.
Terrorism, present or absent from the life of the Spanish, has always been brandished as a thrown weapon by the popular, and with much more emphasis on electoral eves if the poll did not blow in favor of a clear conservative majority. It was used against Felipe González between 1993-1996, it disappeared during the governments of José María Aznar when the PP promised generosity with the gang if it stopped killing, it returned with the governments of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and is now back again with Pedro Sánchez. A strategy that the PSOE headquarters believe responds to the fact that the evolution of the vote is not being entirely satisfactory for the popular ones who, less than a month ago, spoke of a “change of cycle” and of a “historic turnaround”.
A leader who does not excite
All this at the start of a campaign in which the Socialists believe that those of Feijóo have not found their own narrative or a national leader that excites their electorate while Sanchez “has taken the initiative with a trickle of ads and social measures” that it will maintain until 28M and “a notable increase in the mobilization of the socialists throughout the territory is perceived.”
In the socialist headquarters they count on the fact that in Genoa they will try to stretch the gum from the EH Bildu lists “so as not to mention the social agreement for a 10% salary increase signed by employers and unions, nor the relevance of the Sánchez’s interview with Joe Biden at the White House, nor the rain of positive data on the progress of the economy ”
And it is that the PSOE boasts of having broken with a “historical cycle in which it was very established that when the left came to power it only knew how to spend and retract economic growth while when the right did so it generated wealth.” For the first time in 40 years, the socialist strategists add, “we have shown that we know how to do both: raise the SMI and create jobs; maximize the presence of the State where it is necessary while the profits of the companies skyrocket; redouble spending policies and attract foreign investment”.
In addition to housing, social aid, investment in FP, health, education and pensions, the Socialists are also in a position to debate now with the right “over who better manages the economy.” Something that, in the words of a member of the campaign strategy committee, allows them to circulate “through an 18-lane lane” in a campaign in which they can talk about housing, employment, economic growth or pensions and in which no one He doubts that Sánchez and Feijóo also measure their leadership.
The PP already recognizes that if they fail to seize any of the 9 regional governments that the left has today, the result will be insufficient for Feijóo, who has recently lowered the expectations of this his first test as national leader. Although the leader of the PP risks less than Sánchez, in the territories it is beginning to be quite established that its president does not follow the mark and that everything that the popular ones grow is pure mathematics, this is the result of absorbing the vote of the extinct Ciudadanos . Not one more and not one less. And this, they admit behind the scenes, is also a consequence of the fact that “something more is needed than the desire to throw Sánchez out.”
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