Tuesday, May 24

I would vote for the PP (if necessary…)

A singular advantage that Hitler possessed was that his own people believed everything he said while the rest of the world did not.

Upton Sinclair

I would vote for the PP, if necessary. If in Spain there was a second round system and it was necessary to choose between Feijóo and Abascal, for example, or in any other circumstance in which the other possibility was that the extreme right came to power. I suppose that this conviction is what leads me, and many compatriots, to hold my breath before the French elections this Sunday which, this time, are of the utmost importance for all Europeans and, obviously, for us Spaniards. The issue is so serious that, for the first time since the French extreme right reached the second round in 2002, three European Social Democrat dignitaries – Spanish, Portuguese and German – have signed a petition to vote for Macron. Your hand cannot shake in this, just as it should not have shaken when it comes to preventing Vox from coming to power in Castilla y León. Marine Le Pen’s party has never had the government of any region in France.

The truth is The coming to power of Marine Le Pen would mean such a profound change in the European Union that, without a doubt, it would fully affect us at a time when even the most skeptical have understood that for the Spanish it is a formidable umbrella: economic, social and legal. The mere fact that you want to join your Hungarian and Polish friends in discussing the supremacy of Community law over national law should alert us all. And be careful, because it is obvious that there is a part of the Spanish Judiciary that has a hell of a time not being the unquestionable supreme leadership, you will have already noticed.

French and Spanish politics are not totally comparable, but the turn towards illiberal regimes has common patterns. One of them is the proposals to destroy democracy from within, claiming to use “the law” but actually destroying the rule of law. On this I want to show the parallels between what “the sweet Marine” is up to and what Vox obviously replicates. It is evident in both cases that their programs include proposals that, in order to be put into practice, require a break with the respective constitutions, that is, they are clearly unconstitutional. It is common for populism to defend that constitutional guarantees constitute a kind of unbearable corset that prevents them from putting into practice their innovative programs to return democracy to the people or to radically break with the previous rule of law.

Those who excuse Vox, those who see it as “any party”, those who are capable of agreeing or governing with them, usually allege that ultimately our Constitution is not militant and that, therefore, it is perfectly legitimate to do proposals that do not enter their limits, a capacity that is normally denied to the nationalist or independence parties, but that is another pod that we will have to talk about. In the case of Marine Le Pen, these anti-constitutional proposals go through the establishment of what she has called a “national priority” for the “true French”, who are not immigrants, and which affects the right to housing and work and the principle of equality enshrined in the French constitution. The same happens with her promise to call into question the primacy of community law, which is enshrined in article 55 of that fundamental French norm. In the case of Vox, it is about the annulment of the state of the autonomies – all of Title VIII of the EC – of immigration or the return of powers to the central state. Without going any further, the new vice president of Castilla y León recalled in his investiture that these are the fundamental objectives of his training.

The underlying argument is that in a “totally democratic” way they can change the rules of the game since what the people have endorsed – the constitutions – the people can change. If the constitutional norms are contrary to what the people want, they must be changed. The truth is that neither Le Pen, nor Abascal, nor Orbán in Hungary, have nor did they have sufficient strength in votes to be able to launch constitutional reform systems that respect the reform norms collected by it and that go through, among others, strong majorities in both chambers. How do you plan to get around that little stumbling block? Well, making the trick of selling that the simple way of the referendum is enough. This is how Le Pen has stated it and this is how Abascal said it in 2019: “Why don’t they let us hold a consultative referendum on emigration, on what to do with rapists and murderers, on what to do with the autonomies or if the State has to recover skills in education or health?

In France, highly reputable legal and constitutional voices are already making it known that this would look very much like a “democratic coup” referring to Le Pen’s proposals. We must be vigilant and vigilant because that is how we run the risk of losing what we have. In this step lies the difference between a democracy and populism. “A democracy is not the government of the people without limits. The purpose of a Constitution is to establish fundamental principles and orders, legally superior to the law to guarantee the rules of expression of the democratic vote. The stability of this constitutional law is necessary to ensure that the rule of law cannot be perverted by a populist leader who would seek, with the support of the people, to get rid of institutions that guarantee the separation of powers”, wrote the jurist Spinosi. The European extreme right tries to get rid of these democratic corsets by appealing to what could seem the maximum expression of democracy and therein lies the trap of all populisms and between the traditional liberal rights and these new parties. That is why a democrat accepts alternation, with the government of those for whom he does not vote, but with the certainty that the democratic game will be fair and that the basic principles and common postulates of the society in question will not be altered. That is why it is a problem to compare or assimilate the Popular Party with Vox and that is why it is suicide to encourage them to throw themselves into the arms of the extreme right. That is why in a dilemma like the one the French have today, the priorities must be clear.

Only if your position is as populist as Le Pen’s or only if your goal is as destructive of the existing rule of law, you can consider not blocking the path of the extreme right. That is a great error of the traditional Spanish right but not only of them. No matter how choppy Macron may seem to you or however liberal or however unbearable. Macron assures all Europeans that the French constitution is sheltered from government fluctuations, as other parties do here. Now less than ever it is necessary to destroy the dikes put up by the forgers of Western democracies to prevent them from blowing up.

That is where the anti-fascism of many weakens.

I would vote for the PP if necessary before allowing Vox to reach the government.

It is advisable not to make mistakes with things to eat. I hope the French don’t!