Apparently, half of Spain is not sleeping until it knows what Pablo Iglesias is going to do with his life. Maybe there are not so many, but for example this August La Voz de Galicia dedicated almost a page to an article entitled “One Hundred Days Without News from Pablo Iglesias.” You read it and you were scared. My God, they have kidnapped Iglesias and he has been locked up for three months waiting for the ransom to be paid. Then you read it and there was no need to worry. It only happened that since the Madrid elections in which he was a candidate, “hardly any news of the former vice president of the Government has transpired.” An unbearable drama.
That is the idea of leaving a government or politics or at least one of its most favorable consequences for peace of mind. That people do not know every minute where you are and what you think about each issue. Don’t let them call you at night to tell you that something terrible has happened and that something needs to be done, whatever it is and as soon as possible.
However, Iglesias has not left politics behind forever. He has said that he plans to dedicate himself to “critical journalism”, which means that he intends to continue giving cane. That it has to do with journalism is something else. Teaching at the university is very good, and it is a very honorable profession, although the audience is small. There are other speakers that reach more people.
That’s what social gatherings on radio or television are for. The former leader of Podemos has signed up for a weekly program on Cadena SER’s Hora 25, where he will share the stage with former Vice President Carmen Calvo and former Minister José Manuel García Margallo. They are all exes, so they don’t have to worry too much about being called from party headquarters to reproach them for their words. That does not mean that they will not receive calls. They are in a position not to worry about them. This Monday they had the premiere.
They began with the doubt of the presenter, Aimar Bretos, about whether he had to talk about you or about you. Iglesias and Margallo clearly positioned themselves in favor of the tuteo. The former PP minister is one of those people who could be called folksy, if it weren’t for the fact that the adjective has been plunged into misery due to the crimes committed by the former head of state. Iglesias recalled that he asked Felipe VI in the first meeting if he could introduce him to him and the king had no problem. On the contrary, Carmen Calvo made it clear and crystal clear that this does not go with her. He explained it with a strange reason: “I am very much like you. It does not generate distance, but it does generate a bit of formality.” If something allows someone to talk about you, it is to create a distance between the two people.
Calvo is situated in the Javier Solana doctrine. It is said that one of those journalists who, in the Transition, bet on friendships with politicians –a bad habit that has continued since then– asked him: do you mind if I treat you? You can treat me as you see fit, replied the then Socialist minister, surely with a cold look.
A gathering is something else. “We are committed that this is not like the control session,” Iglesias said. Which means that they are not going to insult or deal cheap blows, which is sadly the usual way of behaving in the Congress of Deputies. And then they blame polarization, as if it were an imposition of contemporary politics that decent people cannot escape.
For the style of knife between the teeth and bloodshot eyes with which the right is currently handled, Margallo’s performance was weak, because he did not denounce that Iglesias is the greatest danger to democracy since Stalin kept the Red Army in Europe from East. He did not even mention Venezuela, the word that comes out of the mouth of the leaders of the PP to nothing that is heated.
The former minister is like that. It is very from the Rajoy school with something more mordant. A few fine touches of foil and that was it. A reference to a book by the former Podemos leader that began with a long quote from Robespierre. On the right you mind Robespierre and he is already feeling his neck. “His idea of democracy is the people’s democracies” (for Eastern Europe in the time of communism), he said later. Iglesias responded quickly: “The Popular Party was founded by seven ministers of the dictatorship.” Ouch.
The issue of the price of electricity had to come out in a gathering on current affairs. It was also the matter in which the socialist ministers of the Government began to hold their breath when they learned of the appearance of Iglesias in the SER. There Iglesias was very skilled. He had a detail with each of the two parties that are part of the Government of which he was vice president.
Regarding the United We Can proposal to create a public energy company, which he has already taken to Congress as a bill, he said he supported it, but with an asterisk that seemed very large. “Is that possible in this coalition government? No.” Pedro Sánchez will surely have breathed a sigh of relief when they told him about it. Yolanda Díaz, too.
Iglesias did not leave his own stranded. He said that the current price is “a scandal” that is due to “the existence of the electricity oligopoly in Spain.” He specified that the Government can do more things in this regard, something that said like this does not sound very different from what Sánchez and Teresa Ribera have promised. And he also decisively supported Podemos’s proposal that the street move in favor of ambitious solutions. That is an idea that will have put Calviño and Ribera in an even worse mood. In that, Iglesias did not give in: “If there is no mobilization of civil society, this will be much more difficult, because it will not be enough for United We and other leftist forces to press.”
Podemos demands help from its voters to take to the streets with the intention of pressuring the Government to do what they believe it should do. It is also a way to get rid of responsibility. If people don’t demonstrate by the thousands, this is what you get.
In the end, Iglesias did not light any bonfire that could set the government seams on fire. The right wing would love to, and that’s a good reason for the former vice president to measure his words. But that won’t stop him from talking about whatever he wants and on the terms he chooses. That’s what social gatherings are for, right?