Saturday, September 25

Light and stenographers

About a hundred years ago, the president of the Council of Ministers, Antonio Maura, popularized the phrase “I, to govern, I do not need more than light and stenographers.” Surely the Government spokesman minister, aware of that anecdote, would come to mind the words of the conservative politician in the middle of the press conference after the Council of Ministers last Tuesday when surrounded by stenographers, journalists, had no more remedy to avoid as best he could the unpleasant questions on the star issue, light.

After the brilliance of the humanitarian action in Afghanistan, the stubborn reality confronts the Government with this star issue and the danger of being crashed appears, and not against the opposition, but within the coalition itself. There is no way to contain the runaway price of electricity, so Pedro Sánchez counteracts it with the announcement of the new increase in the interprofessional minimum wage. But there is a catch, the numbers. The minimum wage directly affects a not so large part of the population; indirectly, more. But the rise in the price of electricity, that unstoppable increase in the price of energy, affects 29 million customers, not all, but a vast majority.

The thing is clear, the Government is disappointed saying that the economy shows spring outbreaks, that the economic data for the second semester are going to be spectacular and that the future is promising. But those 29 million electric customers get jolt after jolt, month after month.

This week, in her appearance after the Council of Ministers, the government spokesperson and Minister of Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez, faced an unpleasant press conference. Half of the questions were about light. What happens to these journalists turned into the new stenographers? Are they not interested in that future of happiness and joy that opens with the recovery and European funds? Are you only interested in the bloody light?

In the appearance, she is accompanied by the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, and the Minister of Universities, Manuel Castells, who refers to the new Organic Law of the University System, and at the end of his presentation, very willing, says “here I have to answer each and every one of the questions and the details they want to know “. Well, there was no chance. Castells was not asked by God.

The Government spokesperson, an expert on the matter as a former spokesperson for the government of the Junta de Castilla La Mancha and also a regional spokesperson for the PSOE in the region, uses the old resource of calling journalists by name. “Go ahead, Almudena.” But Almudena, from TVE, well, she does not ask the Minister of Universities, or the Minister of the Presidency, who flank her, no, she does it directly to the spokesperson, and directly for the little topic. The light.

And what a question. What do you think that United We Can have asked to go out to the streets to mobilize against the rise in the price of electricity? The spokeswoman squirms in her seat. He does not like the topic or the question. But she uses her own initiative and says that she is a spokesperson for the Government, the entire government. Not a chunk, the whole stew, with all its sacraments. So remember what the minister of the branch Teresa Ribera said the day before, and go out as you can.

Next, he explains the manual, that “positive economic indicators translate immediately, as it cannot be less in a progressive government, in social welfare, in social cohesion” and he points out: “We have the complete vaccination schedule at 70%, and that allows us to think about the great subsequent actions “.

Very interesting. But no. Not. That journalists are not interested in the big subsequent actions. That they are interested in the price of electricity for now, tomorrow and next month. What a mania for these journalists to worry about today and not about the promising future.

Then more questions come, but the issue of light is still there and the appearance ends with pouts of disgust.

This is the problem of governing, that sometimes pleasant and manageable matters come to you, and other times unpleasant and complicated, or very complicated, to manage effectively and correctly.

And that of light is one of these and affects a huge majority of the population. Many of them, with limited resources, and worried that the receipt of the energy they consume does not stop growing. It also affects the CPI, which is out of control and, of course, the basic shopping basket, the heart of the long-suffering citizens and voters.

It is evident that with the light something has to be done. But the solution seems difficult. The Government moves token with this invitation to the companies affected by the cut in hydroelectric energy to renounce their concessions. But this government, which they accused of being communist and Bolivarian, has its hands tied in many respects like any democratic government and subject to European regulations. And, above all, it is seen in the need to manage an energy system that in recent decades, with government policies different from those of now, has changed in an ostensible way.

Endesa, which together with Iberdrola and Naturgy controls the Spanish electricity market, was born as the National Electricity Company in 1944, with a clear intention of trying to control a decisive strategic sector, that of energy. At that time it belonged to INI, to the State, today its main shareholder is the Italian Enel, controlled in a quarter by the Italian State.

In France, Électricité de France, EDF, was created in the same years as Endesa, in 1946, and is the largest electricity producer in France, but also in Europe. There, on the contrary, the French State dominates EDF with more than 80% of the share capital.

Minister Teresa Ribera, who asks “social empathy” from insensitive profit generators (Endesa achieved a profit of 491 million euros in the first quarter of 2021), talks about the possibility of creating a public company to manage the hydroelectric concessions that go breaking free, as proposed by the partner of the coalition government, United We Can. This “concession system” or “public company” would allow the Executive “to intervene or facilitate another way of offering energy,” Ribera said. But that seems difficult to get going in four days.

It is true that the problem of light is an inherited problem, of those powders …, and such and such. But that something will have to be done, it results from a crystal clear. There are structural and decisive issues, and that of energy and its impact on the pockets of citizens, future voters, is not trivial.

This same week, the secretary general of the United We Can parliamentary group in Congress, Txema Guijarro, specified that they are necessarycourageous measures to combat this rise “ and added that “the PSOE shows a lack of ambition” in this matter. Another item, he encouraged that “citizens have to mobilize and have to warn so that the Government moves in that direction.”

Mobilization, taking of streets, revolution. It seems that Rajoy is in charge, but no, there is Sánchez, in coalition with Podemos. We are amazed at the revolutionary spirit that inflames political life, and there appears the “profiteer” on duty that Rajoy would say, invested as a revolutionary, Teodoro García Egea, who from the Popular Party states: “They came to raise taxes on the rich, and Now rich is the one who can pay his electricity bill. ”

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