Pablo Casado gave it courage by inviting Mariano Rajoy to give the first speech at the Popular Party convention held this week. In the first place, the invitation went from unimaginable to possible when Judge García Castellón decided to exonerate the former president of responsibilities in the judicial investigation of Operation Kitchen (the decision is pending appeal in the National Court). When it was known to what extent the Ministry of the Interior of his Government was involved in alleged corrupt practices to benefit the PP, the current leadership of Casado distanced itself from Rajoy at dizzying speed. Later, the great favor that came from the magistrate, in addition to a relief, opened the possibility of inviting him and giving that image of great unity in the party that is the priority in the PP conventions.
Party congresses are a nuisance that must be postponed for as long as possible. The conventions are mounted for the greater glory of the leader and Casado needs this week’s appointment.
The part that involved a certain risk now with Rajoy is that it was about talking about economic policy. You never know where the Galician is going to come out. It is known that the way in which Rajoy contemplates politics and even life – the important thing is not to complicate his existence and flee from “problems” – collides with Casado’s hyperactive and obsessive spirit and his idea that he has solutions for everything and they are also very easy to carry out. So the grandfather had the opportunity to give some lessons to the grandson. Kid, don’t think this is all about reaching out and kissing the saint, even if it’s Santiago.
The PP has boasted on many occasions that it will have to fix the mess left by Pedro Sánchez, as they did after the 2011 elections. The small print is more complicated. Obviously, the decision of the Government of Rajoy to raise all taxes caused perplexity in the PP at first and then discomfort when it lasted several years. The finance minister who executed her, Cristóbal Montoro, responded with his typical half smile when they commented on the attacks he received from Esperanza Aguirre and other PP leaders and made it clear that those who criticized him did not know what they were talking about.
Even in November 2019, when Casado kept saying that taxes had to be reduced, the former minister was far removed from the voracious fiscal neoliberalism of the new leaders of his party: “You can’t promise to lower all taxes, it is not credible and the public knows that it is so. A good politician is aware that sometimes it is better not to talk about what you are going to do than to promise something that you will not be able to fulfill. “He said it a few months before the start of the pandemic that forced all States to spend amounts incredible amounts of public money so the economy doesn’t sink further.
Casado should not have read that interview, because he does not stop promising tax cuts while at the same time warning that the public deficit will have to be reduced.
In the opening ceremony of the convention in Santiago de Compostela, Rajoy did not go as far as Montoro. But he did communicate to the little one ‘padawan’ With whom he shared the stage –Married– that life gives you many surprises and that sometimes it forces you to do what you don’t want to do. “We raised taxes ten days after coming to power. There was no other option,” he explained.
If they did it against their will, there is no doubt that the result was the product of the convert’s fury. The media spoke of “tax hatchet.” All existing taxes were raised and new ones were even created to raise more money in a context of total economic emergency. Almost a year later, the balance did not admit of doubts: “The PP is the party that increases the most taxes It has been carried out in the fiscal history of this country, due to a higher collection volume and in less time “, it was read in the press.
To differentiate what a party says in the opposition and what it then does in the Government, nothing better than the phrases of Rajoy himself in March 2010 against the VAT increase decreed by the Zapatero Government: “The VAT increase is nonsense in a situation like the one we are living in Spain. “He even mounted a campaign to collect signatures throughout Spain against the increase. In a later sentence that he liked a lot because he repeated it several times, he described it as” a blast from a bad ruler to the citizens. “Then reality came and he had to eat all the signatures and wield the saber.
What does Rajoy have to say about the current reality? Probably without intending it, he questioned the fiscal chainsaw with which Casado wants to enter Moncloa. After praising the ICO and ERTE aid, even regretting that there have not been more direct aid to companies with public funds in the pandemic, the former president affirmed that “we must start working on reducing the public deficit.” How this can be reconciled with the tax reduction promised by the PP is a mystery at the level of the Holy Trinity. It is easier to use the Laffer curve and other necromantic experiments.
Rajoy admitted that the European Union is not currently applying the stability pact, which would force governments to reduce the deficit, “but it can do so again soon.” The key is to define that “soon” and from the outset the date will have to do with the type of government that is formed in Germany in the coming months. And many other factors that neither Rajoy nor anyone knows now.
Casado smiled a lot while Rajoy spoke. Not that I was listening to him. It was worth having it next to him in an image that a few months ago seemed impossible. The convention is designed to show that everything is about cinema in the PP, although the reality is that the latest CIS poll is not the only one that reveals that the party’s growth is no longer what it seemed after the Madrid elections.
Reality is very used to stopping politicians who believe that life is smiling on them. That Rajoy knows very well and it is something that Casado will have time to discover.