There are days when things happen in the Senate. This Tuesday was one of them. The Upper House is not used to the noise. Senators here, advisers there. “Plumillas” and cameras everywhere and a melee between first swords. It was Feijóo’s fault. He challenged Sánchez to a face-to-face meeting on the economic crisis at the beginning of this political term, and the president accepted. Next time he will think better of it. Because it all ended in a colossal shaking of the president to his main rival. Because of the forcefulness of his words, because of the doubts that he planted about his solvency and bad faith and because of his abuse, it must also be said that he made the regulations. Whoever is in power has no time limit on his interventions. Who aspires to have it, he has it appraised. And so replicas of up to 45 minutes were heard to interventions of only 15. Nothing, on the other hand, that Feijóo himself did not do when he was president of the Xunta and debated with his opponents.
And he is not lacking in parliamentary experience, even before entering the Plaza de la Marina Española, the leader of the PP had already let his people know that he did not aspire to win, but to tie, which is the same as giving up before the match. What he did not know is that, in addition to not imposing himself on the head of government, he was going to receive a string of blows. And it is that if in his first speech President Sánchez went up to the rostrum to string together a speech in a presidential tone, measured, contained and directed at citizens to let them know that times of economic uncertainty are coming in which they will have to be prepared “for what worse”, in the second he stripped off the institutional corset and entered without a brake, straight to the jugular. The objective was none other than to unmask a Feijóo who leads all the polls. Thus, a long electoral campaign of 16 months is inaugurated until the next general elections are held.
The president gave clues as to what his strategy will be from now on: approve all the social measures that are necessary for as long as it takes to protect the middle and working classes from the crisis; put the PP in front of the mirror of his own reality – which is, in his opinion, that of a leader who is not what he seemed to be – and refute every false or inaccurate piece of information. Before, he cleared up any doubt about the catastrophism that the right encourages in the face of the energy crisis: “There will be no electricity blackouts, no rationing of butane cylinders, no apocalyptic scenes that encourage from the right and far right bench”, assured.
Camba said that the worst defect of Parliament is rhetoric because there is much talk there to say nothing. This time it was not the case of Sánchez, who said and said a lot this Tuesday. About the energy crisis, about the increase in prices, about the war, about the electricity companies, about banking and about Feijóo. Especially Feijóo, whom he accused of playing with the fear of the population and offering an apocalyptic vision of the economic situation and of believing, like the energy companies and the financial entities, that Spain belongs to him and that the popular will does not prevail.
The parliamentary meeting, initially convened to discuss the energy crisis and its consequences, turned into a constant shake of the opposition leader. The president took the opportunity to dismantle his story, talk about his mistakes, despise his proposals and confront his data. And between one question and another, repeat up to a dozen times with the same question: “Is this insolvency or is it bad faith?
Sánchez broke down Feijóo’s positions one by one in a clear attempt to put an end to his image of moderation and solvency, despite his four absolute majorities in Galicia, and present him before the Chamber and public opinion as a politician who was not at all prepared to assume the Presidency of the Government. And he did it, relentlessly, in the following way:
“In March, he said that the Government of Spain was lining up, when the bulk of the income from those taxes went to the Autonomous Communities. Is that insolvency or bad faith? In April he proposed a deduction for investments that had already been approved. Insolvency or bad faith? He also said that in rural Galicia no taxes are paid. It is false, it is disrespectful and he shows that his knowledge of taxes is fair. Is this insolvency or bad faith? In addition, he has said that the Government cannot raise pensions due to the spending rule when pensions do not fall under the spending rule. Insolvency or bad faith? He says that the Government exchanges votes for checks and in the same interview he proposes checks for young people. He asks to increase free textbooks and the first measure he took in Galicia is to remove aid for textbooks. I allow myself to recommend that you surround yourself with good advisors”
He would say even more when he equated the leader of the PP with the interests of the energy companies and the banks and accused the right wing of trying to boycott the Iberian exception in Europe, which, according to what he stated, has already allowed companies and families to save 2,000 million euros in the electric bill. “Mr. Feijóo, you are going to fail as Mr. Casado failed. You may act with insolvency or bad faith, but you do not forget who put you, which were the large energy corporations, ”an increasingly inclement Sánchez settled while his adversary crumpled at times in his seat.
The parliamentary debut of who was president of the Galicians for almost fifteen years hardly served him to string together a few mantras against the Government and defend himself against some of the attacks that Sánchez had made: “To say that the companies have put me is a insult to Spanish democracy and to the militants and sympathizers of the PP. You call me insolvent. I have read the resumes of some ministers. It took me a few seconds to do it. And I have seen that you, before becoming president, were an opposition councilor in Madrid. What an experience!”
For the rest, nothing new under the national sun: that if Sánchez can count on his support to complete the mandate as long as he breaks with United We Can, ERC and Bildu; that Spain “does not deserve a volatile, oversized and subdued government”; what if “the swerves”; what if the “improvisation”… And everything, after presenting himself as the victim of a campaign of insults by the Government, which brand him as “ignorant”, “catastrophist” or “trumpist”, ask Sánchez to stop governing with ideological “prejudices” and urgently present a new energy model and say that “no is no” is the “only immutable principle” in the president’s political career. That was it.
Debate or electoral campaign?