Goethe used to say that speaking is a necessity and listening is an art. José Luis Escrivá is one of those ministers who speak infinitely more than they listen. So much so that he hardly leaves space for his interlocutors. So much so that sometimes it seems that he doesn’t even listen to himself. Or if. It depends. His detractors maintain that the Minister of Social Security always knows what he says, that he never gives a stitch without a thread and that behind what he maintains there is often an ulterior motive. Clearer: they attribute spurious reasons to it. Its defenders believe that it has remarkable technical qualities, although no political ability, and that it is only for that reason that it does not measure, does not calibrate and does not hit with its public manifestations. In other words, everything is limited to a philosophical debate on the matter and his lack of experience in the public sphere.
What they do agree on is that he rarely thinks before speaking and that the gift of opportunity does not adorn him. And it is that this Monday he has rolled it again. Again, with pensions, an extremely sensitive issue for the progressive electorate and compared to the one that the Government achieved with the social partners, last July, the first major pact signed in ten years within the framework of social dialogue.
Escrivá has set off the alarms just the week in which the PP will defend in the Congress of Deputies an amendment to the entire reform of the pension system, which was endorsed by CEOE, Cepyme, CCOO and UGT and whose recommendations were also supported by the party of Pablo Casado in the commission of the Pact of Toledo.
The fact is that the minister has defended, in an interview with the newspaper ARA, a “cultural change” to work more between 55 and 75 years of age, discourage early retirement and stimulate the prolongation of working life beyond the age legal. There is nothing. Work until 75! That was the immediate translation of his words, which took all the headlines and morning gatherings. They call that, in football slang, scoring an own goal or, in other words, giving arguments to the contrary.
The Government had to go out quickly to silence what it understood was nothing more than a “philosophical debate that is not on the Government’s agenda” and the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, to ask her colleague from the Council of Ministers for “prudence”. The same did the deputy secretary general of the PSOE, Adriana Lastra, and the parliamentary spokesman, Héctor Gómez, to quell the fire caused by the Minister of Social Security. The mess forced Escrivá to write on your Twitter account that his statements had been “taken out of context” and that in no case had he raised the need to work until he was 75.
It is not the first time that the minister is forced to rectify his positions or “philosophical reflections” on the matter. The echo of his words still resounds in La Moncloa the day after the signing of the pact signed at the social dialogue table on pensions so that those born in the baby boom generation (between 1958 and 1977) would work a little more not to see affected your retirement. On that occasion, the president of the Government himself had to go out to disallow his occurrence and he, admit that he had not had his best day. Of course, as on this occasion, he said that the problem was that he had been misunderstood. When a public official is always misunderstood, there are only two reasons: either that he does not know how to express himself or that everyone is an idiot. And the world is full of people who, without having Escrivá’s technical qualifications, perfectly understand the meaning of words.
Something, therefore, happens with Escrivá, who is not the most popular minister either among social agents or among parliamentary groups. The PNV without going any further warned him weeks ago that “darts would fall from all corners” if he did not already order the transfer of the minimum income to the Basque Executive, as agreed during the negotiation to approve the royal decree that he put into help march. And unions and employers accuse him of the delay in the extension of the ERTE for two consecutive absences from his department at the negotiating table.