Monday, February 26

The five horsemen of anti-politics in Congress

The Popular Party has given us an overwhelming episode of anti-politics during the debate and vote on the labor reform. It is a usual tactic of the extreme right to sow chaos to discredit parliamentarism and entangle politics with its tricks. We have discovered that the most trapped in this tangle is the PP. These were his five ways to do anti-politics on Thursday:

one.- not accept the result of a vote. Parliamentary rules are based on scrupulous respect for voting, which is why the voting procedure is strictly included in all parliaments, even in its most pedestrian aspects. For example, in Congress, the president of the Chamber asks the ushers to close the doors, before voting begins. It seems like a domestic whim (“close, there is current”), but if they are not closed, no vote is taken. It is a guarantee and makes the moment sacred. Democracy is sublime, it is based on beautiful abstract ideas, such as the popular will, representation, the equality of all citizens. But it is also prosaic, and in its most prosaic version it becomes simple arithmetic, just at voting time. You can have the most generous ideas and the noblest spirit: if you miss a vote, you lose. If you have it, you win. Point.

two.- evil lose. The acceptability of defeat is an essential part of the creed of any democrat: it is arithmetic sublimated; an abstract idea that becomes mundane with each vote. There is no democracy worthy of the name in which some do not win sometimes and others sometimes. If this is not the case, as was the case in Mexico, where for more than seventy years the same party (the PRI) always won, a democracy is less so. The bad loss of the PP has run amok since 2019, to the point of considering the President of the Government elected by Congress to be illegitimate. And this delegitimization, far from wearing down the government, is destroying the parliamentary institution. Having a bad loss is equivalent to rejecting what the citizens have voted for, because democracy will be imperfect, but the alternatives are much worse.

3.- Foist the errors of a party to Congress of the deputies. Instead of admitting that deputy Casero made a mistake when voting, the PP affirms that the error was computerized. It is very serious: attributing the error to Congress means questioning the digital voting system, that is, the tool thanks to which we trust in the rigor of the voting procedure. If all groups discredited the computer tool every time they lost, what would happen? Simple: we citizens would end up mistrusting the system. As a deputy that I have been, I have been wrong, at least that I remember, on one occasion: during the vote on 3,000 amendments to Rajoy’s General State Budgets. The parliamentarian who has never made a mistake cast the first stone. With the same forcefulness I affirm: every deputy knows that, once the button has been pressed -whether in person or online-, there is no turning back, even if you have voted in favor of resurrecting Hitler yourself by practicing mouth-to-mouth breathing on the lost skull of he.

4.- Prevent Congress from being able to resolve the situation by himself. By appealing the result of the vote and the phantasmagorical error before the Constitutional Court, even knowing it was lost beforehand, the PP and Vox once again sow distrust. The Congress has its regulations, its Table, its Board of spokespersons, its general secretary, its lawyers. All of them – politicians and jurists – are in charge of resolving the conflicts that arise on a day-to-day basis. The TC is an additional and extraordinary guarantee, not the recourse to the kicking of the bad losers. Using it, knowing that there is, neither by regulation nor by precedent, any possibility of winning, conveys that the Chamber is not working, that something is wrong. It raises doubts about the institution and those who run it, who are, after all, the deputies themselves. In short, it undermines it.

5.- Downgrading the “vote in conscience” to tacticism: he does not go any further in sowing mistrust. The PP did it by breaking another party, in this case UPN, attracting its deputies to the position popular, without them failing to invoke their convictions and blah, blah, blah. Throughout Thursday, the two UPN parliamentarians assured journalists, deputies and members of the Government that they would vote in favor of the labor reform, as their party requested, despite not agreeing with it. Instead of announcing their true vote and explaining it, they deceived everyone to deprive the government of its legitimate negotiating capacity, in a maneuver evidently agreed upon with the PP. From freedom of conscience they passed into the mud of seedy tactics. All this, with the little excuse of the rights and real wages of 20 million workers. I can’t think of a better way to finish off the glorious day of the PP at the service of anti-politics.