We are living through the first days of the campaign, although the popular issues of these elections have been flying like chemtrails on economic management and social measures: sanchismo as a framework that brings together all national evils, the ghost of squatting in the face of the real problem of access to housing, the instrumentalization of ETA, conspiracy theories about drought and the appropriation of land water, the use and abuse of the Falcon or radical feminism mark the political and media agenda.
In the two main cities of Spain, Madrid and Barcelona, a kind of posh populism has also flourished that reminds the main parties that the upper class also votes, with more joy and self-confidence and much more united than the working class. The discourse of some political leaders is openly aimed at satisfying that sector of the citizenry that knows that the secret to success is to start at the top. Are there more posh measures than suppressing the inheritance tax or giving public scholarships to wealthy families so that they can take their children to private schools? No, but unite the vote of the rich and the middle class aspirational (in the words of Woody Allen) can lead to victory.
In Madrid, posh populism originated in the pandemic, in the caceroladas in the Salamanca neighborhood led by good people and their service personnel (“we treat the girl as one of the family”), an example of how the posh ones are geniuses of parody and the archetype. The mobilization of those days continues, as could be seen in the last Mutua Madrid Open, where what mattered least was tennis and Carlos Alcaraz’s game was the excuse to be seen with his peers and shout “Long live Ayuso ”, “Long live Spain” “Hala Madrid” or “Que venga Bolaños”. This Madrid-style populism has appropriated signifiers such as “freedom”, is based on a supposed resistance against a “totalitarian government” and has as its symbol a terrace located on the tree well of a felled tree. As the journalist and writer Marc Giró, author of posh. Practical Guide, one of the natural habitats of the Madrid posh is the terrace. For a reason, the epicenter of the Madrid freedom of José Luis Martínez-Almeida and Isabel Díaz Ayuso is Ponzano, a street of just over 1,000 meters that houses more than 70 bars with their corresponding terraces.
In Barcelona they are not far behind: the posh Catalans are all from Barcelona or end up in Barcelona, even if they have a house in Girona or in the Pre-Pyrenees. The Junts candidate for mayor, Xavier Trias, embodies the neo-convergent bourgeois spirit well, formally more discreet than the Madrid posh. He summed it up in one sentence Oriol Maspons, photographer of the gauche divine and of the fauna of Tuset Street: “We are classists, as God commands”. We owe Trias the visibility of the problems of tresmileuristas, the astonishment of those who discover public transport for the first time and the vindication of the private car as the protagonist of the city, another unequivocal sign of posh populism. It does not matter that only 250,000 Barcelonans earn more than 3,000 euros a month, according to data from the Els Salaris a Barcelona 2021 report. They are less than 15% of the 1.63 million people who live in the city but they are the traditional pijerío, the one that popularized the character Tito B. Diagonal, by Jordi Estadella, the one who lives in what Marc Giró calls Upper Diagonal. The only Barcelona district with a monthly average of more than 3,000 euros is that of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, a traditional convergent vote barn but in which Ciudadanos won in the last municipal elections. The fact that Ruïna and Kubo, the two occupied blocks of Bonanova, have become the leading issue in the municipal campaign is largely due to the situation of the neighbourhood, which belongs to this Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district, and the commitment of the Ciudadanos candidate, Anna Grau, who has been calling protests every Tuesday since March. The irruption of Desokupa and the extreme right has deactivated this prefabricated conflict, but both Trias and Grau know who they are addressing.
To those who at this point say that the label “posh” has become outdated, you just have to remind them that the posh claim it without shame and that politicians as opposed as Isabel Díaz Ayuso and Pablo Iglesias use it to attack their adversaries, who Coincidentally they are the same, the candidates for Más Madrid. The posh is not made, it is born, but it can be from the right or from the left. Rita Maestre knows this since she came up with the idea of narrating her wedding in Las Vegas in an interview and she brought the issue of “posh communism” (Ayuso’s words) into the campaign. Salvador Pániker said in his yellow notebook that the posh are recognized by three traits: “One, phonetics. Two, the mixture of intellectual limitation and a candor that gives them a strange self-confidence. Three, an instinctive sense of aesthetics. When they say ‘this piece of furniture there’ they are infallible”. Pániker was wrong, because many posh ones are tremendously funny and intelligent and some have no aesthetic sense, but on the subject of phonetics he was absolutely right. There is nothing more characteristic of the posh than that speech that originates halfway between the throat and the nose and ends in a muddy pronunciation. If you close your eyes, Rita Maestre reminds you of Tamara Falcó, the country’s posh official, but the key is to view this matter with humor and without prejudice. You just have to remember that when they explained progressive ideals to Tamara, she said: “I’m a little touched by being on the left, because it’s all good. So what is being on the right?
We still do not know if the result of these municipal and regional elections will be to the liking of the posh left and right, but we do know that one of the causes of the increase in inequality is the growing tendency not to leave our social group, either because we want to voluntarily stay in our bubble, good because the social elevator has definitely broken down. The grace of our democracy is that we live under the constitutional consensus that all people, wherever they were born, have the right to housing, education, work and healthcare. All the citizens. Even the posh