Monday, March 20

Will the ridicule of Tamames be the Murcia of Vox?

Hello, how was your week?

At Vox they are not very happy with (which fills us with pride and satisfaction, why deny it). Our colleague Carmen Moraga got an exclusive that has marked the political debate these days: the speech of the motion of censure by Ramón Tamames. All the pages of the last draft, which we have published in full.

Never before in a motion of no confidence in Spain had the candidate’s speech been uncovered before he delivered it. These are things that do not usually happen because the parties keep this type of paper like gold in cloth: nobody wants to give clues to the rest of the parliamentarians, nor does it take away from the novelty of the premiere. So Carmen Moraga has received hundreds of well-deserved congratulations for the exclusive (from the editorial staff of and also from others, because as well as being a good journalist, she is a stupendous person).

I confess that we had our doubts with this story. When Carmen arrived with the paper, we were a bit dizzy. What if it was a hoax? What if it was a trap to discredit us? In our paranoia, we came to appreciate that it could be a fake made with Chat GPT or some other artificial intelligence tool.

We left doubts for several reasons. The main one, due to the credibility of the source that had passed the paper to Carmen (a secret that the journalists involved in this story will take with us to the grave). And also by the text itself. There were condensed all the obsessions, speeches and ideas of Tamames in his last years. It was too real to be fake. It was too laborious to fake it.

Before posting, we did a lot of checking. We always do them. Our deputy director Andrés Gil reviewed the speech and found among the paragraphs some passages that Tamames had repeated on other occasions. In addition, the candidate revealed the dates of when he had started to write it: they coincided with the days of February in which he decided to accept the commission from Santiago Abascal.

Then we tried to ask Tamames. We will call you. He didn’t pick up the phone. We write to you. He read our messages, but did not reply. We also asked Vox. They didn’t say anything either. We only get silence. Silence gives consent? Or were they waiting for us to crash?

On Wednesday night we published the news. By then, we were already certain that the document was authentic, and not a forgery. We had checked all the available clues: we even looked at the metadata of the document, through a computerized appraisal.

We knew it was good. That it was the entire speech or at least one of the last drafts. But we began to worry about something else. What if Vox falsely accused us that we had made it up?

Publishing exclusives is punishable?

We already breathed more relief when that same night we heard an interview with Tamames on an ultra radio station that I hardly knew (how many right-wing media are there in Spain and why do more continue to come out every day?).

–How many pages are there?– Tamames asks when he hears the news.

–31–, they answer

Damn, it’s today’s version.

Here you can see the complete video of the moment in which the Vox candidate discovers that we have published his entire speech. “Will this be punishable?” Tamames wonders, who for a while threatens to take us to court for “copyright.” It seems that until that day he didn’t know much about us.

– Who is it? – asks Tamames

–, yes, the podemites–, answers the presenter.

I want to thank that man from that radio station, whom I don’t know at all, for at least this time not calling us coup plotters or philoetarras. That was done by Federico Jiménez Losantos, the next day in the morning, even more angry. He also called me “preschool”. You know how this right is: even with nicknames, they act like schoolyard bullies.

Vox’s Murcia

That we have published this speech in has finished transforming the motion of censure into a complete grotesque. Iñigo Sáenz de Ugarte, in one of his chronicles, sums it up with one of his wild metaphors: for Vox, this is becoming an “exercise as annoying as undergoing a colonoscopy with an audience that comments on the play with great fanfare.”

Esther Palomera, in this wonderful article, recalls some episodes from Tamames’ past that should be reviewed today. Like her role as a defector in the motion of no confidence from the right in the Madrid City Council in 1987: she supported her two years after having been the mayoral candidate for Izquierda Unida.

Today something is evident: the tremendous wear and tear that this motion of no confidence is causing for Vox. That every day is more ridiculous, that it can end up being very expensive for this game.

A question, which I have not stopped thinking about these last days. And if this grotesque vote of no confidence ends up becoming the Murcia of Vox? And if it leaves a huge gap in this party, like that failed vote of no confidence in Murcia that destroyed Ciudadanos forever?

The ability of the right-wing press to sink ships that no longer serve it has been well demonstrated. Even more so when it is those parties themselves who provide the necessary ammunition.

The man in black who endorses the pension reform

The man in the photo is called Declan Costello, today we tell his story. Very few know him. Nobody has voted for him. He is a technician: an economist. But he commands more than most politicians.

This Irishman is number two in the Directorate General for the Economy of the European Commission. He has always worked there: he started in 1991. And a decade ago he headed the troika mission in Greece. He was the head of the ‘men in black’, the technicians who applied the savage cuts to the Greeks during the euro crisis.

Today he is still a person as unknown as he is powerful. He has been the main negotiator with whom the minister José Luis Escrivá has had to fight for Brussels to approve the pension reform in Spain. Declan Costello was the one who had to say if the Spanish proposal was sustainable or not: if the numbers added up.

The man in black has said yes: that the Spanish plan is viable. And the Spanish right? Well, you see it: accusing a reform whose numbers validate even the most supportive technicians of the cuts as a “patch” and “botch with false data”.

What is journalism for?

An example from this week. On Tuesday, our colleague Pol Pareja revealed that a professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona convicted of sexually harassing a doctoral student was still teaching at the faculty. Like nothing.

The harassment suffered by this victim lasted two years. Touching, emotional blackmail, abuse of power… During the trial, another of her students denounced similar previous behaviors. The professor, according to the sentence, took advantage of his academic ancestry and the power he had over his victim’s doctoral thesis, which ended with an anxiety crisis.

After publishing the news, the university came out to accuse us of being “sensationalists”. But other professors began to mobilize in the face of this scandal and the students went out to protest in the courtyard, accusing the UAB of “covering up” this professor.

In the afternoon, a few hours after our news was published, the university announced that it was removing him from classes.

The head of Equality at the UAB Faculty of Sciences, where this professor worked, resigned the following day. Her resignation letter is quite clear:

“I can only demonstrate my incomprehension and my anger for not having been able to be as convincing as an article in the newspaper about the need to eradicate this professor from our Faculty” (…) “This team has shown that it lacks courage to make important decisions when it’s time to”.

Another example of the usefulness of journalism. On Monday, we published an investigation by our colleague Daniel Cela: we uncovered that the Andalusian government had hand-allocated 117 million euros to private clinics, taking advantage of a decree for covid contracts that had already been repealed.

The next day, the Andalusian government had to cancel these contracts by hand. So a single piece of news from has cost these private centers a million (as always, making friends). You can also sign up for the medal, because it is also a merit of all the people who support our work and make it possible for these things to happen.

A round of applause for Rafael

I rarely watch TV, but I find out from my classmates who Rafa Castaño is: the winner of the last donut in the famous ‘Pasapalabra’ contest. He has taken 2.2 million euros, the highest jackpot in the history of the program. But beware, the figure is before taxes. Being such a high amount, a good pinch is kept by the Treasury.

“It seems good to me that, being a great beneficiary of education and public health, I also contribute with my own,” Rafa explains to our colleagues from Vertele, who have interviewed him. “That people do not suffer for me, because I am going to keep 1,200,000 euros. I mean, I don’t have any problem.”

Well that, Rafael. What congratulations on the award. And also my applause for explaining in such a simple way what taxes are for. Pay a million euros? It is not usually a problem. But the pleasant consequence that things are going very well for you.

Yesterday I was in Huesca, at the closing ceremony of the Journalism Congress that I have been attending for more than twenty years (the first time was in 2001, and I have only been absent three times since then). I was chatting at the closing with Aimar Bretos, the director of Hora 25 on Cadena SER. We talk about journalism, young people and the new and old newsrooms. I think it was an interesting conversation. If you are curious, you can listen to it here.

Oh, and one last recommendation! We are launching a podcast about Julio Anguita, which our colleagues from Cordópolis have led. The authors are Marta Jiménez Zafra and José María Martín, who have done an exceptional job, speaking with a lot of people who knew him first-hand: Iñaki Gabilondo, Yayo Herrero, Yolanda Díaz, Carmen Calvo, Felipe Alcaraz, Pablo Iglesias, Alberto Garzón, Javier Arenas… I’ve already heard it and I’m sure you’re interested.

I’ll leave it here for today. I don’t know how I do it, every day I have these longer letters. I hope you liked it and have a good weekend. And thanks for reading me!

A hug,

Ignatius School

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