The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, did not go over to greet the candidate Ramón Tamames after the end of the censure motion.
This gesture of parliamentary courtesy shows that we are dealing with an autocrat with no empathy whatsoever. For him there are no adversaries, only political enemies.
To accuse the old professor of not respecting Parliament is an indignity befitting a cut-and-paste doctor who is as afraid of losing his Falcon as he is of losing power. As Inés Arrimadas warned Cuca Gamarra in Feijóo's absence, "the president is a danger to Spain, but he is not politically dead".
The result was expected. VOX's 52 votes were joined by that of former Ciudadanos deputy Pablo Cambronero. Patxi López's disrespectful tone confirms that the PSOE is still installed in the war of '34 and '36.
The electoral campaign has begun. Sánchez has launched Yolanda Diaz as the PSOE's white brand to divide Podemos. Arrimadas has been the shining star of this motion. Professor Tamames lamented precisely the lack of consensus among all political forces when what matters is Spain.
The debate marks a before and after in the national panorama. The results of this parliamentary initiative will be seen on 28-M at 8 pm. Sixty-five days to change history.
Spring has begun with a government with no direction, an opposition with no direction and a citizenry that is fed up, painfully fed up, with listening to too much noise, too much fury and endless hatred while having trouble making ends meet.
There is no respite for hope. The concord of the Transition is impossible.
One thought the leaking of the professor's speech was a mistake. But no; I have learned that the president always acts like a robot. He reads the first, second and third stump without ever answering what he is asked. Even the candidate himself had to tell him without acrimony: why are you answering questions that I have not asked you? Asimov's first law of robotics should be applied to him: "Robots must have an emergency switch". Even if Sánchez is indomitable.
Those of us who follow him closely, who see that he never takes any notes, know that his radicalism and his lies are not going to change. They come from Moncloa.
He lied when he accused the PP of having frozen pensions; Rajoy lowered them to 0.25% after the ruinous management of ZP who did freeze them in 2010. Don Pedro lies - forgive me for repeating myself - beyond his means.
He also knowingly lied when he accused Abascal of having insulted him while he was acting as the opening act. He is the professional insulter. Lean: "Vox is the glutamate (the flavour) that the PP needs".
The leader of the "progressive and plurinational" majority again brought out the hate speech, the fury and the nothingness and reminded Tamames that VOX "is not the PCE or the CDS or Fraga's PP; those pushing their motion are the successors of Blas Piñar". Who today remembers the notary Don Blas?
As he pays monthly and religiously since 2018 to his Frankenstein majority (Podemos, ERC, Bildu, Compromís, PRC, Teruel Existe, CUP, PdCat, JxCat and other tides), he warned the green party that "the PP will pay in deferred its indecent abstention and will pay off the debt in June".
The indecent thing about the warning is that it is said by a guy who has unscrupulously made pacts with all the enemies of Spain and who abstained on Iglesias' motion against Rajoy in 2017. The right, the extreme right and the extreme right are no longer valid. It reminded us of the "Doberman" of Felipe and Guerra in 1996. Always a fixed point.
I confess that I had little confidence in this parliamentary initiative. In the light of the debate, I recognise my mistake. Young Tamames' diagnosis was correct. And someone with his moral authority had to tell the truth.
Santiago Abascal is better at replying without papers than reading the pages. He wasted 20 minutes accusing the media of mistreating him. Much of the blame has been his own and that of the party leadership for the few facilities they have given to journalists. I don't write at anyone's dictation and I don't charge in advance.
In the first reply and in the second, from his seat, the leader of VOX confirmed in substance and in form that what he is looking for are the votes of the centre.
Neither extreme right nor fascism nor bagpipes; from the bridge of moderation, he has taken advantage of this motion to fish in the troubled river and in the turbulent waters of Ciudadanos.
The president is right: they want to vote him out of the palatial residence on the road to La Coruña. And the alternative is to walk together. In the opposition, PP and VOX are complementary. Given the Frankenstein majority, it is normal after suffering for four interminable years under a government as extensive as it is wasteful and incompetent.
Abascal bluntly told Pedro Sánchez that "this is a suicidal legislature". When the president asked him to apologise to Belarra, Montero and "Pam" for having called them "crazy", the man from Bilbao replied: "After wishing me dead, I insist that they are frivolous, negligent, corrupt and totalitarian".
When Sánchez placed him close to the corruption of the PP, Santiago Abascal, smiled: "You talk to me about corruption? Remember the looting of the Bank of Spain, the Vita, the Gal, Filesa, Malesa, Cruz Roja, the Eres de Andalucía... the two convicted PSOE presidents... and Tito Berni".
The "voxista" leader also denounced the Trans Law, the Yes is Yes Law, the ban on exploiting our natural resources; he reminded the president that it took him four hours to deceive his voters and the three rulings of the Court of Guarantees against the confinement and closure of Parliament. "This did not happen in Poland or Hungary", the Basque politician pointed out. And finally he left this pearl in the Chamber: "We could not degrade this 14th Legislature more than you have done; you preside over the worst government of all Spanish democracy".
After the debate between the presenter and the President of the Executive, one had the impression that everything had been sentenced. But no; Professor Tamames offered some reflections, a very accurate diagnosis of the ills afflicting Spain.
He retraced his biography since 1957, recalled his cellmates in Carabanchel and admitted that he joined the PCE more for being anti-Franco than for being a communist. He vindicated the Transition from the Pactos de la Moncloa, the Magna Carta, the Parliamentary Monarchy, Hispano-America, and National Reconciliation.
He also recalled the ungovernability of the Republic (rebellion in Asturias, 1934); he blamed Largo Caballero - the Spanish Lenin - for encouraging the Civil War and justified his presence in Congress as "one of my last tributes to the future of our beautiful, turbulent and complicated country".
The economics professor, in his two days of glory - he is already in history at 89 years of age - considered it an obligation to defend the unity of the homeland. He accused Sánchez of not defending the Spanish language in Catalonia and acknowledged that this motion of censure should have been presented when the Penal Code was modified to favour secessionists, embezzlers and sex offenders. He rejected the government's attempt to control the judiciary. Then he worried about the environment, the lack of water, squatters, legal insecurity, SMEs, public spending and the lack of security on the streets.
Tamames did not discover the Mediterranean, but he showed that Sanchez's propaganda is not easily digested. He had the courage to throw the 'Tito Berni case', housed in Congress itself, and the scandalous silence on the handover of Western Sahara to Morocco, without debate in Parliament, as well as the maintenance of the last European colony: Gibraltar.
The Prime Minister spent an hour and three quarters reading what his Moncloa scribes had prepared for him. So much so that he answered many questions that the aspirant had never asked him about. An abuse of the House's Rules of Procedure that would have to be corrected in order to be on an equal footing.
Sánchez repeats his mantras because he finds it hard to sell damaged goods. "We have wasted a lot of time", Mr. President, the presidential doctoral candidate told him: "Asimov in those 105 minutes would have explained the Republic and the entire Roman Empire".
Minister Yolanda Díaz was anointed by Don Pedro to herd the flock to the left of the left. It was her morning of glory. She can't abstract for a second from the workers, comrades, everyone... We have never seen her reciting such a long text. She talks on and on, but she doesn't really know what she's saying. She mixes the "churras" with the "meninas", exaggerating that 4 out of 10 jobs in the EU are created by Spain and that we are the most competitive and exporting country of the 27. Any day now she counts one by one all the permanent unemployed and, by the way, she explains how much the "pax sanchista" with CCOO and UGT is costing us.
She took advantage of her opportunity and was very grateful to the Big Boss (Sánchez is the leader of the mesnadas), to the sub-chief (Calviño), to her intimate enemies and close party colleagues, Belarra and Montero, to Garzón, to Subirat-Colau and to the disappeared of the "Negreira case" (Iceta).
It was clear that the text had been written outside his department, perhaps by the Egyptian scribes of Escrivá (de Balaguer) or Bolaños.
He went on at length about increases in the minimum wage and pensions, scholarships, dependency, feminism, the environment, the shopping basket and social dialogue (with his "vertical" trade unions, naturally).
Yolanda, the escapist, is already Mr Pérez-Castejón's number one fan. Some collaborator recommended to him that the Epi y Blas style of "amigos y amigas, todos y todas, tengo muchas cosas que deciros en Magariños, Madrid, el domingo 2 de abril; os espero", was not the most correct tone. It is no coincidence that the demiurge Patxi appointed her as second president.
The problem with this lady is that she has been digitally appointed for the second time: once by Iglesias and now by Sánchez, two grizzly bear hugs to use her as electoral merchandise in a non-existent space on the left of the left. The left in this country is all podemite.
Maestro Tamames (candidate for president) thanked her for her speech and advised her: "Be more concise because I think you have set out your Sumar platform here".
It was not a good day for the Montero-Belarra duo who did not have a "role with a phrase" in this unusual event; Errejón had already signed up to Yolanda's bandwagon and Baldoví, discomposed, also joined in. In his intervention he seemed to be dancing with the ghost of Mónica Oltra. He exuded Mediterranean hatred like Rufián who called VOX militants "mice". Impressive.
Miriam Nogueras, the follower of the coward Puigdemont, - the one who pushed the national flag aside in the Press Room and got it for free -, went about her business: the "Pegasus" case and told of the contempt that this very transparent government showed to the MEPs who arrived in Madrid. Nobody from the government received them. What did you expect?
The PVN spent 20 minutes trying to discredit Tamames. Aitor Esteban, in a tavern-like manner, showed himself as never and as always: a neighbourhood bully. A weather vane. Apparently, the government of his admired Patxi López is betting on Bildu for its next coalitions in the Basque Country and Navarre. Let the PP take note.
I endured the whole debate stoically. The 10 hours of the first day were entertaining. I was once again amazed by her clarity of exposition, Inés Arrimada. Too much political talent for this lightning-stricken woman. She threatened to give 43 reasons against Sánchez. We counted ten. "We will never stop working to make politics look a little bit more like what Spaniards need", she began as if she were leading 58 orange deputies. The GPCS spokeswoman took advantage of the session to recall the great "hits" of this government.
"Pedro Sánchez", she said from the rostrum, "has been capable of incredible things such as bringing 100% of the ETA members to the Basque Country, at the request of Bildu, removing or imposing the obligatory mask according to his electoral interests, creating a Court of Auditors tailored to the coup plotters, to point out from the tribune of the Congress to media that are not related, to suppress the crime of sedition, to lower the crime of embezzlement, to persecute the concerted education and special education or to block 40 times the Law of the ELA while they maintain the most expensive government in history".
Pedro is unbelievable, dear Inés. You can't be more constructive in your criticism.
The centrist spokeswoman also pointed out that "a country that spends 50% of its budget on pensions and interest on debt cannot prosper", as well as proposing that "pensions can be indexed to wages in the short term. The basis of everything is the birth rate and families. With this government, fewer children are being born today. Today it is more difficult to reconcile work and make ends meet".
Their 9 votes against them matter little - how hard it is to ride on contradictions - but many citizens will be left stranded in no man's land, orphaned of a centrist programme necessary to uphold freedoms and the Constitution. Thank you, Inés, for still being here.
PP spokesperson Cuca Gamarra opened the session by disassociating herself from VOX and preaching the advent of Feijóo as the new redeeming Messiah. She did not explain her absence, which is difficult to justify. If he thinks the president is going to give him a gift, he is mistaken.
She accused the president of having "no authority to dismiss ministers and ministers without the dignity to resign". The next motion of censure will be at the ballot box; we are not going to vote for it out of respect for the Spanish people (sic) and we are not going to vote against it out of respect for you, Mr Tamames.
He appealed to the "Berni case", to the permanent presidential lies and asked: "What is left of the socialist party after Sanchismo?" Patxi López could have said to him: What do you care?
A neat and politically equidistant speech between VOX and PSOE as if neutrality at this moment was not a preventive surrender.
Patxi López closed his turn, fresh from the trenches of the battle of the Ebro. His anti-fascism, his excited tone and his defence of the most dogmatic so-called social-democratic left reminded us of the worst of Largo Caballero and Prieto combined. Don Julián Besteiro - even Alfonso Guerra - would be ashamed of him as spokesman for the PSOE. Even Mr Tamames recommended that he take "caffeine" to avoid a heart attack.
He is the new chiquilicuatre of Sanchismo. He will freeze our blood again with his new bilduetarras fellow travellers. "We are the left that fights for women and workers; we are the defenders of the people...", he shouted like a hooligan. And he ended by accusing the right of "travelling to the past".
Pedro Sánchez came to humiliate Dr Tamames; but he could not. His "tochos" produced in the Moncloa convinced no one. He left the hemicycle without shaking hands with his opponent after talking about constitutional fraud. He did indeed accede to power fraudulently in 2018. Do you remember the false sentence in the Gürtel case and the judge José Ricardo de Prada who brought about the motion of censure? You would like to forget it. We are here to remind this unprincipled and uneducated politician.
Beyond the result (53 votes in favour, 89 abstentions and 201 against), and beyond vanity, Ramón Tamames has given us all a masterclass in democracy. The Frankenstein roller - a guillotine really - was imposed without mercy or parliamentary courtesy. Don Ramón reproached the Hemicycle for turning into a permanent rally and left in the air a decalogue of pending subjects that we will have to approve together.
The unity of Spain, the defence of the Constitution, of dialogue, of the Transition, of the environment, of water; electoral reform, the impulse with Latin America - his proposal to create a university with the name of Machado-Neruda, his Parliamentary Prosecutor's Office beyond the tutelage of La Moncloa over the Parliament or the creation of urban volunteer vigilantes to detect and put out forest fires; The defence of the Sahara and Gibraltar and the condemnation of corruption - at that time the director of the Guardia Civil, María Gámez, resigned after her husband was prosecuted for his shady dealings in socialist Andalusia - are other ideas that have been buried in scorched earth by the noise of the separatist, aggressive and ultramontane left. Feminists were reminded of the role of Isabella the Catholic. Queen of Castile (1474-1504)
She admitted on several occasions that Spain is difficult to govern, yes; but what would happen if there were no monarch as head of state? The answer was written in the wind.
The Tamames-Abascal motion has awakened us from our comfortable winter of disenchantment and comfort. We live in times of division and uncertainty. The dilemma is simple: freedom versus populism.
Just a suggestion to the "young" defeated candidate: time is not passing, dear professor; we are passing.
*Antonio REGALADO runs BAHÍA DE ÌTACA in: