02/02/2021

An election campaign without discussing the pandemic or European funds?

2 min
The new hospital covid of the sanitary city of Bellvitge

There is no doubt that the election campaign for the February elections is the most atypical in the history of democracy, for a number of well-known reasons: basically, a cross between the pandemic, so harsh, and the judicialisation of the Independence bid, so vengeful. After a government without a president had decided to delay the date with the polls to ensure health safety, Catalonia's High Court has imposed the celebration on February 14 with the political argument that there is an "intense public interest" to hold them. We'll see how this intense interest translates into participation. In fact, for the time being, the polls suggest that abstention will rise sharply. An abstention that, on the other hand, given the way the campaign is going, will not decrease. Because the reality is that, despite being immersed in an unprecedented health and economic crisis, neither the one nor the other is the main concern of the political parties that are running for office. It is as if they were not aware that hospital care is at its limit, that health centres are overwhelmed, that delays in vaccination will only prolong the presence of the virus, that the number of daily deaths remains obscenely high and that many businesses have been forcibly closed due to restrictions - many of which will no longer be able to reopen -, that schools are barely weathering the storm of a school year with covid-19, that indispensable in-person attendance in the universities has practically disappeared, that there has been a visible increase in homelessness and poverty in the street... Because all this is hardly mentioned in the campaign.

How can this be? How can politics be so dissociated from everyday reality? Just as it makes no democratic sense for judges to dictate the date of an election, neither does it make much sense that in the midst of the pandemic this should not be the absolute priority of candidates' daily messages, who should be obsessed with offering voters solutions and guarantees for getting out of this health, economic and social pit. The fragility of Catalan society right now is extreme. Everything is hanging by a thread: the lives of many people, the jobs of many others, the sustainability of the health system, the quality of the education system, the viability of so many companies and businesses. The country's economic model needs to be rethought right now. Many things need to be rethought. And none of this is being discussed in the campaign. The arrival and management of European funds, on which the collective future depends to a large extent, seems like something that only a few experts and businesspeople are interested in, and it should be a matter of pedagogy or at least polemic; it should be one of the central concerns; discussed to exhaustion.

Naturally, all this does not mean that we should not talk about political prisoners or the dispute about sovereignty. Far from it, of course. But also about the pandemic and its consequences, which are shaking our lives .

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