02/05/2021

Madrid's cosmic centre

3 min
El centre còsmic madrileny

Kilometre zero of the radial infrastructures, European bastion of freedom understood as the consumption of a beer with a tapa in pandemic, Spain within Spain.

Madrid has today become the nucleus of the universe of the broad spectrum of the Spanish right. If for Dalí the cosmic centre was the station of Perpignan, the cosmic centre of nationalism and populism of the right wing is today the presidency of the Community of Madrid, which will be elected on the 4th of May.

The Madrid of today has a historical origin in the construction of the Kingdom of Spain, is the result of Francoism, and the confusion of the State with the capital has continued in democracy. It is also the result of Aznarism and the esperantists of Aguirre, of decades of construction of a hypertrophied capital, alternative or neoliberal spearhead in the government of the State. A Madrid right that is an old acquaintance for the rest of Spain and that today has seen with the connection with the ultra-right and with a naked Ciudadanos how the base of its allies expands and its ideas, anchored in the past but made up by the populist wave, reverberate.

The Madrid that Ayuso defends is the one of the urban liberalization and business hours, the one of the lowest investment in education and health of the Peninsula (3.7% of GDP, compared to 5.6% of the Spanish average). The Madrid of low taxes, of the over-concentration of the administration and state bodies. As Laia Forès writes in this Sunday's dossier, "the Community, with 6.6 million inhabitants, only represents 14% of the Spanish population, but 80% of the workers of the central services of the ministries are in Madrid". Ayuso's Madrid comes from afar but it is also the legacy of Aznar's Madrid and the old Bernabéu box, that of the big companies that live close to the regulatory bodies and attract qualified personnel. The Madrid that has a great attraction of population, capital and companies and with a per capita income well above the Spanish average. A Madrid that is economically boosted to a large extent by the capital effect, which allows the presence of the State to favour the capital's economy and, in addition, to take care of certain investments.

A TOXIC SCENARIO

Madrid is "unbearable", more than one businessman of those who depend on the Official State Gazette says privately, but especially those who do not depend on it. Unbearable because of the confusion between the capital and the State and the evidence that the ministries do not act with criteria of economic neutrality.

Madrid is also "unbearable" for more than one regional president not suspected of being Catalan, worried about the control of the pandemic, the slowness of vaccinations and the galloping economic crisis. Anxious about regional funding in the second year of falling tax revenues and with no recovery in sight.

UNBEARABLE

The "unbearable Madrid" is the one where Ayuso reigns and Monasterio plays the ideological hare of a right wing that rides on the wave of the populist political communication of Miguel Ángel Rodrígez, former right hand of Aznar. A propaganda capable of qualifying as "Madrid miracle" one of the worst covid managements in Europe, as Gemma Garrido explains in the ARA. Data of deaths that are not counted and that the Madrid media do not compare with the management of other territories that have implemented costly economic measures but have saved lives.

Rodríguez has boosted Ayuso's brashness to the point of turning her into a character and has benefited from the mistake of Iván Redondo, Pedro Sánchez's advisor after being Albiol's advisor, who, by bringing the president of the government down to the mud, has contributed to give respectability or political recognition to Ayuso to the detriment of the socialist candidate in Madrid.

HOMEGROWN NATIONALISM

The Madrid left does not seem to have been able to counter Ayuso's ideological discourse and, even less, the nationalist discourse, and has left the defence of its one and homogeneous Spain as the only expression of the structure of the State. In the PSOE, federalism is lived with rejection or with little conviction, cowed by the accusations of patriotic treachery in the media of the great majority of the press, including the one that was the expression of the old progressive left but as Spanish nationalist as the Castilian right.

An intellectual left with democratic standards that it applies to everything except Catalonia. Like that respectable progressive journalist of the Madrid intelligentsia who, in a heated conversation about revolutions and social transformations, ended the conversation in a hurry when the Catalan referendum came up for debate. The fact is that ideological distance disappears and the double yardstick is applied when the right and most of the left talk about the unity of Spain.

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